I was born in Kenya, as were my two brothers and my mother. My grandfather went there, aged 18, in the soldier settler programme that was run after the war. He was a farmer and accountant, but also had to learn to be totally self-sufficient. He married my grandmother, who was born in India, so we all have a love of these countries of colour and vibrancy.
Our family has always been fairly arty, crafty and musical and we have always been interested in culture, arts and crafts from other countries. We have all travelled extensively and lived in a variety of other countries. Between us, we speak five languages, six if you count American!
I originally trained as a nurse and worked in paediatrics for many years, before deciding to leave that profession and try something new. This is when the idea of selling handcrafts from Southern and East Africa was first born! I did so in conjunction with running a tea shop in Wiltshire, and later a gite business in France. I now concentrate solely on going to markets, and selling African handcrafts on my online shop BAZAAR AFRICA.
Everything on my site is hand made, and sourced personally by me. Where possible I like to source my stock from projects and charities that help empower African people, enabling them to earn for themselves a better quality of life. Many of these projects help people with AIDS and HIV, single mothers and many many other equally worthy causes. The aim is to market the beautiful hand crafted items that are made, so that the craftspeople realise how talented they are, and how their work is appreciated. I also pay fair prices for all that I buy, helping them to be earning a proper wage. Many of the materials used are recycled, and a range of these is available, in necklaces, cards, trinket boxes, money banks and more.
My stock is sourced from southern and east African countries, mainly Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa. I try to get there once a year to look for new and unusual items. My craft items are functional, pretty, useful, original or just plain fun. The range is wide, and appeals to all ages, boys, girls, men and women.
You can find me on Facebook too.