Back Home from Africa


I'm baaaaaack!

After 3 hectic, but incredibly fulfilling and adventurous weeks in Africa, I returned home to realize we are only 65 days away from Christmas. Yikes! The good news is I am now stocked up for the holiday season with beautiful ornaments, wire reindeer, recycled plastic trees and much more. The postal strike finally ended in South Africa after a month, so the remaining items I discovered and purchased for the shop and website are now on their way. 

The trip was particularly meaningful for a variety of reasons. First, I was able to spend quality time with our mission partners, Phakamisa, in Pinetown, South Africa, which is always a source of strength and renewal for me. I was able to personally assist them by delivering new underwear for the children in the township and new eye glasses for the grandmothers (Gogo's). Thanks to everyone who donated! 

Lots of tots with their new underwear. They were so happy to have them
that they were jumping all around! I love those smiles.

Next, I discovered the women of Kazuri in Nairobi, Kenya. I spent time learning how they make their exquisite ceramic jewelry and I am happy to announce that this one of a kind jewelry is now in stock at LivAfrika. The ceramic beads that Kazuri is known for are each individually shaped by one of the 350+ Kazuri women, the beads are then polished and kiln fired, painted and then kiln fired again before being used in necklaces and other types of jewelry.

Two of the 350+ women of Kazuri, who create exquisite ceramic jewelry. These beautiful
hand painted necklaces are now available in LivAfrika.

And finally, I met the most amazing artists working in Kibera, which is the largest slum in Africa. From discarded cow bone and horn, they tediously handcraft a wide range of items from bowls to utensils to key rings! I am always in awe of their ability to recycle and their ingenuity in crafting quality items from things that we here in the US would simply throw away.

Wilkister and I in her workshop in Kibera. Her work sculpting cow horn is supporting
her entire family of 5 children after her husband died of AIDs.  

So, my three week trip was brimming with encouragement in the face of despair, hope in the face of destitution, and the spiritual satisfaction that comes from making personal connections and sharing the common bond of simply being human, and alive, and grateful, with others. During this holiday season, please take a few moments to reflect about how you too can have a positive impact on others around the world, like I mentioned in my last post, the needs are great but also small.

Stop in and say hello at my shop, LivAfrika, anytime Tue - Fri 10-6 and Saturdays 10-4 or shop from the comfort of your home at my newly updated site, via


Trek with Sita and LivAfrika

Along with my adventures in Africa, this year we were at the Junior League Holiday Market Nov. 7 - 9th at the Florida State Fair Grounds in Tampa - thank you everybody who dropped by the LivAfrika booth and supported your local businesses! Many people said we had the best new booth in the show!

This is the season for open markets too - I love getting out and meeting people at these markets, especially:

  • VillageFest in Carrollwood (Sat. Nov 22nd)
  • Hyde Park Village Market (Sun. Dec. 7th).  

Also coming up, LivAfrika will be at:

  • Tampa Yacht Club (Mon. Dec. 1st),
  • Avila Country Club (Tues. Dec. 9th)
  • Hyde Park United Methodist Church Alternative Christmas Market (Sun. Dec. 7th) in the Harnish Activities Center. 

I hope to see you soon and happy holidays!


November 20, 2014 by Sita Monti

The Needs Are Great, But Also Small...

Hello, from LivAfrika! Like myself, you may be asking "How can I help those in need?" You see suffering and you want to help, perhaps you wonder, "What can can I do here in the US to help these grandmothers who are raising AIDS orphans in South Africa?"

Sometimes the problems are so overwhelming, it feels like it's impossible for just one person to make any substantial difference because the needs are SO great!

My friend and pastor, Jim Harnish, frequently recites a poem by Bonaro Overstreet named “Stubborn Ounces”. Hearing these words always brings me back to a place where my spirit realizes that no matter how small the act, I can make a difference in this world and it can be powerful.

For those of you who haven’t read it:

Stubborn Ounces
You say the efforts that I make
Will do no good;
They will never prevail
To tip the hovering scale
Where justice hangs in the balance.
I don’t think
I ever thought they would
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
In favor of my right to choose which side
Shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.

Jim and I traveled to South Africa many times over the last several years; leading mission teams from Hyde Park UMC. Together we shared in the experience of walking in the shoes of another, in this case, many others. We are profoundly aware that when we are able to see everything first hand, the experience becomes much more powerful.

All of us want to help, but our resources may dictate what we can do. Financially speaking, money certainly can go a long way in South Africa, where a 1/4 of the population are unemployed and living on less than $1.25 a day.

If you have the means to donate financially, then please know that every penny helps! You can donate directly at

But not all of us have those extra resources. So what can we do?

  • There is a group called the “Wandering Teachers” who travel out to the informal settlements and prioritize the most critical needs. They have recently asked for underwear for their preschoolers. Please feel free to donate new, size small underwear.
  • The women who create the exquisite bead work need stronger eyeglasses so donations of used or new readers are a huge help.
  • And don’t forget the power of prayer. To these grandmothers, knowing that there is someone across the globe that is specifically praying for them on a daily basis means so much to them in a personal way that is difficult to explain. In many ways, they feel forgotten by the world and when we remember them in our daily devotions, it makes them feel loved and important. Your prayers and spiritual power gives them hope.

I will be leaving on Sunday, Sept 7th for my journey back to Africa. If you would like to donate any of these items, please drop them off at LivAfrika by the close of business Saturday, Sept 6th. And thank you for reading this blog and for all the support for the women and children of South Africa.

Watch the video below to hear my initial mission and vision for the LivAfrika Project (what is now LivAfrika was formerly, Sita's Emporium).



    October 16, 2014 by Sita Monti