Slowing Down + Nesting

This last week I was on 9 different planes, in too many vehicles to count and in a variety of beds. I traveled to Lodwar, Kenya in the region of Turkana to assess a project we will be starting with Imani Collective and then at the end of the week flew to Rwanda to visit Handspun Hope , which is located in the region of Musanze. During these travels, my spirit was very loud and clear. It said,

“Rest, slow down and take time to be present with those around you.”

It was a feeling that resonated over my whole being to just be still.

 

As soon as I landed back in Mombasa this past Saturday – I cancelled all my upcoming trips. Every single one of them. Yes, I am 31 weeks pregnant and had trips planned throughout the month of March. I was supposed to be in Uganda, Ethiopia and back to Rwanda. AND I cancelled them all.

THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR ME.

For those who do not know, I am in my last year of my doctorate and my plan was to collect all my data this month before the baby comes. I am assessing programs in sub Saharan Africa, so it involved quite some travel to get all the data I needed.

I decided to stop, and my husband reminded me that changed plans are okay plans. For the first time in this pregnancy, I want to soak it all in and be present for every last moment that I have. I want to be there for Jadon and Sophie. I want to play more, laugh a bit more and begin to nest.

My motherly instinct has stepped up its game and I believe my entire being is preparing to take a bit of a break and for the first time in a very long time, I truly believe I am ready to just be still.

Pledging to be still, be present and shower love + grace to everyone around me.

From the mama taking deep breaths and long naps,

My heartbeat for Sustainable Development

There are many days I close my eyes and reflect on when I first opened our workshop in 2013. We started part-time and worked out of a music classroom of a wonderful school in the village. Every day I would set up the work room and excitedly await the beautiful 16 women who would come through the door. I wish I could go back and encourage my 22-year-old self that the best is yet to come. I also wish I could give her a glimpse into the transformative change that has happened in over 100 lives on the coast of Kenya.

I think if I could go back and tell her all of it that she wouldn’t believe it. My heartbeat then was to create opportunity and empower through education, but what I did not realize is that I was speaking the same language of creating sustainable development in community. As I got older, educated myself, and my experiences shaped my thoughts, actions and pursuits – the reality was, I wanted to see generational change. I did not want this temporary fix and I wanted to educate our communities from reaching out for the quick handout. I wanted to see change in our artisans, their confidence and that to overflow into their families and communities.

Creating sustainability takes times, intentional effort and ultimately cultural shifts.

Over the last seven years, we have seen some amazing changes happen at Imani Collective and I am proud of our team, their hard work, diligence and growth.

So, as I sat in Lodwar (Turkana) yesterday, I was brought to tears because it reminded me of where we once were, and it gave me an immense amount of joy to know where these women could go. I just embraced the moments, took in the smiles even in the midst of hardship and saw a beautiful hope that resonated. I was also reminded of my why and that alone, was life giving over the last couple of days. It brought my spirit alive.

I am not the solution and never have been. The people and the community are capable of creating the solution. They are capable of fostering generational change, they just need a little birdy telling them “You can do this. You are worthy of this.” I am honored that I get to be that little birdy.

From the little ethical birdy,

Quick Facts:

Lodwar, Turkana is located in Northern Kenya (VERY FAR from my home city – Mombasa)

and in the past 48-hours, I have traveled with our team to visit and assess a new partnership. We are excited that very soon we will be starting with a group of 10 women in Turkana to bring one of a kind designs and beauty to your home. Your purchase is creating sustainability and generational life change. Thank you.

For more information about Imani Collective, please visit our website.

You can also read into our 2019 Impact Report.