Toys are different in Mozambique.
A Mozambican friend once said-- "I think that children in developing nations are smarter because they learn how to make something out of nothing. They know how to make toys out of dirt."
I think of this sentiment whenever I walk down the path after a rain and find a child, hard at work, sculpting a sandcastle with a broken mug and a stick. I know that all children are innovative, but the truth is-- children in Africa make the most beautiful, hand-made toys that I have ever seen in my life. I started taking pictures of children's toys in April and have been enchanted ever since.
Most toys in Mozambique are made of wood, wire, or twine. Wheels and hoops are popular, as are toy cars and hand-woven balls. Common toys tend to be representations of everyday objects, like guitars, drums, motocycles, airplanes, houses... and even little sisters!
This is my favorite blog post, and has been my pet project for the past few months.
Enjoy the pictures!
Little Bicycle Man: Made out of wire and tape, this little bicycle man
actually pedals when pushed along on his stick!
|Balls: To build a football, you will need one condom balloon, 50 million meters of twine, and two or three plastic bags. A Mozambican football can last forever, as it can be strung and restrung indefinitely.|
|Musical Instruments: From left to right-- oil-can drums (on our front porch, no less), a vodka-bottle guitar, and a single-string guitar made from bamboo, a piece of twine, and a discarded water bottle.|
|Propellers: Sticks and mango leaves. Kids will run up and down the yard with these, making them spin like airplane propellers.|
|Toy lanterns: These wire-and-can lanterns serve two purposes. They are a good way to transport charcoal from one stove to another, and they also look pretty. Unfortunately, the kids like to swing them around.|
|Toy Babies: Children are responsible for taking care of their younger siblings over the course of the day. It is not uncommon to find the youngest child in the family taking care of a pretend baby.|
|Toy Marketplace: The two boys on the far right are playing pretend, selling mountains of dirt in exchange for pebbles and bottle caps.|
|Swing: Two sisters under a mango tree|
|Seni's Condom Slingshot: From left to right-- the materials (whittled stick, expired condom, twine, and hair bands), the slingshot in action, and the carnage|
|Junio's and Joaquim's Rag-and-Thread Slingshots: Made from bits of thread and old clothing|
|Mud-Clay Phone: Seni made this cell phone using mud, a piece of wire, and his own two hands. It is complete|
with a removable dental-floss cord, charger, and plastic screen (with newspaper underneath)
|Toy House: Sticks, canvas, and twine|
|Toy House: Boys making a house out of mud and pebbles. Note the skeptical look on the face of the boy|
to the left. That's pretty common. He smiled at me, though, when I showed him his picture.
|Mud-Clay Cars: While I originally meant to take a picture of the boy in the red shirt and his four clay cars, |
his entire family joined in for the photograph.
|Mud-Clay Cars: Complete with four little spinning wheels. |
These cars are at least fifty percent spit and sand, by the way.
|Bamboo Guns: I found these seven boys playing war at the high school at around sunset. Each of their guns was hand-made and unique. The largest gun boasted five barrels (pictured above). The smallest was an eight-inch pistol (below)|
|Bamboo guns: Mozambican boys love John Rambo|
|Sandbag Trampoline: I caught this boy practicing flips in the fields by the market. He was launching off of a sandbag and into a bed of straw.|