James Nampushi is a man with a dream; a dream of saving wildlife in his native Kenya through weaving.
Before coming to the United States to get his doctorate in parks management from Clemson University, Nampushi witnessed firsthand how discarded plastic bags were killing off local wildlife living in the Maasai Mara Natural Reserve. Nampushi realized that in Kenya a robust wildlife population means tourism, jobs, and money, and that nobody wants to visit a wildlife reserve devoid of animals but full of plastic bags.
So Nampushi thought about it and then, along with one of his professors at Clemson, he did Internet research on weaving with plastic bags. Through his research, he came in contact with weaver Chris Gustin of Homestead Weaving Studio, a weaver who specializes in rugs made from recycled materials like plastic bags.
Gustin invited him to her studio where she taught him to weave. Now Nampushi hopes to teach other villagers back in Kenya how to weave mats and rugs from plastic bags and, in doing so, to help save the lives of animals. Gustin is currently helping Nampushi fundraise for the project. You can visit Gustin’s website for information on how you can support this worthwhile project to help both weavers and wildlife.