About This Blog

Web travelblog.com

Google Search

  For all categories

21Publish - Cooperative Publishing
Entries "May 2007":

Saturday, 19 May 2007

grass mats

I love my new grass mats.  They’re not just ordinary grass mats, they’re finely woven grass mats with beautiful coloured patterns woven through.  At first I thought that the girl who made these mats, Claudine, had dyed the strands of grass in bright colours but then I looked closer.  The coloured patterns are done with plastic bags! - the black ones in which my veggies come back from the market, the green ones with maps of Africa printed on the back, the big yellow ones that people use to carry their cassava flour, and blue ones.  I sat contemplating the blue colours in the mats and Elson told me that they used to be very common but they would be hard to fine now.  I picture Claudine squirreling away plastic bags of different colours in her room for her craft, picking them up off the road, slipping them into her pockets, crinkling as she walks.  It may soon get more difficult to find the materials that make her mats different from others.  The government banned plastic bags from the country a while back.  Visitors be warned, you may be stripped of your duty free bag at the airport.  When you drive down roads lined with ‘garbage-bag trees’, you can understand why a government might make that decision.  Generally plastic is a blight on our green earth but, so long as it’s here with us, at least someone is finding something beautiful to do with it.

»3:58 PM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog
the shifting poles

Global Warming:  I don’t think any reasonable person is denying its existence anymore.  Now it’s just a question of what happens next.  Is there time to slow, stop or even reverse it?  Many people say no.  What will be the extent of the changes?  Well recently I was made aware of the concept of shifting poles.  James told me that a friend of his has predicted that by the year 2012 so much of the polar ice caps will have melted that the two poles will essentially be unstable liquid.  From what I understand (forgive the unscientific explanation), the world will wobble out of position making the North the West, the South the East and most of the world’s living inhabitants endangered.  Now, when I first heard this I had a feeling of panic.  What if it’s true?  Should I be seeking higher ground?  Finding a dark cave to live in?  Well I can’t live the next 5 years dreading the roller coaster ride we may or may not be about to take but it does make you wonder about your own survival skills.  If, for example, only one third of the human population survives what is the determining factor that might put you in that happy one third?  Well, luck for one.  To be sure if you happen to be lying on the beach in California when a giant tidal wave hits submerging more than half of the state in water, well I guess that’s bad luck.  But if you survive the initial jolt, how ready are you to deal with no electricity, no gasoline, no heat in your house, no running water?  No grocery stores, no clothing stores, no hardware stores, NO STORES!?!?  What if you had to do it all yourself?  Do you know how to plant, harvest, preserve your own fruits and vegetables?  Can you sew (without a machine) or even weave your own cloth?  Build?  Distinguish between good mushrooms and bad mushrooms? 

            Again, the initial thought was scary to me but if you think about it in terms of global inequality, it would be a more level playing field wouldn’t it?  Most people here in Rwanda certainly are more able to deal with no electricity, no gasoline, and no running water.  They’ve lived through disaster, drought, and war.  They extract food out of overused soil on the side of steep hills and create useful objects out of garbage that we would put out on our curb every week.  If the oceans rise, Rwanda is on high ground, literally.  It is a hilly country, far from the potentially turbulent coast so they’re well-placed for such a disaster … I’m just not sure how they would cope with snow.

»3:56 PM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog