10 Years Later…
Where does the time go? Despite spending the past few months getting ready for our 10th anniversary celebration; I still can’t seem to believe that I’ve been doing this for 10 years already! It sounds completely cliché I’m sure; but it is still true: It feels like yesterday that I got my first sample of baskets in the mail from Africa! 10 years… it’s crazy!
So, where has the time gone? Well, over the years, we’ve managed to rebuild houses, invest in tree planting, pay for the training of new cooperative members, send eyeglasses, school supplies and textbooks to countries across the continent. We’ve made donations to the elderly, the sick and to many schools. We have added new product categories and made so very many new friends.
I’ve been invited to speak and teach in local schools, international festivals and to groups like the Rotary Club. I’ve hugged cooperative members and dear friends like Paul from Uganda, Elizabeth from South Africa and been blessed with the cheerful attitude of now world-renowned artist Janet Akii-Bua of Uganda.
Over the years, I have answered questions such as “What is a dictator?” and yes, even offered help to the occasional German, Canadian or American high school or college student when they were stumped on their homework. I’ve listened to people’s excitement about their recent trip to Africa and heard tales of a passing conversation about an issue related to African women.
I’ve sold our products online, in a shop, at a booth on a military base, and yes once even from the trunk of my car (desperate times call for desperate measures… and this lady was desperate for a gift!).
We’ve increased our product lines and the number of countries we trade with. We’ve sold hundreds of baskets, pounds of chocolate, dozens and dozens of carvings and you know what? We are just getting started!
I’ve learned many lessons, made many great connections and even more dear friends. Yes, 10 years seems like such a long time… but I’m in this for the long haul. One woman at a time, one product at a time… we are going to relieve poverty and increase opportunity for African families.
Join me and our cooperatives for another 10 years of smiles, great African art, coffees, teas and chocolates. I promise you that you haven’t seen anything yet! We’re just getting warmed up!
Remember we can help African women live better lives: one sale at a time!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much for your support over the last 10 years,
** This post was originally written for MamaAfrika.com ‘s Grand Re-Opening. Be sure to stop by and see what else is new on the site!