Lessons From Africa: Part 1

When I first started my upcycling venture, my great aunt, who I’ll just call my aunt because it’s easier, said ‘You’d really like Africa. They come up with a use for everything.’

Of the 21 least developed countries in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index, 11 are in West Africa. Fifty-five percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day. The region’s even poor by African standards – the average annual income is $309, compared to the Sub-Saharan average of $470.


The Sub-Saharan region of Africa is the poorest region in the world.

To be honest, I don’t know that much about Africa. I’ve heard that one-half of the country is pretty normal as far as poverty is concerned and then the other half is the part that has the problem.

I was inspired by my aunt telling me that they are so creative when it comes to their reuse of everyday items and I tried to find some different facts to reinforce that, but I didn’t come up with all that much. I see pictures from time to time of their region. They’re rare and I couldn’t find the ones that had always stayed with me, but here are the ones I did find.

african boat

The fishermen from the West coast of Africa decorate their boats with brightly coloured geometric designs. A group finds these boats and turns them into furniture. This is just one of their designs. Click the link below for more.

furniture from old boats


AfriGadget Soccer Ball

Old clothes, a plastic bag, condoms, and some rope made into a football.

Blockbuster Oven in Liberia

Repurposed Blockbuster Drop Box turned into an oven.


harold and water 2.jpg

This is Harold. A few months before this picture was taken, an organization had come to talk to his community about the effects of poor sanitation.

I nearly got rid of this bottle,” Harold explains, tracing the origin of an empty plastic bottle, now turned into a container fixed to a hand washing facility placed outside his family toilet.

“We use the bottle to fill water which we use to wash hands each time we visit the toilet. “From the time we started washing our hand, we no longer get sick,” the young boy explains. According to Harold, he always treasures the bottle and feels proud to have contributed to the eradication of diseases that kept affecting his family and entire community.


This site had a whole bunch of cool pictures, but I wasn’t sure if all of them were made in Africa. This was made from car tires. http://theplaydateblog.blogspot.com/p/gogreen.html


I’m not finished talking about Africa. We have a lot to learn about their way of life, but this all I have to say about this particular subtopic. I hope your as inspired by this as I am.

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