EcoSandals – Made in Nairobi

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In a small workshop, on the boarder between the Korogocho slum and Kariobangi area, these wonderful leather sandals are being made. Every single sandal is produced by using leather and already used automobile tyre from the streets of East Africa. Even much of the fabrics being used are recycled wastes from the close by dumping site.

The EcoSandals are pieces of art, made by the skilled hands of the people from the area, using their talents to provide for themselves and their families. To live and survive in the slums and suburbs of Nairobi is a hardship and the sandals are being made with such a high quality to conquer the days of hard work, rain, a burning sun and long walks.

The EcoSandals are not only being sold in Kenya, but also in e.g. America and Europe. They are for everyone who wants to enjoy more environment friendly and comfortable leather sandals with a unique design, reflecting the creative and colourful inherit of Kenya.

For orders or more information contact Mike at: +254 (0)725 891 288 or karuri@ecosandals.com

Karibu!

Photo taken by: Emma Wallgren

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Holiday at Langebaan beach front

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After a weekend camping on the countryside by the Breede River, three days of holiday continued with a road trip to Langebaan (a beach town north of Cape Town) where my friend Lucy and me stayed in a little house just next to the beach. I found the ocean having a very calming impact on me and I love just walking along the beach studying the waves coming in over the beach and then return back towards the endless horizon. I would go up early in the morning watching the sun rise bringing the light over the sand dunes and the shells being washed up on the beach. In the evenings me and Lucy would sit at the rocks outside our house, watching the sun set while the seals were playing and swimming in the waves.      

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During our little short holiday we also drove up to Saldanha, a town north of Langebaan, from where we watched a ship wreck and funny rock formations in the ocean. On our way back to Cape Town we also visited the West Coast National Park, a park offering an amazing view of the Atlantic ocean and the Langebaan Lagoon. If you are lucky (or unlucky) you can also spot different animals in the park as e.g. cobras  zebras, elands, flamingos, pelicans and turtles and in the ocean dolphins and wales (when it is season). 

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Camping in the land of vineyards

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In Cape Town, the summer is almost over now and the winter is on its way, but still the weather is good enough for making a little road trip and go camping. During my times spent in South Africa I have come to learn one thing – South Africans love to go camping and off course also to braai different types of meat (Braai is Afrikaans and means grill or barbecue and it is a social custom among some of the people in e.g. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia). 

So there we were my friends and me, at River Goose Camp Site, in the Western Cape, about 2,5 hours driving from Cape Town. The drive is beautiful and worth the trip in it self, driving over the high mountains (giving a perfect view of Cape Town and the Atlantic ocean from above), along the mountains and I can’t even count the vineyards that we passed by on our way to the camping site.

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Surrounded by mountains, vineyards in abundance, an apricot farm and fields of sheep we spent a lovely weekend camping on the river bank of the Breede River. Besides a group of young men having the party of their lives just across the river, it was a lovely and peaceful place. The camping site was provided with very neat washroom facilities and every camping spot had its own table and fireplace, making the stay very convenient. It was a relaxing weekend that passed by with us doing basically nothing except from paddling kayak, reading magazines and books, cooking food and enjoying good company and off course one or two braais.

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Let’s talk about the slum

P1040339 This week Nelson and me made a visit to Korogocho, one of the slums outside Nairobi. Situated next to the slum is the dump site of Nairobi, (Dandora dump site) which provides the daily work and bread for so many people in close by slums. Just by entering Korogocho we were faced with the extreme poverty in this area. One of the first people we met was a young boy. He was probably about 11 years old. Our guide, one of the local young leaders of Korogocho, explained that the boy is homeless and spends his time on the dumpsite, trying to find and collect things for selling and also to look for food. The boy doesn’t go to school. He has to make a way to provide for himself in order to survive so there’s no time for getting an education. P1040257On the other side of the river a man was emptying buckets of human waste. That is his daily work. People have him come and collect the waste and then they pay him something small for it. The people we met in Korogocho were very friendly, smiling toward us and greeting us as we passed by. Even the small children were laughing and running around us, wanting to shake hands and say “how are you?”.P1040263 Even though the government made some improvements in the area, as building a main road and putting up lights along the road, there are so many more things to be done. The living standard for the people in Korogocho is extremely low. Most of the houses or shacks are built with mud or with big pieces of metal sheet. On many of the roofs you can see big stones and metallic pieces. They are there to prevent the rain from getting into the houses. Along with the narrow alleys between the shacks and houses there are streams of muddy water running, filled with trash and human waste. Combined with the heat, the smell is almost unbearable sometimes. P1040341 The main streets are crowded with people selling things, most probably collected from the dumpsite, but there are also small kiosk where you can buy fruits and vegetables, milk and bread, hardware, get credit for the phone and other necessary things. One of the Mamas we met insisted that we should visit her sick neighbour. Entering the tiny and dark mud house we found the neighbour on the bed. There was no doubt what she suffered from. I had seen it before. Her bony body witnessed of that her state of AIDS had already gone too far. On the ground next to the floor a man was sitting and cooking over the jiko (a fire place made out of a pot with coals in). He was also a neighbour giving his time and effort to help the sick lady. I felt so powerless and stupid just standing there, watching the lady barely able to sit. In the middle of all the sadness, the heart of the people, sharing their time and their little resources with each other really made an impression on me. Another impression that I got, walking around in Korogocho, is that the people here are really hard working people. Many work from 4 am until late at night in order to get the daily bread for the family. We met an old Mama with a cattle of goats, that despite swollen feet, walks a long distance every day to get leftovers and food wastes for the goats and then walk the distance back again to her home where she let the goats eat what she has brought. P1040345I’ve been both visiting and working in slums before, but this visit once again reminded me of that we must never give up the fight for development and equal rights for everyone. That includes the rights to education, health care, sufficient shelter and sanitation and not least the right to food. And we must never take anything for granted. As for people in many countries, life can turn around in one minute. One day you have plenty the next day you have nothing. And I think that is why people here share so much with each other, because they know that next day they might be the one in need.  It’s definitely something to give an extra thought about. Na Upnedo Anne

