I watched this strangely interesting TV show last night called Flip Flotsam. It was on LinkTV, which is turning into one of my favorites because it has shows like this that you definately won’t see anywhere else.
It talked about the flip flop circle of life. Yes, the cheap little shoes. Apparently they are very popular in eastern Africa. There is a factory in Mombasa, Kenya. They make lots of colors to attract buyers. After they wear out a lot of them get washed out to sea. This is where the environmentalist in me is cringing. But, because they float, animals in the ocean like crabs catch rides on them instead of wearing themselves out swimming. Sort of like mini-surfboards. Because of a convergence of ocean currents a lot of ocean debris is deposited on one island off of Kenya. This includes a lot of flip flops. I do mean ‘a lot’. The video showed a whole beach littered with them. The local birds have started to use them to perch on instead of the hard rocks. This area is a marine sanctuary but there is a village of 500 people there. They started collecting the flip flops to make toys. This village has no electric and very little outside influences so to get toys for their kids they use whatever washes up on the beach. They make these elaborate sculptures – sea animals, birds, boats. They use the different colors of flip flops to make very detailed work. Then they get in a boat and take them back to Mombasa to sell in the craft market. Flip flop circle of life.