How do we sew together the hoped-for future and the unfortunate past, the bright as well as the darker patches of our lives? How do we stitch cultural differences, join disparate worlds, to create something both beautiful and useful? Bonnie Lee Black subtly addresses these universal questions through vivid stories of her life-changing experience living and working in the fabled city of Ségou, Mali, in West Africa, after having served for two years in the Peace Corps in Gabon.
At the request of a talented group of Malian seamstresses, Black taught them the craft of American patchwork quilting and spearheaded an independent economic-development effort called the Patchwork Project. She has now created a many-layered patchwork quilt of a book that brings that time and place — and all its colorful characters — to life on the page.
Threaded throughout is the fictional narrative of Jeneba, a slave-quilter in the antebellum American South who had been kidnapped from the Kingdom of Ségou as a child, as well as the real voices of the Malian women who took part in the Patchwork Project.