Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

Creation Power

Shop wall in Brooklyn

Last year in Brooklyn, one of my colleagues showed me this awesome
story of Caine, a kid creating a cardboard arcade in Los Angeles.

Just this morning I stumbled across this similarly awesome
story of Eddy Waba, a kid building model houses in Kinshasa!

Lastly, one morning I walked into school and found this incredible representation of a Flemish Renaissance painter’s work. This was created by 5th Graders at my school!

Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s original painting of the Tower of Babel.

Tower of Babel

I’m not so much of a builder, but I do like creating wild hairdos.

Twists & Rolls

and I love fabric, paper and making NOTEBOOKS!


Inside CoverPages

 My sister in law creates gorgeous calligraphy.

See more of Shawn's work at

My brother created this awesome satellite two way messaging device.


Ridiculously cool!
There are so many amazing creations out there.

One of my favorite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells a brief story about the power of CREATING in her TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story.  Adichie says-

My father was a professor. My mother was an administrator. And so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help, who would often come from nearby rural villages. So the year I turned eight we got a new house boy. His name was Fide.

The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams and rice, and our old clothes, to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner my mother would say, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.

Then one Saturday we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket made of dyed raffia that his brother had made. I was startled. It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually… make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.  The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.

I think this speaks volumes about the often sudden and strong respect that emerges between humans, when we prove that we can create… why I feel so moved to see the creation stories of Caine and Eddy Waba. Why I’m alway so impressed to come home and see the creations of my family members.The power to create is something awesome and honestly, kind of magical.

It makes the recognition of our equal humanity…
and real.


8 comments on “Creation Power

  1. Lonnie Rich (dad)
    January 3, 2013

    Well said, Sara. We all need to avoid reductionism and to see each other’s multiple stories.

  2. Alex Rich
    January 3, 2013

    good post, it’s a shame most people stop making things and being creative right around middle school

  3. shawn
    January 3, 2013

    Cool, Sar, and thanks. Funny thing is that envelope you posted was created by my mom, not me, but it is a very small tribute to her talent and I can tell you I definitely got the creative gene from her! And my mom can attribute her creativity to her parents, too – they often said no to her requests for new, expensive toys – but they encouraged her to make them herself and so she did! Women can reverse engineer anything. And, ahem, I think we can all agree that you and Alex definitely got your creativity from Sally – she creates all kinds of gorgeous things. Maybe Jack will be the next Picasso… no?!

  4. Alex Rich
    January 3, 2013

    just realized you missed a shout-out to stitched by sally!

  5. Mom
    January 3, 2013


  6. Sara Rich
    January 4, 2013

    Don’t worry, the shout out to Sally is so large it requires its own post. haha Coming Soon!

  7. Mom
    January 18, 2013

    My YEP was a response to Sara’s posting about creativity, not to Alex’s comment! I posted before I saw his comment, thanks to you both, haha.

  8. thetomryan
    February 27, 2013

    Yayyyy for creating!!!!!!

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This entry was posted on January 3, 2013 by in humanities, teaching.
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