June 14, 2017 2 Comments
I got back from my 2 week trip to Southern Africa less than a week ago! With my mother, and through the company Natural Habitat Adventures, we visited Zambia (Livingston), Botswana (Okavango Delta region in the north), and South Africa (though that was mostly the Jo'burg airport!). I learned an impressive amount of information about the ecosystems, animals, politics, and culture of the areas we visited. Our guide was amazing, and the whole experience was wonderful.
Textile- and craft-wise, I learned about traditional Botswana basket weaving and dying of fibers, and even got to try weaving part of a basket myself. The women (and some men) who work at the lodges weave baskets made from grasses and held together by palm fronds. They dye the fronds with roots, bark, leaves, and fruits of plants that grow in the Delta, and which they gather. They gather dyes, dye the fronds, and weave the baskets during their off-shifts at the lodges. Some of the traditional weaving patterns were "tears of the giraffe", "water lily", "flowing water", and "urine trail of the bull"(!). I also saw so many beautiful wax printed cloths and skirts and dresses when we were in Zambia (not so many once we were in the "bush"/on safari), and I purchased many meters to play with at home. Women wear the cloth tied around their waist for a skirt, or around their backs with a child in it, or on their heads as a type of turban (especially helpful when also carrying baskets or pots on their head). The cloth was also used in more tailored shirts, jackets, and dresses, and I was inspired to see the colors, patterns, and uses of the fabric.
It was a life-changing trip and I am still thinking of it often.