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Just returned from Malawi. About the craft project later more. For the project I worked with the women most of the time. But always around are the children. They are in groups, they are curious, they are shy at the same time, they sing, they play; always. I've seen boys playing a game like petanque with 7 coca cola caps. A few lines in the sand to mark the areas, 5 caps next to each other on a tiny sandhill each, 2 boys with 1 each to hit the row. They had so much fun. Children also have a lot of responsibility from a very young age. They have to help their parents. To prepare the food, to carry their siblings, to get water. But they do everything with such strength and resilience; I find that deeply moving.
They go to school, but not every day. At school they are in classes with 75 others. How can a teacher distinguish talent? Or difficulties? Their future is unlikely to have many surprises. As their parents, they'll probably finish school around 17, marry young, become farmers, raise a family and stay in the village or a neighbouring village. Looking at their creativity, their resilience and thinking about the possessions and possibilities children in The Netherlands have the difference can't be bigger. But slowly Malawi is moving towards a different future. Their new President, Joyce Banda (see also Knit Malawi V) called a female Government Minister for Education so that's a positive start. For the education system in this country needs a dramatic improvement. Better conditions for teachers, better facilities, smaller classes, better equipment, a better connection between primary and secondary school. A lot to do for the children's future.
So here are some smiles, for they seem to smile most of the time.
Today I had a great day with three friends/colleagues at the Textile Museum. We went to see the SOLO exhibition of Christien Meindertsma. She's an amazing designer. Wool, flax, prairie plants, rope, pigs; she can make something wonderful out of almost everything. An in-depth researcher, a most creative thinker and fantastic maker. No photography allowed, but the rest of the museum is inspiring as well.....
On the 12th of May a new shop will be opened in Tokyo: Deshima. They focus on Dutch design, and it's done in cooperation with the Dutch Ambassey in Japan. The name comes from a historic memory.
Deshima was a small fan-shaped artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki in 1634. Originally built to house Portugese traders, it was used by the Chinese and Dutch as a trading post from 1641 until 1853. It later was integrated into the city and has been designated a Japanese national historic site.
So now it's a small, lovely shop full of wonderful design products. The shop design is done by the Tokyo- based design company East Inc, they specialise in museum shops. I love their style. The lambs of my collection will be on sale there, which is an honour for me!