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Old 10-18-2007, 10:41 AM   #21
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grr picture limits...

I could go on for days about all I learned about the production steps. Here’s the quick notes: Each and every bag was:

woven of Malian cotton, one of Mali’s major exports,

dyed with n’galama leaves to a yellow ochre,

stenciled with a bleach mixture to create the designs,

stained with clay from the Niger River,

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:41 AM   #22
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last one i hope!



finished with labels,

and quality checked.

…all by Malian people proudly growing their businesses. We had a ton of help from the West Africa Trade Hub in Ghana, and local Peace Corps volunteers in Bamako and Mopti; this project would never have been successful without them. Lots and lots of discussion in English, French and Bambara had to take place to clarify and communicate ideas. It was a learning process all the way round. The artisans and entrepreneurs we worked with developed new ways of working and gained experience and confidence to potentially do more with other companies.

Above and beyond the work, they were also proud and excited to be participating in an important movement like (RED). They know that this project means good things for Africa, and for their communities and families. We also learned a lot about the resourcefulness of the Malian people – did you notice in the photo they re-use old x-ray films as stencils! Their inventiveness and artisanal craft is one key to joining in the global economy, and making the elimination of AIDS a reality.

And we were continually astounded by this group’s ability to pool resources and tackle a challenge like creating bags for Hallmark (PRODUCT) RED. I’d say I spent half the time, in spite of the heat, covered in goose bumps – proud of our team, our new relationships, and proud of the benefits of this work. Over the course of this adventure we made friends, shared many smiles, and are all proud – together – to bring a project with so many possibilities from daydream to reality.

Like one of our new cards says: “Believe in a thousand impossible things you never believed before!”


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Old 10-18-2007, 10:44 AM   #23
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Oops, didn't mean to interrupt the flow of your posts, Mia.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:46 AM   #24
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hey no worries! the picture limit made me take forever.

p.s. what is flow?

Sula do you recognize anybody in these pictures? I remember you had friends involved in this.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:54 AM   #25
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holy crap, yeah, I recognize some of those people. Since my whole time in Mali was dedicated to working with people in this sector, I would run into a lot of people at different things like trade shows or at training events sponsored by Peace Corps or the Malian gov't. Not to mention that I actually got to try my hand at making bogolan a couple of times (it was so fun!).

I had the honor of meeting Samuel Sidibe on a few occasions when I lived in Bamako. Very knowlegeable about the history and culture of Mali. The exhibit he's sitting in front of is in the National Museum, which incidentally is where my bf took me on our first official "date".

All those pictures are making me homesick.
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

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Old 10-18-2007, 11:58 AM   #26
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It's great to see those pictures and see how they are made, it makes my bag even more special to me.

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africa, red

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