When I look at a space, I think about how it is decorated, how that space is (or could be) made to be full of life and welcoming to all who are there. I love spaces that invite long conversations over tea or a glass of wine, inspire the mind to create, and awaken the senses to the possibilities of life. As I write that, it makes me step back and wonder at the grandeur that I am asking of a space, but I know it is possible. Often it takes little more than open spaces, warm colors, and overflowing plants. With my move to Kigali, I have been working to do the same of my spaces here – large spaces where everything is painted off-white.
This is my office – the place I work from during the days when I am not on a plane or with a partner in the field. Inspired by a local coffee shop and being the African-based operations for Blood:Water Mission, I turned to the locally available African fabrics. (This decision was supported by the general lack of art or crafting supplies in the country…. creativity is required.) I bought wood frames normally used to stretch canvas from a local artist, scraps of fabric from a woman in the fabric market, hunted down some ribbon (only three colors to choose from), and a new friend blessed with use of a staple gun. That is how creativity is done here – dream up what you want, alter the dream when you find available tools, and smile at the outcomes. Then get a cup of chai and sigh at how much happier the space has become.