Mercy in Kenya

Earlier this year, international news reported the collapse of buildings in an obscure Nairobi slum called Huruma. Ironically, “Huruma” means “mercy” in Swahili. At least seven people died and 121 people were injured, buried in shoddily constructed dwellings that rose much higher than should ever have been allowed. There was no mercy for these impoverished … More Mercy in Kenya

Let Us Join Together

The slums of Kenya flagrantly shock the senses. Rusty corrugated metal shacks line narrow, muddy walkways of open sewage. Children play barefoot in trash-clogged rivers where dead pigs float. The putrid stench of burning trash and diesel fumes permeate acres of land devoid of anything green. Approximately 2.5 million people call the slums home in … More Let Us Join Together

Adorn a Child (x3)

No doubt about it, Pamba Toto loves kids. In fact, the whole reason we exist is because kids mean the world to us. Our name, “Pamba Toto” encapsulates our mission in Swahili: “adorn a child.” Our hearts break for kids who lack the basics of food and shelter, and most of all, love. We started ten … More Adorn a Child (x3)

Behind the scenes – Pamba Toto photoshoots

We have stories to tell, and photos powerfully weave layers of color and texture in a single view. My long-time friend and Pamba Toto business partner, Debbie, and I are newly impassioned to impart insight into our products and the artisans who make them. After visiting Kenya together last June, we are fully cognizant that there is … More Behind the scenes – Pamba Toto photoshoots

Each and Every One

My aesthetic-loving mind exploded the first time I stumbled upon the “small and beautiful” magic of “Kazuri” (Swahili for “small and beautiful”) beads in 2009. Invited by my friend Debbie Lee, my mom and I toured the workshop with her. Stunning women dressed in exotic batik fabrics leaned over a vast array of clay shapes … More Each and Every One

Small & Beautiful

  Hour after hour, we sort myriad and brilliant colors and shapes, enthralled. Each bead formed and glazed by the touch of a hand. Each one, a world unto itself. A bell rings and a voice calls for tea. Stunned, we look up at each other. Tea-time in Kenya is served in late afternoon. “What … More Small & Beautiful