Our fabric is 100% Ugandan cotton. Since AAD is in Uganda YiYi and I got the great idea to travel to western Uganda and check out where the cotton comes from.
Me being me thought I had planned our weekend excursion enough, but didn't foresee transportation issues, road problems, and just the time commitment.
After heading to the bus park in Fort Portal for a 6am bus depart, we ended up waiting for 2.5 hours for the bus to appear. Since YiYi and I are not early morning people we had not thought ahead and brought snacks.
So, at noon we roll into Kasese starving. We tried to find a restaurant, thought we found a decent one, and I ended up eating raw onions and raw carrots (garden salad) while YiYi consumed a sad egg rice.
We thankfully were picked up by James from Kasese Ginnery and received a tour of the ginnery.
None of the machines were running due to us visiting during the off season, but we got the opportunity to sit and chat with James and his colleagues about their program.
Kasese Ginnery works with local men and women's groups that work together to purchase land and plant/harvest cotton. Part of Kasese Ginnery is sending out staff to teach these groups how to measure the fields to ensure the land they are buying is fair and the actual amount they purchased, to teach how to sow the fields, plant the cotton, maintain the fields to prevent critters from destroying their crop, how to harvest, and eventually will buy the cotton from these same men and women that have been through their program. Once the cotton makes it to the ginnery people from the community are hired to work for fair wages to run all of the machines andeventually ship the cotton to Fine Spinners in Kampala, Uganda.
After the tour of the machines in the ginnery YiYi and I got a speedy ride back to the bus park to catch the last bus of the day to Kampala. Once we were on the bus we both agreed that the tedious, long, tiring, and hanger inducing ride to Kasese was worth it to see where our fabric started out as a cotton plant on a field in western Uganda.