I went to Mozambique for the first time in March of 2000 following devastating flooding throughout the country. I was working with a project for Aid to Artisans. My job was to work with wood artisans to help streamline their production and create products that used their limited resources more effectively. While ebony is not endangered, the bulk of the old growth forests of ebony are in this region of Southern Africa. Ebony is a slow growing wood which gives it a dense hard grain that is traditionally used to make charcoal and the growing population of the region threatens these forests will literally be burned to the ground for cooking fuel. Part of our program was to raise awareness in the community of the value of these forests for creating a sellable product in an effort to help protect them for future generations. We did this by increasing the value of each tree by making small pieces which require a high level of labor to produce. I hope you enjoy your bowls as much as I enjoy mine.
Mozambique was under the colonial rule of Portugal for four centuries and gained theirindependence after 10 years of conflict with the Portuguese in 1975. Following this, thecountry experienced a devastating Civil War for another 15 years. Mozambique continues tostruggle with poverty and internal conflict. But it is rich with natural resources and a newgeneration is working hard to bring Mozambique forward as an example of African innovationand resilience.