He brought home the "obligatory" souvenirs, although all I wanted from Ethiopia was for him to come home safe. Regardless, his selections were really neat and some are actually relevant to this blog...because he bought jewelry! (what can I say? I've got him trained...haha!)
The first few things he bought were from Entoto Beth Artisan (link to their Facebook page), which was started by a group, BEZA Community Outreach, that recognized a great need for people ostracized by their families and communities and living on the mountain, to be able to earn an income. The women my husband bought the jewelry from are former prostitutes rescued from that lifestyle and taught to make jewelry.
Coffee is a big export for Ethiopia (yes, this is relevant)
The first piece I'm going to show you is one that hubs bought for me and uses sealed coffee beans as beads.
It is surprisingly elegant and coffee brown looks good with just about everything. The metal beads are lead free and crafted by local farmers using bullet casings and scrap metal discarded during past conflicts in the region.
The purple silk scarf (he pays attention to what my favorite color is!) the necklace was photographed on was created start to finish by local Ethiopian artisans. The company is called Sabahar and the group he traveled with was able to visit and watch the artisans work.
A little more info about Sabahar: "We buy local Eri silk cocoons from small farmers, spin the silk and cotton, dye it and then hand weave the locally-sourced thread into beautiful textiles. Buying a Sabahar product means you support a truly Ethiopian product, cared for by skilled artisans at each stage of the process."
This is another necklace handcrafted by the ladies at Entoto Beth Artisan that he brought home for our 11 year old daughter. Again, the beads are made of scrap metal. This particular necklace could be worn everyday. Maybe I will snatch it from her when she isn't looking.
Not to leave out the guys, he brought home two similar necklaces for himself and our 15 year old son. They use some kind of stone pendant (the ladies didn't know what it was) with a simple wire wrap and the scrap metal beads.
Another group that works to empower people that have been shunned so they can earn a living is Project 61. The particular people the group visited live in a garbage dump because they are not accepted by their families or communities. Some look through the dump for things to recycle and sell. Some have been taught skills like making jewelry to sell. He bought these bracelets for our daughter from them.
And the last jewelry piece he got is this necklace and bracelet set for our daughter from a roadside market.
He bought us a few other things...like coffee, some woven baskets, hand carved wood animals, and more handwoven scarves. But I wanted to share the jewelry he bought and the stories behind them. I love that he bought us locally crafted jewelry, by artisans, getting fair wages.
Have a great week!