On this, the Matara community’s third anniversary, the women paraded forward with handmade pots to give. They shared that this is an old Batwa tradition, to make clay pots, but that now no one has need of their handcrafted pottery. In the past three years they have learned other things to make a living – agriculture, animal husbandry, soap making, shoe repair and even honey cultivation.
But the Batwa pots have come to mean something significant to us. We cherish the tradition, the skill and the story that each hand-hewn pot tells about these people and especially these women. We value what others might discard or miss because we have eyes to see our friends and see their worth. We cherish each pot because it comes from the hands of these strong women.
So when these regal women stand before us with freshly fired pots, vessels we shaped together from clay just a day ago, we stand with the recognition that we are on holy ground.
These clay pots made in Matara by our friends are more than a mere gift, they are symbols of connection. Their Batwa story comes home with us, cradled in our hands through airport security checks, tight coach seating, customs and through the threshold of our homes. We are careful to not let them be crushed, to shield them from crumbling under pressure, to ensure these pots make it home so that they may continue to tell the story of these strong, beautiful women.
These pots are ours to have and to hold for the long journey home and for years to come as a reminder of these strong women, our dear friends who have made visible to us deep goodness, neighborliness and love.
We will return home with pots and stories to tell about these women whom we love.