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October 31, 2008

Centocow, South Africa

I am in South Africa.
I am constantly being moved to tears and something sets me off almost daily.

but mostly it is the gospel music.
Today I stood in the corner of a school room, children with holes in their sock heels swayed and sang a song of healing, booming it with such earnestness and commitment. The voices shot through me causing tears to prickle at my eyes. And still, many songs on, I do not understand the power of this music.
I feel so privileged.

The Zulu women have shown me love that needs no words. In fact, words could never be enough.

This is a low resolution video clip that comes from just one day in a rural town, Centocow. It is just a taste to share with you.

I have since been back to gather the story of a girl and her sister.
We spent an entire day collecting water and chopping wood.

The saying goes...
Before Enlightenment, collecting water, chopping wood.
After Enlightenment, collecting water, chopping wood.

Recording this song.

Crossing the river to get firewood.

A break from walking with wood.

[current mood] Quietness & Rusks

Posted by natalija at 4:24 AM | Comments (3)

October 13, 2008

A realm mat for children in South Africa

I've spent today making dolls for African kids in Kwa Zulu Natal.
I'm going over tomorrow for a couple of weeks.
It's for The Uthando Project.

Hundreds of people have been making thousands of dolls for the past 2 years. They are given to organisations and grannies in this region who give them to children. A fifth of kids in KZN have lost one or both parents to AIDS. You might see them playing 'funerals' instead of 'house' because they are more familiar with that.
The project builds knowledge of the importance of play in these childrens development. Psychologically it is integral for the process of grieving and expressing emotion. A doll becomes an avenue for this expression. And in a place where play may become devalued in the face of the poverty and tragedy, this doll is making a difference.
I'm going to make a documentary over there about what kind of difference it makes.

I also thought that I could make play mat for the kids to have a 'doll world'.
So after 4 days, Davida and I came out of applique-hell and are done...


Here is the process so you can see how it took shape.


It all started with a rough sketch.


Then I blocked it out on the computer to help with proportions and choose colours. I then chalked it up on the background fabric.


Then there was the whole ironing of fuse to fabric pieces, then cutting out the shapes required. We then peeled off the fuse backing and prepared to iron them to the background sheet.


Davida sewed the applique parts that could be done separately.


Here I am ironing down the entire design before the final sewing of each raw edge. (This is where applique-hell really took shape as getting the whole sheet under the machine and turning tight corners led to hours more time than expected.)
But I'm sure it is worth it to know that children will have this magical world to explore with their new little friends.

If you want to help the kids, buy some gorgeous doll cards, found on the Uthando website - money goes to the project's costs. Or make some dolls!

[current mood] Touch Me (all night long) & Red Wine

Posted by natalija at 5:13 PM | Comments (1)