Turkana Women Basket Weavers

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The Turkana people inhabit the northwestern part of Kenya that is bordered by Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia. It's a harsh desert or semi-desert area with scant rainfall, temperatures usually over 95 and severe drought since 1982. The capital of this area, the Turkana District, is a small town called Lodwar. Many people in Lodwar and the surrounding remote areas are severely undernourished. The lack of health and education opportunities are hard to imagine, even to people who live in other parts of Kenya. Lodwar is about 2-1/2 hours by plane or a 24-hour drive (if you're lucky) from the capital city of Nairobi.

One spot of beauty in the area is the women who weave beautiful baskets from a palm-type plant. This is one thing the women can do to try and earn a few shillings. Unfortunately, there is very little market for the baskets in such a remote area. The only spot to sell them is in the town of Lodwar and that can be 10 to 85 kilometers away for many people and not many buyers drive through there anyway. Many women will start a walk into town in the dark hours of the night only to be cut off by someone who offers to buy their basket for nearly nothing. That person ends up taking it into town to sell it for more and the artist is left with almost nothing for hours of work.

Gifts on a Mission is working with the women to organize a regular order of baskets so there will be something for them to count on. Because of the remoteness of each of the villages, the logistical challenges are enormous. When you buy one of these baskets, you are touching a piece of art that has made a long journey across the desert and across the world! At the moment, we don't have a lot of baskets but we are working through the challenges and will have more to offer very soon. We appreciate your prayers!


To see the beautiful baskets, click here.