‘When I was 15, a lady came to our school and spoke about exchange programs so I went and spent a year in Costa Rica. I did my year 10 in Costa Rica and learnt to speak Spanish and lived with a local family there. We lived in the mountains surrounded by coffee fields. Before I went, I didn’t speak Spanish or anything so I didn’t really know what was going on. It was a poor school – 3,000 students with just a couple of teachers and none of them would turn up. No one really cared.
‘There was one teacher; she was a biology teacher, and she really cared that I understood what was going on and that I actually learnt. She told me to go and buy some rope and some paint and she taught me to make a really thick rope – like macramé. She was teaching us about DNA so it looked like a DNA thing. So I made a really big one – she taught me how to make it – and she told me to paint this knot blue and this knot green and I did everything she said and at the end she was able to explain all the parts of the DNA. To this day, I still only know them in Spanish.
‘Then she told me to go buy some smaller string so I could make bracelets for my friends and family. This is the jewellery I make and sell now.’
‘I designed these by myself. I learned how to do this in Tanzania where I’m from. My friend is an artist who likes painting and carving. He showed me how to do it and after some time, I’ve made my own designs. Some people like it. When they buy my jewellery, it inspires me to make more designs. If I make it, I feel happy.’