Tuesday, May 19, 2009


[what's brewing: just water today, I need the bottle for...]

One of the things I find inspiring here is the demonstration of human ingenuity that I see on a daily basis. These daily observations make me keenly aware of the limitations of my own mind that have been set by my preceding life of convenience. Human needs do not differ greatly across cultures, but our means of meeting them do.

Here are a few of my favorites:

In the absence of a sprinkler to water the grass, a repeatedly punctured two-liter size plastic soda bottle fastened to the end of a garden hose, resulting in the same sprinkling effect that tempts children into its range around the world.

In the absence of mop heads, old t-shirts wrapped tightly around the end of a broom stick(and at times, tied around the foot with the leg serving as the broom stick!).

In the absence of shin guards to protect the legs of determined soccer players, pieces of cardboard fashioned to stay in place with rubber bands around the calf and ankle.

What things do you see that demonstrate the depth of human ingenuity in your area? Have you adopted any of the practices you’ve seen there?


Susan said...

In Japan where the houses are small and storage space is a minimum....Japanese have all sorts of organizer things and things that are an extra small size or can be made smaller for storage....my mom always comments on this when she visits. We have gotten so used to it we don't even notice it.

Hey, add me to your blog roll please. I have so enjoyed reading other missionary's blogs. Thanks.

Tim and Richelle said...

Old cans become little "ovens" or hot plates to cook.

Plastic bags become rain bonnets.

Old insecticide cans become modern art sculptures irresistable to tourists.

Scraps of cardboard become insulation for grass huts, especially in cold season.

No need for a change purse or handbag - take the tail of your pagne, wrap it around money, loose change, id card, etc., and tie it. Then tuck it into your "waistband." Works better than those fancy under-under-your-clothes money and important paper bags that they sell at luggage shops.

Plexi-glass... or clear packing tape to replace shattered car windows, since ordering an authentic replacement can be expensive and there is no guarantee that it will survive shipment here.

And tons of others - I've also often been amazed at the ingenuity and "recycling" I've seen here.

Kacie said...

Even better than plastic bags for rain bonnets are the HUGE leaves that grow in asia, which you can just pick and stand underneath... about as good as an umbrella!

Beth Niquette said...

I love it! Here's one for you--a paste of hydrogen peroxide and soda make for a natural tooth whitener. Just apply the paste to your teeth, wait a bit, brush and wahlah, white teeth!

Wendy said...

Another Japanese one. Susan forgot to mention that we use 'poles' a lot in the absence of counter space/cupboard space. They are spring-loaded on the inside, so sit, unsupported between two vertical surfaces. We use them across our small rooms to hang washing from, towels in the bathroom and even curtains. I have one small one above our toilet, with a small curtain covering the contents of the above-toilet-shelf.

Cindy said...

Flip-flops made out of old car/truck/bicycle tires!

Michelle Abel said...

I live in Mongolia, where growing plants is not a normal thing. This spring I have decided to attempt a garden outside the ADRA office. I am using an old hair conditioner detangler spray bottle to spray the seedlings, which are in little containers made out of half-toilet rolls or empty yogurt pots. I have recycled old tin biscuit cans for my tomato pots and am stringing them up with bits of old stocking my girls have torn to pieces playing outside. I have plants growing in brown paper bags, ready to put outside when it gets warmer.

Michelle Abel said...

Can you add me to the blogroll? www.miapng.blogspot.com

tschiller said...

My kids use a furniture dolly with rope tied to it as a sort of wheeled sled. That's about the best I have. I'm in the US and everything is all too convenient!

kimom said...

In the absence of telephone poles, weld 2-3 rusty truck bumpers together and cement into the ground!

Mo said...

Being in India, entrepreneurism is a given; I've never met such creative people. I sit across from an open area where every day the water buffalo are brought to bath in the river. But it's what's done with their poop that amazes me...the women come, make it into patties, dry it out and sell it for fuel. Plastic bags are made into kits, nothing goes to waste, at least not until it's been used a few times.


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