July has been a busy month for our community craft projects in Botswana. Members have been returning to the villages after spending time in their fields and orders from our camps have increased as we enter the high season and demand for curio shop stock increases. Selinda Reserve and Duba Plains are not only supporting the projects through the curio shops but also by placing orders with us rather than buying from retail stores. This has allowed us to diversify production and one of our new products, gorgeous beaded slippers, will soon be making their way into guest tents.
The Seronga group is going from strength to strength since being established in May 2011 and the group is now known as “Tipatizane” (meaning “co-operation” in their language, baYei). A training workshop was recently held at Seronga, teaching current and new members how to create wonderful items using felt. Everyone enjoyed using this colourful and versatile material to produce Christmas decorations. These light, packable items can be comfortably made by the Tipatizane members at home whilst caring for their families.
Our Gudigwa group continues to focus on producing jug nets as well as more traditional crafts such as baskets. Basket production is rather seasonal as the material used to make the baskets comes from the leaves of Lala Palms and dye comes from the Bird Plum tree. High water levels due to seasonal floods have prevented project members from accessing the palms and getting more material but we look forward to new creations and baskets as water levels continue to drop.
Our plans for opening up another aspect of our community outreach through career guidance are getting underway. Our project co-ordinator, Kea Supang, recently attended a training session by Lobster Ink on their innovative training product that makes use of video clips to highlight good service practices. We look forward to sharing this interactive material with community members interested in finding out more about different roles available in hospitality and service.