The Unity Quilt
There’s a beautiful story behind this quilt.
The Amani ya Juu Unity Quilt, rich with meaning, was made by the Amani women representing many different nations.
It’s a symbol of reconciliation.
Grace leading the ladies of Amani Kenya in daily devotions against the backdrop of the Unity Quilt.
This bright, hand-stitched quilt represents the peace found by hurting ladies.
Each panel illustrates how reconciliation is celebrated after conflict.
Though world is a broken place of wars and tribal clashes, the traditional customs illustrated in this quilt have also been practiced for as long as anyone remembers. They remind and point us to Jesus Christ, who brought us near to God through the greatest conflict of all against Evil – his death on the cross. Now his victorious resurrection fills us with hope for the day when all things will be reconciled to him!
When a rift occurs between two Kamba families, elders decide who is wrong and require them to give out a young goat and a rooster to be killed. The chicken is shared between the two families and then a meal is prepared for the families and community.
When a dispute arises between two Madi families, they sit with elders and talk about the problem. The problem is sorted out, and those involved spit into a pot, youngest to oldest. This is sign that there is nothing between them.
In several tribes (Hutu, Tutsi, and Batwa), elders decide who is at fault, and the offender makes a payment. This person first apologizes and the one who was wronged forgives. The two drink banana juice from one pot with two straws and embrace.
After listening to both sides, the chief and elders of the Bassa tribe find a resolution. The two sides agree and a sheep is cooked. Everyone celebrates by eating from the same bowl in the center of the village. This sharing of the meal means that the conflict is over.
A resolution is reached between two Luba tribe families. Then, a hole is dug, a chicken is slaughtered, and the blood of the chicken is put in the hole. Then, the hands of the families are symbolically washed over the hole and everyone feasts on chicken.
Two Dagodia elders are called in to discuss the issue with representatives of each family. They promise to no longer feud, and reconciliation between the two families is celebrated by eating pasta together on a mat. Everyone agrees to live in peace by shaking hands and kissing each other on the cheek.
When there is a dispute the Hutu/Tutsi elders talk first with representatives from each group, exposing the problem. When the dispute is settled everyone drinks juice from one pot with many straws made of reeds. The drink is provided by the person at fault and everyone embraces.
Bagisu tribal elders discuss problems between disputing families and come to an agreement. Then, the elders peel a banana, break it in two pieces, and and give half to each family to eat. A goat is killed, cooked and eaten by the two families. Moving forward, no problems can divide the families.
The Tigre tribe elders mediate for the families in dispute. When peace is made the two families drink water or milk from one cup. After this they are like brothers and sisters. A sheep is slaughtered and a meal is shared together, and the two families dance to celebrate newfound peace.
Nadau tribe families sit down with their elders and discuss the problem. A resolution is achieved and the eldest in each family drinks coconut juice from one cup with a read straw. Those involved lay their hands on top of each other illustrating their oneness in the agreement.
The dancing women who is pointing to the cross is celebrating the work of Christ on the cross. Christ brings peace and reconciliation which transcends all tribal and cultural differences. We are now able to experience genuine forgiveness and reconciliation with one another.
There is a beautiful person behind this quilt…
her name is Jerita!
Always check the tag—the Amani seamstress signs her name!