Tag: Malambo

Detailed Hand-Work Puts Charm Into African Pieces

Read below an excerpt from a piece in the November 2012 issue of the Kootenay Quilters’ Day Guild Newsletter. The article focuses on the work of one of the founding members of Malambo Grassroots with the women’s group in Zambia!

Squares for Quilts Drying in the Zambian Sun

The Malambo Grassroots organization is a success story that makes Marylee Banyard feel a great sense of inner contentment. Over the course of the last 20 years, Marylee has seen the women involved in the organization develop their skills and flourish. As a grassroots organization, they hone their handiwork so that it can easily be sold at fundraisers in Canada. Many quilters purchase the hand-embroidered pieces and make them into attractive wall hangings or quilts, such as the work of Nellie Shukin depicted above. Money is used to support community initiatives sponsored by the women and is also critical to the success of ongoing maintenance of plumbing in the centre and the preventive maintenance of 2 industrial sewing machines and 6 other machines. In addition to Marylee’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Nelson generously donated tables and chairs and an industrial sewing machine to the centre. Private donors have also assisted to ensure that the centre flourishes.

This year Marylee will assist with a project to enhance the work of the local PTA. A guest speaker will talk about the childrens’ education. The women of the centre will then break into 6 groups to discuss issues surrounding the presentation and will develop an embroidered banner depicting their discussion issue and possible ways to resolve the issue. This whole process is also aired in the media. The sense of community involvement and development is significant.

A great 103 miles!

Geoff Cross on a training ride up Mt.Baker

At the end of September, Geoff Cross rode for Malambo Grassroots in the 103 mile Levi’s GranFondo cycling event. Geoff had a great ride finishing 80th out of the thousands of participants! Thank you so much, Geoff, for your support!
Read here his summary of his day:

Typical of the Bay Area, the day started with some fog and cold, making way to beautiful hot sunny skies in the mountains before dropping down into the fog bank hanging over the pacific coast. It didn’t rain thankfully, as the course was even more technically demanding than I had been told- Besides the 7.500 other riders, there were lots cracks and potholes and tree-lined, switch back descents to keep one senses firing all day.

It is a spectacularly well-organized event with rest/food stations just where you need them. I knew that a key to a good performance would be eating and drinking more than you feel like. While not a recipe for day to day diet, I credit the peanut butter and jam sandwiches and coke, combined with the terrifically supportive atmosphere, and getting to share it with friends, that kept unexpected levels of pep in my legs all day.

A bike in Zambia

It was the best road ride that I have ever had the luxury of undertaking. Some/many big rides are Type 2 fun- painful and full of suffering during and only enjoyable after they are done with the sense of accomplishment; however, every so often you do a big ride that is Type 1 fun- huge smile inducing all day long, even though you are breathing hard. I think of it as being in the state of “Flow” that athletics, music, art, and other endeavors can bring when everything comes together in just the right doses.”

Geoff told us that he was happy to have had the opportunity to do the ride and support Malambo, and we are so grateful to Geoff! Thank you!

How it all began…


Omega Nyanga in a dress she made herself.


In 1992, Omega Nyanga offered to sew something beautiful for Marylee, if Marylee could only find some thread and fabric. That year, Zambia suffered a severe drought and all the workers on Moorings Farm had been laid off. There was no crop, and simply no work to do.

Omega had been training as a seamstress in northern Zambia when her family told her to return to Moorings to care for her ailing mother. But she knew she could still create, if only she had the materials, and that maybe she could make some money using her skills.

The Malambo Women’s Group grew out of Omega’s fledgling idea and Marylee’s own experience of teaching an earlier generation to embroider in the 1950s and 1960s. Neither of them could have guessed how many people would benefit from Omega’s simple suggestion, nor how successful the resulting group would be.

The Malambo Women’s Group was just the beginning of our work in Zambia. We hope to keep expanding into communities throughout southern Zambia.

Marylee is on her way to Zambia!

Marylee Banyard of Malambo Grassroots has probably already landed in Zambia for another six months with the Malambo women and our other projects. And what a trip it was!

* a 10 hour drive from Nelson, BC to Vancouver,BC

* a 10 hour flight from Vancouver to Heathrow airport in London

* a 6 hour layover in Heathrow

* a 10 hour flight from Heathrow to Lusaka, Zambia

She left Vancouver at 8pm on Saturday and arrives at 6:30 am on Sunday to be picked up by Sipriano, a driver from Moorings Farm.

In Lusaka, she will spend the day shopping and running errands before her 3-hour drive down to the Moorings Farm.

When she left Vancouver, it was 10 degrees celsius. When she arrives in Lusaka, it will e 36 degrees celsius.

 Did we mention that Marylee is 75, and Malambo Grassroots is her “retirement” project?

Have a safe trip, Marylee / Mum / Granny —-

Marylee Banyard walks with children from Malambo village.

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