Monday, September 15, 2008

If Life Gives You Poop, then Make...PAPER!

August 30th

Today we work with Octavian, camp staff and local artist on a fundraising project for a local school.

Living around so many elephants leaves one surrounded by so many piles of...


So our goal today is to make paper from elephant poop that will be decorated and sold at the markets to fundraise for a local school.


1.) Dry the elephant dung
2.) Mix it with water and recycled paper
3.) Mash the mixture
4.) Add mixture to a wheelbarrow of water
5.) Add wood glue
6.) Dip a screen into the mixture to get a layer of this pulp
7.) Drain excess water
8.) Flip screen onto a flat surface
9.) Dab towel onto back of screen to dry off excess water
10.) Lift screen, decorate paper with leaves or flowers, let dry!

So fun to be a part of this creative process. What struck me the most was the pride and honor of Octavian, our teacher. He is such a talented artist-using the elephant dung paper as a canvas for his gorgeous animal paintings. His childhood spent observing the Tsavo animals. And the beauty is watching his past transcend into a future. We are excited about his work--and we scoop up his paintings one by one. The power of art permeates the air and lifts him up. His spirit soars.

I make several pieces of elephant dung paper--adorning them with African rose flowers and leaves. It feels good to be creative--to be a part of something, no matter how small. I look forward to truly being a part of a school here someday.

I inhale the vast contrast of the beauty in the flowers against the dung paper itself. Kenya seems to be full of these contradictions. The layer of life that lives in between. The grace and the struggle of Africa.

And I know in my heart that this place is where living begins.

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