One thing that keeps repeating here is
Money. It is very very important. In being appreciated for your efforts, for making it, and ever so because no one has very much. Often times, like in Jidereri, where we celebrated the language project with Benjamin and his community, they struggle just to put beans and corn on the table. The gold miners? They couldn’t make enough farming. So they turned to gold mining. You need patience, they say, because you only get paid when you find a nugget or enough flakes. It can be weeks. Then, they share it among the laborers and the boss a bit with the guy who he rents the winch from that carries them into the hole, and it is enough to send kids to school.
At first, it took me aback that money is so central. What is most importnat to you? Money. What is so important about making these traditional baskets? Money. It gives me money.
THen when I step back, outside myself and where I come from, which can only ever be considered at privileged, no matter what, on account that I’m here, and most people I have interviewed will never have the luxury of traveling outside, I settle into the idea that when you need it, when it is scarce, and where it is the most sought after and hard to come by tangible item, sure. that makes sense.
Sometimes I want it to be a different answer. A lofty pondering of how this craft has been passed from ancestors and we’re keeping this art alive. Or, I’m pounding this piece of metal into a better ax head crouching over a fire, hammering away, because my father and his father crafted these items. Then i get a grip. And it also is truly indicative of where you are, and the struggles people have.