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Esther Kariuki is an independent artisan who, in her area of Kenya, near Kitui, has organized and trained women in her village to use the dried fiber of the banana plant, which would normally be discarded. The banana fiber is first dried, and then a light varnish applied. Once this process is complete craftspeople cut the fiber into thin strips to make several different items, including boxes, Bao Bab trees and mobiles. The varnish on the banana fiber with its many tones of brown resembles textured tortoise shell.
Esther ensures the craftspeople are paid a fair wage for their goods, which has enabled many in her small village to earn a sustainable wage.
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