Saturday, January 10, 2009
In keeping with the government’s involvement in the lives of its citizens, it has also gone to lengths to protect its cultural heritage, crafts, and trade. With the creation of a ‘Craft Center’ the basket weavers, potters, carvers, whittlers, and cloth weavers have been given aid to their dying arts.
The knowledge of these particular trades have been passed down through generations and therefore it is a general rule that one family has one trade. Though this is not their only livelihood, it is an important factor to keep going in their traditionally based culture.
As we sat with a basket weaver I was reminded of the sweet grass baskets that are so popular in South Carolina. The material used here of course is dried palm leaves rather than the potent marsh grasses, and are nowhere as intricate or elaborate in looks. Although this self proclaimed old man was working on several different baskets, some dyed by India Ink, others natural, he made us each a little present to take back. I was given a purple dyed diamond ring while my friends got a camel and a horse—no doubt my red hair was the cause behind this action. Between my fair skin and bright red hair, I am an anomaly to this country and thereby haven’t been able to stray from the ‘tourist look’.