Dear Project H supporters and friends:
Hello from South Africa... I have just returned from delivering the Hippo Rollers to Kgautswane! So much to report- and I could go on for days about the amazing week I have spent here- but I'll just give you the highlights and let the photos tell the story better than I possibly could.
I arrived in Johannesburg on Monday and was greeted by Grant Gibbs, the man behind Hippo Roller, and welcomed into his family's home just outside the city. After visiting the manufacturer and learning about the rotational molding and material processes behind the rollers' production, we loaded up the trailer and headed out to Kgautswane, a rural community of upwards of 130,000, 5 hours drive from Johannesburg in the overwhelmingly picturesque Mpumalanga area of northeastern South Africa.
On Wednesday afternoon, we handed over the rollers to households selected by Clara Masinga, Kgautswane's community leader- an amazing woman who really has been a voice and an inspiration to the whole community. On a side note, I gave Clara one of Project H's "designcanchangetheworld" t-shirts, which she wore from sunrise to sunset on Thursday.
I spent the following 2 days with Grant and Clara, interviewing community members about the Hippo Roller (thousands of which are currently in use throughout Kgautswane), particularly regarding the way it enables families and quite simply, makes life easier. As we drove down the dusty roads around dusk, children rolled their Hippo Rollers home, and waved and smiled every time we passed.
This short synopsis barely tells the story, and I can't thank Grant and Clara enough for their hospitality and help with the organization of this initiative. In the grand scheme of things, our small quantity of donated rollers probably made only a small mark, but I like to think Project H (and design in general) is all about providing tools to enable lives, and creating an impact beyond the immediate function. I would hope that the rollers aren't just about transporting water, but that they bring some inspiration to do more.
More to come soon- thank you to each and every one of you for the support you've provided in every currency imaginable- money, pep talks, free rent (thanks Mom and Dad), a family away from home (thanks Grant and family!), goods, services, food, and patience.
Next stop- Uganda! Also stay tuned for updates on the Project H: Design for Education summer studio at the California College of Arts.
Emily Pilloton Founder, Project H Design www.projecthdesign.com
Product design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness