The folks of St James the Less, Northfield, seemed remarkably unfazed that I had arrived at church lugging a large black trash bag, and was recruiting them to spend the post-service coffee time cutting the tops and bottoms off a seemingly endless supply of plastic carrier bags. Maybe they know I’m crazy and consider it safer to humor me! Anyhow, a bunch of recruits duly processed several hundred carrier bags, so that Sue can have a supply of plarn for the crochet portion of her intended craft lessons in Toliara.
Plarn? It’s short for plastic yarn, and all kinds of things can be made with it – just Google “plarn” to see for yourself. So far, Sue has designed several items, including holders for the iPhone 6. Whether Malagasy women take to plarn, and what they will think to make with it, only time will tell. But there must be something to be said for a free raw material, especially in poor countries. If plarn becomes a sought-after resource, the world will look more picturesque without discarded plastic bags festooning thorn bushes.
Why are we taking bags with us, when there are plenty adorning the roadsides? At present, Todd and Patsy are in the USA, and thus not present to galvanize the people into collecting, washing and drying the plastic grocery bags. Sue wanted to be sure she had some raw material to work with in class.
Cutting up the bags wasn’t exactly hard work, and it gave an opportunity to chat ... and the task would have taken Sue and I on our lonesome a positive age. Moreover, it gave others an opportunity to learn more and get involved in the whole project of seeking to be of service to the people of Madagascar. It also meant we could recycle the unusable parts of the bags (handles and ends) while we are here in the States, rather than discard them in Madagascar. The trimmed bags were then rolled up tight into bundles that will fit more readily into our baggage.
To those of you who participated today: thank you. Sorry you missed it? Come to St James the Less, next Sunday (June 20th) at 9 a.m. to cut the remainder of the hoard! If you can bring your own sharp scissors as well, that would be good, as some of the church’s are not that great.