Tag Archives: destination: south africa

April 16, 2013

Make A Splash With Tea’s Swim Collection

It’s almost time to break out the swim suits and pack up the beach toys – pool days and beach trips are right around the corner! This year, Tea has you covered on the swimwear. Our first ever swim collection is just what you’d expect from us, colorful and comfortable; it’s the Tea way!

To celebrate the warmer temperatures and longer days, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites for this year’s beach bag.

1. Zoe b’s Fantastic Beach Toys – They’re bright & colorful and biodegradable. Made from corn, this five piece set won’t hurt the environment on the off chance it becomes a set of 3.

2. Green Toys Ecosaucer – This frisbee is made from 100% recycled milk bottles!

3. Green Toys Sand Play Set – Made in the USA. Actually, made just up the road from the Tea offices in Mill Valley, California.

Our new swim line has us dreaming of summer days and we were curious to see what a few of our blogger friends have planned for the months ahead. Click through each blog below to see what they’re up to!

A big Thank You to PJ, Laura, and Helen for being a part of this!


April 11, 2013

Not So-Fari: Experiencing African Wildlife Without Leaving The United States

The crocodile tee is your son’s favorite shirt and he’s mastered the lion’s roar, it’s time you bring the wildlife of South Africa alive with a trip to the zoo.

A tour of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa may not be in the cards for your summer vacation, but it’s important to remember that we’re able to explore exotic wildlife right here in the United States!

Have you heard of Safari West? Located only 75 miles north of San Francisco, Safari West is home to over 400 exotic mammals and birds. You can choose to stay overnight in one of their authentic African safari tents or a cottage, complete with a private bathroom and kitchenette. This 400-acre wildlife preserve has plenty to offer – check out their 2013 Photo Expedition two-day workshop if you’re interested in working on your photography skills.

We hear the San Diego Zoo has one of the country’s best lion exhibits. Want to spend more time amongst the animals? The ‘Roar & Snore Safari‘ allows you to pack up and stay overnight on the campgrounds. If you live in the area you should look into their summer camp where your children would experience daily interaction with rhinos and giraffes.

Dallas, Texas is where you will find one of the top African Elephant exhibits. The Dallas Zoo‘s Giants of Savanna exhibit offers access to elephants, giraffes, impalas, zebras, lions and other native African animals. Don’t miss out on the giraffe feeding while you’re there! For $5, you’re little one can hand feed a giraffe fresh greens and rye crackers.

The Kansas City Zoo was ranked number one in the nation by authors Allen W. Nyhuis and Jon Wassner for their “African Animals and Exhibits.” Their 95-acre African exhibit represents five nations with an extensive collection of animals. Elephant demonstrations are held daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Soon the Cincinnati Zoo‘s African exhibit will be the largest animal exhibit in zoo history! Currently they’re working to expand the yard for the Massai giraffe and creating a new and improved home for the cheetahs “where guests will be able to witness cheetahs doing what they do best – running!”

What zoo’s are your favorite for African animals? We want to hear!

Visit your local Tea retailer to find out if they have any zoo favorites in your community.

Let the adventures begin!

 

*Photo Credits: Giraffe from the Kanas City Zoo, Elephant from PLOS blog, Lions from the San Diego Zoo*

April 9, 2013

Story Time

 

“Tonight you get to pick three books!” Sound familiar?

Whether it’s a nightly routine, an afternoon activity or a monthly trip to the book store, reading with children is one of the greatest bonding experiences we have with our little ones. Together we’re able to travel to far away places to meet heros and Kings, giggle with talking animals, and escape reality. As fun and whimsical as children’s books may be, they truly help our little citizens gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. We believe it’s important that we introduce multicultural books into our nightly routines to open their eyes to the great big world they’re part of.

Today we’re sharing three of our favorite South African children’s books with you in hopes that they’ll be incorporated into your routine in one way or another!

 

Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, Various Authors and Illustrators

32 of Nelson Mandela’s favorite African folktales bound into one book. These stories have been passed down from generation to generation in Africa, now it’s time you share them in your home in hopes that the stories will live on through new generations worldwide. Complete with a map, you can see where each story originates. Travel through Africa by way of story with your little one with this beautiful collection of tales!


The Mother of Monsters, Retold by Fran Parnell and illustrated by Sophie Fatus

The Chief’s daughter Ntombi, isn’t afraid of the frightening Ilunge River like everyone else. When she goes there for a swim she finds a very unhappy monster, Mother of Monsters, causing more trouble than she could ever imagine!

 

The Gift of the Sun, Diane Stewart and Jude Daly

Thulani loves to bask in the sun, but life as a farmer leaves little time for this. One night he has an idea to exchange his troublesome goat for a sheep, the first trade of many in hopes of making his life easier. With every trade, his wife becomes more and more irritated until one day, Thulani receives a gift from the sun that will ultimately change his life forever.

 

 

 

April 4, 2013

How Does Tea Inspire You?

