The resourcefulness of the people here is pretty amazing. Before we lived in Africa I would have considered myself someone who tried to do what I could to reuse and recycle things (at least when my laziness did not get the best of me) but I now realize just how many things I threw away that here would be re purposed. We just lived more sterile back home and whether one desires to live closer to the earth or not you do here. Dirt and grime are inevitable and the more you fight them the more it can weigh on you. It is just daily reality. The result is a new appreciation in me for reusing everything possible and a way more laid back attitude about everything being dirty. Here you never throw paper away because it can be used to start fire, any container can be washed and reused, plastic bags are gold, and even emptied coconut shells are made into ladles.
Here are some examples of the resourcefulness I have spotted:
fabric scraps from the sewing dukas are used to make rugs

old cans are used to make kerosene lamps,

any container makes a great seed starter for the bustani (garden) dried banana tree can be cut into local kamba (rope)

more and more of the “use what you got” mentality is rubbing off on us city slickers from Chicago, as proof we had a guest that has lived here all of his life stay with us a few weeks back and during his visit one of the burner dials on our stove broke. While Jason and he tried to diagnose the problem our friend asked for some gum, chewed it up, and stuck it inside the dial “fixing” it. So far, so good. No complaints here.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ha! Reid was sitting close by so I told him he’s a celeb on your blog. He says he’s very glad that his repair wasn’t “bure” as we say in Kenya.