Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Colors of Zambia

Chitenge:  2 meters of fabric. Used for anything you can imagine!

I think it is one of the things that makes this land so unique. All of the color in the clothing is certainly a visual treat! It is such a contrast to all the red dirt.
Women use this for everything! From a baby carrier to clothing. BabyBjorn is not needed here! They will be used to wrap bundles of food or other purchases and then hauled to wherever they need to go. They are wrapped up as round pads and put on their heads as a balancing aid for hauling 20 liter jugs of water on their heads. They are used as blankets, head coverings, and also as ground coverings when they need to sit on the dirt.
Regardless of age the Chitenge is a staple necessity. Usually it is worn over a traditional skirt for the purpose of keeping it clean. Most people wash everything by hand, and they try to preserve the cleanliness of clothing as much as possible!
Everyone wears them! They are often used to unify the look of a group. It is a relatively easy way to have everyone look coordinated.
This picture is of the graduates from the Literacy Class of Big Tree Baptist. We made the men shirts of the matching fabric, and the women just wrap and tuck the ends into a makeshift waistband. Somehow it manages to stay! 
Matching the chitenge with with other items of clothing is completely unnecessary. I often think they try to be as clashing as possible!
 Some, however, are gifted in the skill of fabricating them into amazing dresses! This one takes several meters of fabric, and this girl made this herself! She attends the Chipata deaf church and my friend showed me this... I love it! They use the fabric to make bags and other totes as well.
Over trousers, jeans, other skirts. Layers... Layers...  Layers! 
 Colors! Colors! Colors!
 This little guy is just too cute not to put his face here! Little Dikson! 
 You can literally buy them anywhere. They are sold on the street, in shops, and people walking all over town with them slung over their arms. From 7 kwacha to as high as 70 kwacha and more! The difference is in the material itseld. Waxed, cotton, polyester, rayon. You name it, it is made into a chitenge!
These are a few of the shirts we gave to our visitors for Father's Day. The whole group will be all decked out tomorrow in Zambian chitenge attire and hopefully I will get a group shot of them all! 
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3 comments:

Jeannine DeRoo said...

So cool, I love them. And, I am so on board with not matching!

The Toothfairy Quilter said...

Beautiful! Do they any patchwork at all? I can just imagine the combinations they could come up with!

The Toothfairy Quilter said...

Beautiful! Do they any patchwork at all? I can just imagine the combinations they could come up with!