A year ago we traveled to South Africa and were inspired to create the pieces you see in our current collection. We reached out to three of our favorite crafting bloggers to see how our collection inspires them. You wouldn’t believe the amazing projects they’ve come up with! But, before we share their projects with you, we’d like to share a little project of our own.

 

Our Nova Trapeze Mini Dress was the main inspiration behind our project.

The pattern is bold & colorful, reminding us of exotic fruits. This is a no fuss dress, so we thought it was important that our project was too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Big Thank You to Stacy, Helen, and Rachel for being a part of this!

February 6, 2013

The Global Fund for Children in South Africa (Part 2)

To learn more about the experiences of children and families in South Africa, we spoke with Emmanuel Otoo, program officer for Africa at The Global Fund for Children (GFC). If you’d like to donate to The Global Fund for Children to support their work in South Africa and beyond, visit their website or add a donation at check-out when making an online purchase from Tea Collection!

If you missed part one of the interview with Emmanuel, you can see it here.

Photo taken at the Sophiatown Community Psychological Services in South Africa.

 

 

What inspires you about the South Africa region?

Despite their painful history, South Africans exhibit strong unity and determination to succeed, and that inspires me a lot. I am also inspired by the South African constitution, and the vision and passion that went into its making. The vision and bravery of Nelson Mandela, his selflessness, and his willingness and ability to sacrifice his freedom for humanity have always been a source of inspiration as well.

Photo taken at the Sophiatown Community Psychological Services in South Africa.

Describe a day in the life of a typical GFC-sponsored child in South Africa.

Chipo is the 14-year-old son of Angela, who fled with him and his two siblings to South Africa following a gruesome attack on their home by rebels in a war-torn country.

Chipo sleeps in a kitchen that his family shares with another family in an overcrowded apartment in a huge slum building. In the morning, Chipo gets up and eats a bowl of porridge. He helps his mother with some household chores and assists in taking care of his younger siblings before leaving for school. After school, Chipo drops off his schoolbag at home and goes to the market in search of leftover food or work to bring some money home to supplement his mother’s income.

When he returns home, Chipo goes with his mother and two siblings to Sophiatown Community Psychological Services, a grassroots organization supported by The Global Fund for Children. There, his family participates in art therapy and counseling, receives food, and plays games. Chipo is one of hundreds of refugee children who are being supported by Sophiatown to help them recover from their traumatic experiences.

Passionate about animals, Chipo loves to hold and care for them, and he hunts for abandoned kittens on the street. His dream is to be a teacher when he grows up—it is our hope that GFC and Sophiatown will help give him that chance.

Photo taken at the Sophiatown Community Psychological Services in South Africa.

What does Ubuntu mean to you?

Ubuntu is an Nguni word that has its origins in the Bantu languages of Southern Africa. While it has no direct translation in English, it is used to describe a particular African worldview that focuses on people’s allegiances to and relations with each other. Ubuntu describes a situation in which people can only find fulfillment through interacting with and supporting other people. It represents a spirit of kinship across both race and creed that unites people for a common purpose.

Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, defined Ubuntu as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African activist, said, “A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”

That said, Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. It means you need to think and act beyond your immediate personal needs—you will benefit from doing so, in addition to benefitting others. The question, therefore, is: Are you going to enrich yourself in order to promote the well-being of your community? If the answer is yes—that is Ubuntu.

 

 

February 4, 2013

The Global Fund for Children in South Africa (part 1)

To learn more about the experiences of children and families in South Africa, we spoke with Emmanuel Otoo, program officer for Africa at The Global Fund for Children (GFC). If you’d like to donate to The Global Fund for Children to support their work in South Africa and beyond, visit their website or add a donation at check-out when making an online purchase from Tea Collection!

A child at the Teboho Trust, a GFC grantee partner in Soweto, South Africa. Teboho Trust makes sure orphans and other vulnerable children get the support they need to succeed in school–sometimes that means going to school on the weekend to stay ahead! But the hard work pays off: last year, 100 percent of the students were promoted to the next grade level. Congratulations, kids!

What is the major need in the South Africa region at the moment?

According to our partners in the field, the major need is to systematically and practically promote social inclusion and improvement in the education system, especially at the early-childhood and elementary stages.

There is also a major skills shortage in South Africa—a significant number of youth have not received relevant education or acquired the appropriate skills to be competitive in South Africa’s job market. To that end, development of small businesses, social enterprises, and community entrepreneurship is another area that needs reengineering and support.

What’s something special about South Africa that most Americans do not know?

Perhaps what many people are not aware of is that migration is an integral part of South African history and its present reality, and that cities like Johannesburg owe their existence to migrant laborers. Also, in spite of the country’s extreme levels of poverty compared to the United States, South Africans come together and make efforts to support one another.

More of the students from the Saturday Academy run by Teboho Trust.

What are some games that the kids like to play in South Africa?

Most boys in Africa are passionate about soccer, which they often play in school or on practically any field they can find. The same is true in South Africa, where boys make their own soccer balls out of rolled, stuffed, and string-tied plastic bags. Kids also make their own toys, such as cars made out of scrap metal and wire, which they often play with on the sidewalk.

Young girls in South Africa play skipping, clapping, and jumping games. One favorite game for girls is jumping through and over elastic bands made from old pantyhose. At school, girls often play netball because equipment for this game is usually available on the playground.

How is playing different in South Africa from playing in America?

The average American kid plays games on computers, tablets, iPods, and video game consoles like Wii and Xbox. There is also a strong culture of play at amusement parks such as Walt Disney World, Six Flags, and Busch Gardens during warm months and in warmer states like Florida and California.

Kids in South Africa, especially those who are part of the populations GFC serves, do not have easy access to technology, are unfamiliar with “gaming” as a form of recreation, and also do not have access to playground equipment or amusement parks. They improvise by creating innovative toys made out of scrap materials and leftover fabric. They often do not have designated play areas and resort to playing on sidewalks and in empty fields.

But kids in the United States and in South Africa are perhaps more similar than they are different—they all love to play, have fun, and make mischief.

Stay tuned for the rest of our interview with Emmanuel later this week—he’ll tell us about Chipo, a South African boy served by one of GFC’s grantees. Emmanuel also shares his own understanding of Ubuntu.

 

January 29, 2013

Black Mambas and the Elephant Whisperer

Discover the inspiration behind one of our favorite boys tops, the Black Mamba Tee.

Black Mamba Tee

Hiss-Hiss make this Black Mamba tee ‘hiss’ own.

African Elephant at Thula Thula.

Elephants at Thula Thula.

On a Thula Thula Safari jeep.

Me on my safari jeep with the Thula Thula staff.

At the end of our South Africa adventures I went to visit Thula Thula – the game reserve owned by Lawrence Anthony, author of the Elephant Whisperer – a book I decided to reread on our trip. The first night I was there – I was literally the only guest. I went to dinner and on the nightly safari drive with the staff and as it turns out, a few of the people from the book I was reading. It was a little scary sleeping in your own little house by yourself with no one else around. I heard a few creatures around my room throughout the night – but just kept telling myself they were only geckos so it was no big deal.

Rhinoceros roaming at Thula Thula.

Rhinos at Thula Thula.

Giraffe at Thula Thula.

Hello, way up there!

The next day in between a morning bush walk and lunch, I went back to my room/cottage to read. I’ve never been especially squeamish around snakes – I watched a lot of crocodile hunter and “knew” how to deal with the poisonous ones. Then I get to the section in the book where one of the staff at Thula Thula gets bit by a black mamba, because he tried to grab it – crocodile hunter style. So then they talk about how you have 30 minutes to get anti venom but they can’t keep it on site because it goes bad too quickly. They have to rush this staff member to the nearest hospital – 45 minutes away. The math is not adding up to me and things aren’t sounding good for this poor guy. It was now time for lunch so I put my book away and glance up at the top of my mosquito net – and what do I see? A smiling black snake looking down at me. Well crap, now I am scared of snakes, or at least this snake. So while still in the safety of my mosquito net I try to get as close as possible to the door of my room. But every move I make the snake follows. I finally get the courage to brave it and leap for the door.

I went and found a ranger. He and the manager came back to my room to identify what kind of snake it was. Obviously, he was no longer in the same spot when they got there. But I wouldn’t let them leave till we found him because logically, I assumed the snake was going to hide in my luggage and wait to make surprise attack back in San Francisco. So we are all looking around my room and finally we spot the snake. But we are all pointing in different directions, because apparently it was a entire family of snakes that was lodging with me.

Well it turned out they were just a friendly black house snakes, so I was safe. But the experience inspired me to design our Black Mamba Tee. Black mambas actually do look quite friendly, so I made him a little scarier so his look better matched his reputation as the “deadliest snake in Africa.”  Like what you see here?  Check out all our new boys outfits.

House snake compared to a Black Mamba.

A common house snake on your left and a deadly Black Mamba on the right.

Who do you think looks more friendly? The house snake is on the left and the Black Mamba is on the right.

image credits: house snake, black mamba

January 23, 2013

Behind the Design: Boys’ Graphic Tees

Leopard, elephant, Kruger National ParkOur design team loved visiting Kruger National Park so much that they just couldn’t help but design a collection of boys tees inspired by Kruger.  Kruger is Africa’s largest game reserve and it spans over 7,500 square miles.  That’s six times the size of Rhode Island!  Kruger was created in 1926 to protect the diminishing number of safari animals.  If you ask anyone in Africa what the ‘Big 5′ is, they will tell you that the ‘Big 5′ are the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot-  the lion, leopard, African elephant, Cape Buffalo, and the rhinoceros.

Did you know:
-despite the African Elephants large size, they can hide in the tall grass
-the leopard is a nocturnal animal, which means it does the majority of its hunting from sunset to sunrise

Check out our boys new arrivals to find the  hottest spring looks!