Kupika chapati na Pauu (Making chapati with Pauu)

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After moving to my new place in Saika (outside Nairobi) there is no doubt that Pauu has become my favourite neighbour. Pauu makes the best chapati (an Indian bread) in the world according to my opinion. He is at his chapati kiosk from 6 am until almost midnight six days a week, working hard with preparing, baking and selling over 400 chapatis every day. And in exchange for a meal of Swedish food (meatballs and mashed potatoes) Pauu gave me a lesson in how to make chapati – real Kenyan style. The people of Kenya (and probably of the rest of the world) eat chapati together with a meal of food, but my favourite way of eating it is plain with peanut butter and sliced bananas, it is a perfect meal itself. Bon appetite!

Hiking at Kilimanjaro and a peaceful Moshi

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Three good months have already past since I arrived to Nairobi. In order to renew my visa, me and Nelson decided to travel to the neighbouring Tanzania. So with the bus company Riverside Shuttle, we boarded a bus full of Tanzanian nuns, a Spanish woman and a Tanzanian muslim and headed south. After crossing the boarder to Tanzania the view from the bus window just got more and more beautiful as we got closer to our destination – Moshi. The area from the boarder to Moshi is very mountainous and green with lots of trees and flowers. And the heat is hectic, just like in Mombasa, I even managed to get dyhadrated – again. After a 8 hours tiresome and sweaty trip we finally arrived to Moshi, a small and peaceful town located at the foot of Kilimanjaro, the mountain with the highest peak in Africa.

Altogether we spent 5 whole days in Moshi, just resting and enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounded us. If the weather was clear in the morning and evening hours we could even see Kilimanjaro from the back yard of our B&B. Everyday we walked the short distance into town to stroll around, buy fresh fruits and off course our new speciality – new made popcorn. We also found our favourite place to go and eat, named Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge. For a good price you could get food of great quality and they had the best coffee milkshake ever tasted. Except from one grumpy waitress the staff was also very service minded.

After watching the peak of Kilimanjaro for three days we decided to get closer to the mountain. So we booked an one-day hiking trip. With our own guide and from a starting point of 1200m we managed to climb all the way up to 3000m (out of 5895m). The hiking went mostly through  the Kilimanjaro jungle-like forest, so the tall trees covered us from the sun and heat. On our way through the forest we experienced many different types of vegetations, saw a couple of different monkeys and birds and a big variety of trees, plants and beautiful flowers. Our goal was the crater located on a 3000m hight, from where we also got a view of the smaller one of Kilimanjaro’s three peaks and a  stunning view of the landscape below even as far as to the boarder of Kenya. After a pick-nick break at the rest camp close by, we hiked down from the mountain with aching legs and big smiles on our faces.

After 5 great days we left the green and sunny Moshi behind us and headed back to our home in Nairobi. Hiking at Kilimanjaro was such an amazing experience and I really hope we get the chance to come back and make it all the way to the top!

Na upendo

Anne

Thank you Madiba

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Thank you Madiba for being an inspiration, not only for me and for my friends in South Africa, but also for people and nations all over the world. You chose to take your part in the fight against apartheid. After 27 years in prison, instead of giving in to bitterness and revenge, you still chose to advocate for reconciliation and forgiveness. For that I deeply admire you. And I believe that specific decision changed the path of South Africa’s history – for the better.

Even though you moved on from your earthly home, the memory of your leadership and endurance in the fight for freedom and equal rights will continue to inspire me and people throughout the history.

So thank you Madiba for your great contribution to us. Now finally you get to rest in peace.

Na Upendo
Anne