I'm currently in Livingstone, Zambia where the focus is Victoria Falls. Sadly for me it's the dry season now so there's less water and when I went to see them (on the Zimbabwe side where the main falls are) my camera battery stopped and the extra battery I brought wasn't charged - but more on that story next time. On to our feature presentation...
Today we visit the Mazingira Monkey Project in Arusha, Tanzania. Mazingira means "environment" in Kiswahili and this project was created in 2002 by Mr. Juma Rahmadani with the aim of ridding Arusha of the used plastic bags that litter the streets.
Every morning, he goes through the streets of Arusha collecting plastic bags, which he then washes with soap and a disinfectant. He hangs them to dry them in the sun among banana trees in his neighborhood, then heads back to his office/home to start making animals with his wife, Asia Ramadhani Juma Kijangwa.
They sew kitenge cloth (a very colorful cloth worn by women all over East Africa) into the shapes of giraffe, elephants and monkeys then stuff them with the cleaned plastic bags. It takes 12 bags to fill a giraffe, 12 for a monkey and 30 for an elephant. Juma estimates he's made over 1000 animals since this project started in 2002, which means somewhere between 12,000 and 30,000 plastic bags are off the streets because of him!
Not only is he helping the environment, Juma uses the street children in Arusha to help him collect the plastic bags and in return buys them food or clothes. He works tirelessly at the Maznigira Monkey Project to support not only himself, his wife and their four children but also the environment and the street children of Arusha.
What can you do to help this project? It's easy... buy a monkey, a giraffe or a herd of elephants!
If you're interested, please let me know via a comment on this site. I'll collect orders and work with Juma directly so he can make one big shipment rather than a bunch of small ones.
As before... please leave any comments here so Juma and Asia can read them.
“Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead