Before I left Kenya to return to the United States, there were tough choices to make. In 2020, when Jonny and I lost our home on the shore of Lake Baringo, we had been through a similar process. Flood waters rose so high that the bathroom plumbing wouldn't flush, and the kitchen sink drain wouldn't work either. My stepdaughter and I worked hard and fast to pack everything in the house and send it to Nairobi, either into the house where we would soon live or into more permanent storage. So, I was well prepared for my next life phase, saying goodbye to Kenya.
A Marie Kondo fan, I had been working on downsizing for a while. Knowing that "You can't take it with you" made the process easier than it might have been. I gave away all my piano sheet music, painstakingly saved for over thirty years with no piano in sight, to a talented local musician, Michael James. Other pieces of the material culture of my life began to drift away as well. Soon, only my books and quilts were left.
The books would stay. Finally, they went to the Kenya Quilt Guild, suffering badly after a flood damaged many of their library books stored by a third party.
Initially, I thought of paying for excess baggage and bringing my quilts to the US, renting a public storage room, and plunking them there for safekeeping until I could find a way to sell them. However, research on storage facilities showed such an option was not advisable.
Near desperation, I called my friend, Pat Jentz, the Kenya Museum Society Chairperson. She came to my home and looked at my quilts; then she left--thrilled--with a bundle of the worst ones!
Ultimately, I set aside a precious few pieces I wanted to keep and donated the rest of my quilts to the Kenya Museum Society. I hoped the Society would sell the quilts fairly and use the funds for their projects. My logic was that during all the years of making the quilts, Jonny had supported me well, so that was my compensation for the work done. It seemed only right that any money raised by selling the quilts should go to the Nairobi National Museum, given that Jonny's parents and even himself were so much involved in establishing the Museum. Jonathan first curated the Nairobi Snake Park, and his parents, Louis and Mary, worked for the then Coryndon Museum.
Now, I am delighted to tell you that my quilts are selling! I received a report from Karen Peachey, who oversees this effort, that seven quilts have sold and earned KES 300,000/-. The inventory of quilts was for about 70 pieces, so at this rate, they can earn the Museum Society as much as KES 3,000,000/-. In US dollars, that's over $21,000. That doesn't seem like much for over 20 years of work, but it will be a lot of money for the Museum Society to put to good work.
I can relax, knowing that the Universe is in charge, that my quilts will go to good homes with people who liked them well enough to pay for them, and that the Kenya Museum Society is the winner!
Mostly, I post on Facebook to tell you about my travels and life experiences, point out people and things that I want to tell you about, and keep you updated on what's happening in my life as an art quilter.