Recycled Jewels of Harare, Zimbabwe
So much of Zimbabwe’s once productive farmland lies dormant since Mugabe’s redistribution of land. (An incredible documentary to watch is Mugabe and the White African – it is a story of moral courage about a family who stand up against the Zimbabwean government, refusing to leave their farm or desert their workforce.)
However, not only has an organic farm near Harare managed to keep going, they are also employing farm workers’ wives and sisters to make beautiful jewellery by recycling old magazines and catalogues.
We visited the farm and watched the women create this unusual jewellery and made an order for Vagabond Van.
Peta (pictured right), the farm owner's daughter, started the recycled paper jewellery project two years ago.
Old magazines and catalogues are cut, rolled with glue and then varnished to make individual beads.
Once the paper is varnished it becomes hard and strong, you can even wear the jewellery in the rain "but perhaps not in the bath" warned Peta.
While the women worked deftly, the piles of candy beads grew and the radio spluttered soft African beats.
You can see why the necklaces are called Candy Chains - they look almost edible like sweets.
It's a great way for these women to help support themselves and their families. They come when they wish and can bring their children too.
Even the mirror was adorned with paper beads.
Bow Wow found a nice spot to snooze by some catalogues.
Stitching glass beads into the recycled paper produced a quirky effect.
"Isn't it time for a walk?" Bow Wow couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.
Baby Future snoozed contentedly on her beading mother's back.
These earrings are made from bottle caps and are now available to buy, along with the recycled paper jewellery, at VagabondVan.com.
Peta organised for twenty children living in rural areas in Zimbabwe to come and camp at the farm for a week. While they were there they made this extraordinary hut made from old bottles and cans. The children have been inspired to make similar huts in their own villages.
The hut actually sings when the wind blows as it whistles through the bottles. Workers on the farm use the hut as a church and sometimes a cinema when they erect a big white sheet and project films.
We were so inspired by Peta and the women we met and hope to help this wonderful enterprise grow.
Available Exclusively at Vagabond Van…