Expedition Subsahara is officially THREE! If you’re like me, you love proverbs, and there are several that speak to our journey not just in the past year, but over the past three years.
“Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”
For us, this couldn’t be more true! Three years have both flown and dragged by at times. We have had the highest of highs and experienced the lowest of lows, personally and professionally. And the truth is that as we grow, things get more difficult each day. I've always been an artist but I’ve had to learn to be everything from a product designer to a marketing expert, logistics coordinator, director, manager… you get the drift. I started this company with a partner and an idea that business can make the world a better place.
Our plan was to connect cultures through our traditional craftsmanship and use the funds to build a girls’ school in Senegal, Africa. We honestly thought that we would have a fully functioning school by now. Not only was that ludicrous; it was unrealistic. I’ve always been an optimist, but the reality is that every single achievement has come as a result of tremendously hard work.
While doing this work, the business lost its founding partner, I had some serious, personal medical challenges, and we’ve weathered issues in every facet of our business. It feels like everything that could go wrong, has — Murphy’s law — yet... still we rise. We are stronger than ever. It is because of that strength that we can now proudly say we have hit our first BIG milestone on the school front... We have officially earned the funds that will purchase the land for the school. In the coming year, we will be looking for the perfect site for the school. Read that again and get excited because WE did it!
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Our team has grown by two this year, and now there are six of us involved in every aspect of Expedition Subsahara. That is not counting family and friends who have supported this business since its infancy.
Each day, we can see the fruits of our labor paying off and sleep at night knowing that while we haven’t done everything we set out to do, we have done a lot! We have created a fierce black owned business with an authentic product line, and an amazing group of mostly women (and some terrific men, too), who are evangelists of Expedition Subsahara. Not only that, but we have a tribe of cheerleaders, some of whom we’ve never met, who encourage us daily. We feel more optimistic and driven than ever.
"If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation."
Girls in “third world countries” and women everywhere deserve an equal playing field. I have never been more sure that building a girls’ STEAM school will help our Senegalese community as a whole rise above. According to the United Nations Human development indicators, there is an extremely positive correlation between education for women the development of a community. Our plan is to build a girls’ boarding school with a STEAM curriculum that also serves as a community resource for literacy. It needs to be a boarding school because one of the major reasons girls drop out of school in Senegal is because they have to take care of chores and home and work to help support the family. When they are at boarding school, they can concentrate on getting an education and have the appropriate sleeping and eating conditions to set them up for success in their academics. Our first big milestone is now met and we will be searching for the perfect location for the school.
Our next big milestone will be to raise enough funds (through online sales) to build a state-of-the-art STEAM school from the ground up. This will our biggest and most ambitious plan yet but if I've learned anything over the last few years is it that with hard work and a strong tribe, anything and everything is possible.
Speaking of celebrating, if you’re local, drop-in our pop up shop (outdoors):
Date: THIS Sunday, Sept. 27
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
St. Charles, MO 63301
Hope to see you there and THANK YOU so much for being a part of our tribe!