I just returned from a magical wonderland called Creative Solutions, an NGO that works towards promoting environmental education and creates beautiful recycled art.
This wonderland is located in the small fishing village of Mangapwani on the western side of Zanzibar. The other students and I packed ourselves into our rented van and chatted throughout the half hour trip from Stone Town to Mangapwani. Driving through the village on our way to the entrance gate of Creative Solutions gave us not the slightest indication of the warm, inviting, inspiring land nestled soundly behind that colorfully painted gate. After passing through the gate my jaw dropped, my mouth turned upwards in and uncontrollable expression of joy, and my eyes almost burst from pleasurable visual stimulation.
After a description like that, I would only be teasing you all if I did not focus the majority of this post on photos from this delightful bundle of perfect creativity, strewn together in the most pleasing manner. The following photos will give you the best sense of the place I could capture but sadly that’s all you’ll get, a sense. If only you could be here with me.
***KARIBU! = WELCOME!***
***This is the first wall to the left as you walk in. EVERY wall is made into an art piece of one kind or another***
**The artist in us all could not help but feel inspired here**
***Quick snap of the “apartment” I stayed in with another student***
**Is this Africa? What is Africa?**
*Again, all handmade to the best of my knowledge*
***Creative Solutions also runs a preschool where they teach English and environmental education***
**So, NATURALLY, a playground would be a requirement**
*America should work on creating more hand crafted, recycled, play equipment*
**Sure this is meant for three year old children but yes I laid on it to watch the clouds pass overhead**
*Ah, school is just too difficult sometimes. What a challenging life I lead*
**Let him stare into your soul**
*He will release your inner child*
**More examples of random recycled art scattered around the grounds**
*They also have art studios. Glass bottle art such as cutting and melting is their forte*
****Meet Vanderbilt “Vandy”****
***The sweetest, and most beloved dog in Zanzibar***
**Her owner is American and therefore finds it acceptable to own a dog as a pet**
*She likes napping. Don’t we all*
Lastly but most importantly, each group that comes through Creative Solutions must leave a creative imprint of their own somewhere on the premises
**Our group unleashed our artistic wiles in two ways**
*The first was by helping build the already started recycled wine bottle house*
The building steps I picked up goes as follows…
1) Take two wine bottles and cut the tops off so the entirety of what is left is the same width across.
*There are many online instructions on how to cut bottles.
2) Take two of these cut wine bottles and securely tape them together in the middle, creating one long tube that will act as your brick.
3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have a solid brick collection.
4) Stir together a mixture or sand, mud, cement, and water (Make sure it is nice and moist).
5) Lay down a layer about two inches thick (tall) of this cement mixture under where you want to lay your first row of bottles.
6) Then start laying out your bottles so that the two ends face the inside and outside of your soon to be house.
*Make sure they are parallel to the ground and about an inch or an inch and a half apart from one another.
5) Let them lay there while the cement around them dries only slightly so that they secure in place.
7) Once secure, pick up hand fulls of cement and to the best of your ability, forcefully throw it at the spaces left between your bottles.
*Eventually you will make it so that the cement covers from one end of the bottle brick to the other while still being able to see both ends so the light can shine through.
8) After the cement is packed to the edges, use a damp sponge to smooth out the cement to it is even throughout and tightly packed into all the crevices.
9) Once this is complete, allow the cement to sit and harden for maybe a day (I only worked on it for a few hours so I am not exactly sure of the time needed), then continue adding on more and more rows until you are satisfied of the height (allowing proper time to dry between each).
*I do not know how they are planning to attach the roof.
*Make sure to leave a space for the door!!
*The darker top rows to the left are what I worked on*
**The second imprint we left, was our collaborative wall painting**
*Inspired by our current experimental, hand-on, education*
*I personally painted the left ear of the elephant and a portion of the blue fish*
*I more so enjoyed forcefully throwing a sand and cement mixture within the bottles to create the house*
*****SIT SPRING 2015****
Well, that is all for today folks.
Try to create something today. Unleash the inspiration you may have bottled inside.
Do something to make the world even more beautiful that it already is because you are in it.