By Chrispin Inambao
Mashi Craft Centre a sales outlet for a variety of neatly-stacked tribal artifacts namely woven trays, baskets, walking sticks and exquisitely carved animals such as buffalo, elephant, hippo and crocodile, serves as a primary cash-cow for villagers.
Mashi Craft Centre is located near the junction of the Kongola/Katima Mulilo main tarred road and the Kongola/Sangwali gravel road and this neat sales outlet sticks-out.
Tourists that flock to Mudumu National Park and the yet to be promulgated Bwabwata National Park and those that view game by boat along the Kongola River have to pass this vital craft sales outlet through which villagers from Masida, Lubuta, Sachona, Sangwali, Lizauli, Sikaunga sell crafts and use their earnings to augment existing subsistence income.
Its staff complement consists of two sales women: Mavis Kulibabeka and Priscilla Chata who assist its manager Bester Mutanincwa with the day-to-day operations. The sales crew reports to a 10-member committee comprising of nominees from various villages.
In a recent interview Mutanincwa said the 10-member committee comprises of villagers from Masida (two), Lubuta (one), Sachona (one), Sangwali (two), Lizauli (one), Sikaunga (two) and Choi (one), while resource monitors play an important function.
He said the community resource monitors hand picked from nine conservancies in this game-rich part of Caprivi supply this immaculate outlet with crafts and they double as cash collectors who distribute these monthly earnings among participating villagers.
Community resource monitors also give hints to villagers on how harvest the best grass and the palm leaves used in the fashioning of exquisitely decorated cream baskets.
Last year the various basket makers collectively collected cash of N$177??????’??