Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Nairobi 2012, Karen Souvenir Shops


Matatus at the terminal
Scenery of the country side
We joined a group of parents from the International School of Kenya to visit some souvenir shops in Karen by school buses. To avoid the traffic jam, we didn't take the direct route by going through the city, and instead, we drove through the north-west peripheral of the city. Along the road, we saw several markets. The shacks and stalls were really very primitive indicating the poor economic resources of the merchants and people. There were many places selling charcoals which were prohibited by law to be used for cooking. Mangoes were supposed to be in season, but I saw only one stall where the fruits were piling up high on a trailer. We passed a few bus and matatus terminals, and there were many matatus idling in the terminal probably waiting for passengers. We saw the green and hilly country side along the road, but unfortunately, it didn't stimulate any senses of beauty in it. We saw groves of trees and patches of cultivated land, but we didn't see any village with some descent and attractive houses.

Making print in Kamili Design
Our first stop was Kamili Design where we saw a demo on how print was made on cotton fabrics. They had a designer to made new patterns, and produced the master copy on flatbed screen to print on the fabric. They mixed their own dye paste for printing. Before any mass production, they always tested the colour on a small piece of fabric to unsure its quality.

Candle House Shop was our next stop, we saw only a shop displaying their products, but didn't see any manufacturing facilities. There were a pair was small warthogs running on the ground. They had long whiskers on their cheks and they were cute.

Display at Mat Bronze
We then went to Mat Bronze where many bronze sculptures, large and small, on displayed. There was a small workshop where technicians were cleaning and pouring wax into molds in preparation for lost wax casting. I like the large garden there.

Making toy with discarded flip flop in Marula Studios
Marula Studios was a rather unique place in this visit. It purchased discarded flip flop collected on the beaches and garbage dumps, washed and cleaned them, cut the worm out surface to expose the bright colour of the original material, glued them together to form multi-colour layers, and then cut them into shapes for varous products. They also used styrofoam to form the core of a large toy, and then gradually glued and trimmed many layers of flip flop over it to make it into a multi-colour and spongy toy.

At last, we visited The Soulk which was basically a souvenir shop with several displayed rooms run by different vendors. And our last stop was having lunch at Talisman.

More photos can be seen by searching "lku99999, photo" in Google.

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