I stand with my two sons Jacob and Justin, our friend Jenny, and my mother-in-law Joann, staring out over mountains of garbage as far as we can see. The expanse is simply staggering in its immensity. In the distance, massive machines move the refuse. The stench is so thick, it's actually visible in thick haze…Read more From Their Hands to Yours… Part 2: Kumbatia
As an artist, I am passionate about other creative people, especially those buried in situations where they struggle to have a voice. My involvement with Pamba Toto (my friend and I founded the business in 2006) beats at the core of my heart… For these artisans buried in Nairobi slums to realize how incredibly talented…Read more From Their Hands to Yours… Tuungane Pamoja
The first time I witnessed a batik wax stamp process in Kenya in 2010, it catapulted me back in time and across the world: away from the warmth of equatorial sun into a university printmaking studio artificially warmed against winter cold; far from the fragrance of lush green growing landscape into the heady odor of…Read more Can’t Believe I Get to Do This!
We have stories to tell, and photos powerfully weave layers of color and texture into a single view. My long-time friend and Pamba Toto business partner, Debbie, and I are newly impassioned to impart insight into our products and the artisans who make them. After visiting Kenya together last June, we are fully cognizant that there is…Read more Photoshoots: behind-the-scenes
When I hold them in my hands now that I am home, each one represents a world unto itself. They transport me to a time outside time, when I was so enthralled I forgot to eat, drink, or relate to the outside world. Each tiny bead represents a human's touch, a woman far away... and yet…Read more Small and Beautiful
I am very excited to announce a new blog I am writing and to invite you to join me there as well: Welcome to Pamba Toto! Although some of the posts there might be adapted for this blog, the new Pamba Toto blog will include only Pamba Toto-related stories (including our artisans, products and the Sanctuary of Hope…Read more New Pamba Toto Blog!
We leave the aching hope of the Mother Teresa compound for the teeming chaos of streets beyond. Now joining us – me; my Pamba Toto co-founder, business partner and dear friend, Debbie Lee; and her husband Brian - in the car is John, with a smile to shove back the darkest night. He directs us…Read more Huruma Means Mercy, Part 2
Fall down the rabbit hole. Slip through the looking glass. Tip toe across the hanging bridge. However it is you arrive, this is most certainly a magical “other” sort of place. With each step, my eyes open wider and my soul expands. Once over the swinging bridge, glass mosaic underfoot, like a hint of what…Read more Kitengela
Amani ya Juu (Swahili for "peace from above"): an enchanted garden engulfing my senses in tangible peace, healing my soul. Birds sing as vibrant green dance with breezes; and hope sprouts as surely as beautiful textiles leap from skillful hands. Amana Ya Juu, neslted in a Nairobi side street, waited for me like the tender presence…Read more Dreaming of Gardens
In 2006, our hearts broken for the orphans of Kenya yet rejoicing in the opportunity for some of them to be welcomed home and loved by our dear friends Pastor and Mama Karau, my friend Debbie Lee and I started Pamba Toto. Our goal was to generate funding for Hope's Promise's Sanctuary of Hope orphan…Read more Pamba Toto – Adorning Orphans