Sunday, January 6, 2013

African Ingenuity

There are oodles of things I love about living in Africa since our move here in August.  But one of my favorites is the ingenuity I find surrounding me every day.   Though Africa is seen as being behind on a number of 21st Century topics, when it comes to reducing and reusing, there is no greener place!  Perhaps it's the architectural designer in me, or maybe just my fascination with human creativity, but I am constantly captivated with the ways people here are affected by limited resources and a challenged infrastructure.  That said, now that I am thoroughly tired of the previous two weeks of flora talk, I've decided over the next month to cover some of the infrastructure I have encountered thus far in my time in Africa.

Please note, as I've said before, I am not naming my country on this blog, but rather am just referring to Africa.  Please keep in mind that my experiences are very limited to one place and time, and do not represent the continent as a whole.  These are just the observations of lil' ol' me and my family as we navigate living on a truly spectacular new continent.

The Shona version of Hanson's Mmm Bop aside, of course, here are just a few wonderful examples of African ingenuity that have crossed our little one's path this week alone:

Our gardener's soda bottle sprinkler, made with Jonas

Swings found all over southern Africa prove to be a great reuse of an abundant resource: used tires

 Toy tractors and cars made from tin cans and reused tires, sold at a local market

Soccer balls made out of plastic bags- found everywhere!

 A play area, made with some boards and metal

An old car turned playscape: gutted with tires flattened

Gotta love environmentally friendly graffiti!  Here (at Domboshawa) someone has carried rocks up a (very large) hill to spell out their message.

For some really good African innovation, check out this website: