Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beads, Elephants and Trinkets - oh my!

Mom's friend took us on a tour of Nairobi Friday. We left in the morning for the east end of town where we first stopped at the Kazuri bead 'factory'. This factory was started over 30 years ago as a way to help women, mostly single mothers, earn a living for their families in an ethical way. Still going strong, the factory employs about 400 women who work 8 hour days for a fixed salary. The beads (and also some pottery) are shaped, fired and painted individually and by hand. They're sold as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hangings (made on site) and other knick knacks all over the world; in Canada at 10,000 Villages and in England at Harrod's where of course they fetch a pretty penny. 

The clay is from the foothills of Mt Kenya, the firing is a process that can take days, also done on site. 

From Kazuri (which means "small & beautiful" in Swahili) we went to the Elephant Orphanage. Unfortunately we got a bit lost on the way there and only caught the last bit of the daily 'show'. This orphanage experience was slightly different than the Happy Life Children's Home we visited a few days ago… But it's a good program and the elephants are of course adorable. While taking pictures we got a nice background of a family of impalas (I think) that happened to be passing behind the pen. 

From the elephant orphanage, we headed for lunch at a Nairobi Java House which had a lovely menu. 

We finished the day with a trip back to the Village Market which holds a Masaai Market every Friday. This of course was quite the (overwhelming) experience. I prefer to shop without people yelling at me but we did get some beautiful pieces to bring home!

I made dinner this time and Mom and Mattea left by 7:30 so Riley and I, totally pooped, curled up with movies and magazines. Because the sunset here is pretty early (around 6:15 all year) if you don't make use of the morning hours, it's quite a short day. We always seem to be so tired at night so not much gets done once dinner is finished. I'd definitely have to find a way to be a little more productive if I was living here. As a night owl, I would have to learn to be a little more wise about my morning hours - or at least be more productive at night!!! Though the campus is safe at night, it's crazy dark and everyone just seems to be in. Tomorrow evening we're going to try to have some company in after dinner - hopefully we can stay awake!

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