These baobab backpacks have approximately 12″ of hand woven baobab and 9″ of soft leather top and are 14 inches wide. There are two 3/4″ wide leather straps with buckle adjustments, a leather pull, and a small leather flap for closure.
“These bags are TOUGH!!! I have had one since 1996 and still use it.” – Bev, Expanding Opportunities Director.
Product DescriptionThe Baobab tree is a towering tree that can take more than twelve people hand to hand to span it circumference. The tree in Machakos county, Kenya have scars on the truck from being harvested to make strong fiber bags. It is even thought that Baobab fiber may have been used to construct seagoing sails!The bark is first harvested in large rectangles. This does not kill the tree or severely damage it. The inner bark is then stripped and each long strip is chewed. Yes that is right chewed. At first it is dry as dust but soon saliva flows abundantly and the fibers separate. These fibers are then washed and may be dyed with a natural dye. The natural color of the bark is a creamy white, ashes, or the exterior bark or other plants are used to make many different earthy tones. The fibers are then hand corded on the thigh to create long strands like balls or yarn.A group of ladies harvest, prepare and weave Baobab bags. They might sit and work together like a knitting circle to hand weave the bags while they chat and let the children play.The bags are then given to a leather worker who adds the leather components, zippers and buckles.
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- What We Do
Our items are purchased directly from artisans in Kenya, Africa and not at tourist stations. The purchase of the items supports individuals and families in Kenya.
Proceeds from sales of the items at Aina Moja help support the projects of Expanding Opportunities, including the Street Children Fund, STEMS, Camp Forest, Friends Across the Ocean, Books for Kenya, and Distance Learning Centers. Expanding Opportunities has the greater mission of increasing self-sufficiency through educational and charitable projects for people nationally and internationally.