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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Granddad and the Story of My Elephant Collection

Years and years ago, my maternal grandparents were Christian Missionary Alliance missionaries in Sierra Leone, Africa. A few years after my mother was born, Grandmom was pregnant and got very sick; the family returned to America, and comfortably settled. Granddad was a pastor and a history teacher, and eventually returned to the mission field for short periods of time, preaching and even planting churches. In addition to the dolls he bought for Jessie (twin sis.) and I, he apparently bought elephants on every trip because my grandmom, mom, and uncle each have a large collection of elephants -- a variety of shapes and designs, and from a variety of lands. Granddad passed away 15 years ago this month, and I miss him every single day; but his passion for mission (and elephants!) remains alive in me. I wish nothing more than to have my granddad back, even for just 1 day. Whew.. anyways!

Here are the stories of a few elephants that I have collected over the past few years as I have traveled and ministered (just like Granddad!)

This first elephant actually belonged to Granddad, and was the first added to my collection as a Christmas gift from Grandmom. It could be from Haiti or India or somewhere in Africa; I don't know.

This doesn't have a great story, but is probably the most unique in my collection. It's a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" set and I bought it from a cute old oriental man at a market in Florida.

Sadly, this elephant took a hard fall two years ago, and both tusks have been broken off. Actually, one leg had also broken off, but I was able to superglue it back into place. Ironically enough, I bought this marble elephant at the airport in Cuenca, Ecuador. (No, I don't expect you to "get" the irony.) He is still one of my favorites though...

This elephant is from Rajana in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It looks like it was handcrafted from recycled metal parts (nuts, washers, & piping).
The Rajana Association is a nonprofit organization for income generation and skills training, producing fair trade products using traditional Cambodian skills with contemporary designs. The name “Rajana” means “design” in Khmer. Rajana Association focuses on the rural and urban poor, and small producers of handicrafts. Rajana trains young Cambodians in traditional craft–making skills, as well as in accounting, marketing, computer courses and English. Through development of traditional craft–making skills, Rajana helps maintain and rebuild Cambodia’s rich cultural traditions, damaged in the country’s wars.

This is a bronze elephant also from Cambodia. The detail on it's blanket, cap and anklets is amazing.

I have quite a few of these. I dissembled 2 mobiles (similar to THIS) and gave a few of the elephants as small gifts. Earlier this week I decorated our Christmas tree with the rest of these silk elephants (see HERE).

This elephant is also very unique. It is meant to sit at the edge of a ledge, but I have it sitting on a small rock so it appears self-supportive. Jessie (twin sis.) bought him for me this past summer in the Philippines.

This elephant bag is also from Rajana. I love it and I get alot of compliments on it. "Thanks! It's from Cambodia." Until winter (when I start wearing my big poofy coat), I carry this over my shoulder with my books. I love love love it!

Now I would really love to add one of these to my collection::
A typical souvenir from Thailand, posted by Kari. Aren't they beautiful?!


Hazel said...

Oh so you got your granddad's passion for mission. And the elephants :) They're an interesting collection. I must have seen those of Kari's somewhere here.

Kari said...

Your elephant collection is so cool. I'm only just starting mine. I'm glad you like my colorful pair. I actually went back and checked at the gift shop to see if they had anymore. I will be on the lookout for you. I would like to bless you with them.
I am so thankful for missionaries. My native country (Papua New Guinea) has been blessed with so many that have gone there to translate languages (we have over 800 by the way) and publish bibles. It's so wonderful that you have answered your call and that your granddad is your role model and inspiration.

Tea said...

What a neat collection!

Widge said...

they are great! My sister has collected elephants all her life. i have an obsession with ducks at the moment and I'm getting a rather large supply :)
Found you from tea's blog.
Your blog is gorgeous

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