Sunday, January 13, 2013

I've been travelling

As I've mentioned in a previous post, this past summer I had a memorable visit to Namibia and Botswana. I didn't do much shopping, with the exception of baskets, and came back with many beautiful examples of this craft.

The three baskets on the left were made by a master basketmaker, Thitaku Kushonya of Maun, Botswana. Thitasku told us she had been to Canada several times and took prizes in competitions held in Toronto. She said the design of the basket on the far left was inspired by an elephant's tusk.

She sells her works and that of others as part of a cooperative of craftspeople in the area, and also gives classes. It was hard to keep myself from buying more than three baskets there. However, I knew that more basket purchases lay ahead!

Another visit was to the tiny Namibian village of Mohembo, near the Botswana border. This stop was organized through a third party and I'm afraid that ladies were expecting someone who was either a wholesaler or who had a store, and hence extremely large sales.

 At first, my son and I were perplexed when we saw a large group of ladies, surrounded by baskets--we hadn't expected that there would be so many people and baskets. We decided that the only way we could approach it was to buy at least one basket from each person. I'm including several photos of the results of this particular adventure.

Just before we were leaving the village, an elderly woman told us to stop, opened the back door of the car and gestured to some children to get in the back seat. Before we knew it, altogether, nine children of varying
ages and sizes had joined us. 

She pointed us in the direction where we should take them and off we all went! Several miles down the road, one of them tapped on my son's shoulder and pointed to a village which we could see off the highway.  James stopped the car and out they all got. The photo of our travelling companions is below.

It is hard to imagine for a North American that someone would send their children off with strangers. Not one child complained about being crowded in the backseat. They were all very quiet and seemed as though this was a new experience for them.

Between the two of us, I can't remember exactly how many baskets we bought, but you can see from the photo of the trunk of our little rental car, that there were quite a few. We thought the work was both artistic and of a high standard. 

This was our 'haul'--keep in mind it was two layers deep in the trunk.

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