How to make a washbag

As well as travelling to war torn countries I like to make stuff. The place where I volunteer (Kamili fabric printers) are looking for something to make with their new print. Its a quirky black and white design – think retro, bookish traveler. I thought it would be good as a washbag for guys. The next job is to show the sewing team how to make it so Ive prepared the instructions below. I thought I would share them here in case you fancied making one. Its really easy.  

 IMG_0006 You need

2 pieces of material 32cm x 36cm

32 cm zip

Rotary cutter/scissors

Set square (optional)

 

IMG_0007Line up the long edge of your material with the edge of your zip. Right sides together. Pin and sew. Repeat for the other piece of material – right sides together pin and sew. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0008When you lay out your pieces it should look like this.

Wash 3Fold the material over, right sides together then sew along the bottom long edge

wash 4Now the bottom is sewed closed open up the zip part way then fold the fabric out so that the zip is running down the middle and stitch the bottom seam closed.

 

 

 

 

wash 6You can add a handle if you like. Stitch the top seam closed.

 

 

 

 

 

wash 7Now to make the wash bag a square shape you need to pinch the corners and measure 12 cm. Mark the line with pencil.

 

 

 

 

wash 8

 

 

 

 

You can use a quilting ruler to make sure the line is 90O to the seam.

 

wash 9

 

Repeat on each corner. After stitching trim off the excess material.

 

 

 

 

wash 10Turn the wash bag right side out and you have your finished article

 

 

Back in Congo

 lake-kivu

Im back in DRC after 11 years. The place where I met my husband. The place where I cut my teeth in the humanitarian sector. The place where I experienced the greatest atrocities but saw the hugest smiles. Here are some of the things that have taken up my time over the last few days.

- Pondering if one of the most dangerous volcanoes on earth might chose its moment to spew its guts this week. 

- Bumping over the lava encrusted roads from the violent eruption in 2002.

- Running a workshop on behaviour change and WASH. Or how our reptilian brains can be motivated to use soap! 

- Training to climb Mt Kenya by doing the 7 minute challenge twice a day

- Catching up with old friends at Lake Kivu Lodge. Feels like you could be in Lake Geneva rather than the conflict prone Eastern Congo.Le chalet Goma

- Watching Out of Africa but wishing I had a copy of Gorillas in the mist

- Being amazed at the range of restaurants available

- Being perplexed at this stunningly beautiful location that has been ravaged by 20 years of conflict 

Main street in Goma

Main street in Goma

Im looking forward to next weeks adventures when I will be visiting some of the surrounding villages where we are working for our project.

If you want some background about the place, take a look at this great article on Goma.

Explosion at Gikomba market, Nairobi

A few hours ago there was a blast in a busy market area of Nairobi. So far 10 deaths reported and many casualties. The incident has attracted large crowds to the scene. This was after this mornings warnings from the FCO about an imminent attack in Mombasa and evacuation of tourists from the coastal holiday destination. We have some family holidaying near there at the moment and hope that they are safe. We are safe and planning a weekend camping outside of Nairobi.

US Embassy staff were sent home this morning and there are rumours that the market blast might be a decoy for something bigger. Please pray for calm and safety for the people of Kenya. Image

Pink prints

A friend of mine has just returned from West Africa with a stash of lovely material. I have a whole box of fabric for projects that I want to do but does that stop me wanting more?! Erm, no! She had a lovely pink one that caught my eye. I know that some prints are not going to work back home but out here bright is good so its been added to my collection!

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There’s a favourite dress of mine that Ive been wanted to get copied for a while. There are many tailors out here who will copy stuff but you have to take your time to find a good one. Often when they take European measurements they cant quite believe that they are correct so end up adding a few inches to the boobs and the butt and taking a few off the waistline. So you end up with an interestingly proportioned garment, more suited to Jessica Rabbit. So Ive decided to have a go myself at making a dress. Will let you know how it goes.

Last week on our Bank Holiday we went back to one of my favourite places. Browns cheese farm. As well as tasting their yummy artisan cheese and eating their delicious lunch, I got to milk a cow and make friends with a new born calf – only 3 days old. It wanted to lick me which made me smile. Maybe it knew I was a vegetarian :)

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Fennel and orange salad, homemade guacamole, roasted vegetables, pineapple and mint salsa and wild rocket salad.

ImageFreshly brewed coffee, homemade icecream. I had all four flavours- salted caramel, honeycomb and lavender, strawberries and cream and chocolate chip.

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Dealing with the “little friends”

Back in Juba and after my failed attempt to extract a jigger (I count 5) I decide to go to a clinic. Im a bit worried as Ive described what I have to the driver and he has a look of bemused confusion. “You have chickens?” Me, “No, jiggers”.  Him, “Chickens”….”No, little worms, jiggers”. Him, “Worms from chickens?” Oh dear this is going to be a long morning. And he is my translator at the clinic!

There are no obvious staff when we reach the hospital just rows of rows of people holding medical forms and what look like x-ray envelopes. I whisper to the driver, “I don’t think they can help me here”. He replies, “Yes, yes very good doctors. International. They do surgery”. Im thinking, “Surgery? Before I know it they will have chopped my toe off.” He adds, “You go pay”. I question the logic of this. “Pay? They haven’t done anything yet! Do you pay for fuel before they fill up the car?” He has that bemused smile on his face again as if to say, “You crazy white person have it your way …….. Finally someone who might be a receptionist arrives and the driver explains why Im there. She looks over at me with raised eyebrows. Goodness knows what he has said to her!  She calls me over and says, “You need to see the doctor for some medicine”. I try and explain again, “I don’t need medicine. I just need someone to remove the jiggers.” Judging from the blank expression I don’t fit into her normal category of patient. With the whole clinic now listening into our conversation I decide Ive had enough public embarrassment and politely excuse myself. Looks like me and my jiggers will need to find another strategy.