Friday, February 12, 2016

The True Size of Africa

At Baskets of Africa, we represent weavers from several countries throughout the continent. Our Bolga baskets come from Ghana, in West Africa; we have an amazing collection of baskets from Botswana, in the lush delta of Southern Africa; and many of our products come from Zululand in South Africa. These products are are very different because these places are very far away from each other, with very different climates and traditions. Africa is HUGE, and it is not easy to grasp just how large it is.

All of China, the lower 48 United States, and most of Europe would easily fit inside Africa. This is one of the all time best maps to illustrate how large Africa really is.

In my 25 years of experience talking with people about Africa, one of the greatest misconceptions is that Africa is a country with states in it rather than a continent full of countries. Many people don't really seem to grasp how extremely large and diverse Africa is in geographical size, but also in culture, history, language, art, and peoples.

I love this map Kai Krause put together in 2010 to illustrate the geographical size because, " everyday thinking, Africa is just about always hugely underestimated - even by college grads, off by factor of 2 or 3." The full article on Kai's website can be found here:

He was writing about the size of Africa, but I find that the same statement can be applied to just about anything to do with Africa.

Click here for a larger, more complete image
Kai Krause True Size of Africa Map

Click here for a larger, more complete image

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Every Box We Ship Supports Forest Restoration

UPS Carbon Neutral Shipment Logo
At Baskets of Africa, the way we do business is very important to us. From the start, our focus has been to give back as much as possible to the weavers who create our amazing products.

But as the business has grown, so have the opportunities to do business in a manner about which we can be proud. One such opportunity is the Carbon Neutral Shipment program that UPS offers. Baskets of Africa is pleased to have been supporting this program for eight years now.

We pay a bit extra on every box we ship in order to support the restoration to dense forests in a 24,000 acre tract of land in Northern California. The Nature Conservancy manages the land and this UPS program helps to fund it.

"Fighting climate change, restoring critical wildlife habitat, providing jobs to the local community— the Garcia River Forest project represents a powerful combination of stewardship efforts that will change the way people think about forest conservation.

The 23,780-acre forest has become a model site for demonstrating the important role forests play in addressing climate change. Its ecosystems safeguard habitat for rare and threatened species. And careful, selective logging of its redwood and Douglas fir timber contributes to the local economy of Mendocino County." - The Nature Conservancy