How I learnt to be resourceful in Africa!!
Reduce, reuse and recycle- a mantra I’ve always believed in and to that effect, I started “collecting” or “hoarding” as my mother likes to call it nick-nacks of varied nature-old wrapping papers, diaries from past years, watch tins and jewelry boxes, beads and strings, cardboard tubes of toilet papers, pieces of cloth and even the pizza box stacks (the little plastic white table that you find in pizza boxes to prevent the cheese from sticking to the box) to name a few. To nobody’s surprise, all of it still remains in its virgin state, threatening to burst out of my already full closet. Mind you, I am not really the artsy, D-I-Y type of person, although I “collect” everything in the hope that one day I will be. I recently had an epiphany of sorts, the reason for my inaction towards these items seems not to be in my laziness (okay, maybe a percentage of it), but rather the fact that I didn’t need substitutes when the real thing was easily available. Why would I want to go through the trouble of converting a used coffee can into a pen stand when I could just as easily buy a pen stand?
But being in Africa, I’ve learnt how to be resourceful and transform everyday objects or things usually dismissed as junk into objects of practical use. Two main reasons for this grand transformation- One, things are not easy to procure in Africa and two, even if they are available, they are expensive and I did not want to waste money on things I would use only for a short while (here for six months only). I collected old unused things from the office, from my colleagues, from my friends and neighbors who did not see any use for it. I got innovative and creative and started seeing possibilities in otherwise insignificant things. This experience has taught me that we can all be resourceful if we put our mind to it, either at work or otherwise. Here’s to early spring cleaning once I return home, I know my mother is already happy reading this.