In 2008, I began working with an organization called Give a Jumpstart, and I spent the next eight years visiting the village of Kashikishi, Zambia figuring out ways to improve the health and well-being of the children of this place, along with the women who care for them. In the midst of creating and implementing a grant program, and micro lending programs, and workshops to improve the sexual and reproductive health of the women and girls, I would make art with them. I would ask them “What makes a home?” The women drew and painted, and danced and sang as they contemplated this question.
How do mothers continue to smile, and foster hope in their children when they don’t have a roof over their head, or food for your children? As I collected their ideas and drawings, I realized that the lives of the women in this remote village in Zambia mirror the lives of my ancestors in Maine from hundreds of years ago. The mothers and daughters of rural Zambia also create homes from virtually nothing and teach their children to be kind and thoughtful people. I have used their ideas as inspirations for my own work.
Where Air Grows Thin By CB Follett small girl in red overalls high in a chestnut tree listening to birdsong and intimate with bark look up through the branches to the lacework of sky see if in the great void where air grows thin the woman of your future remembers you.