We retweeted this story from Deutsche Welle today. We grew up watching DW because our parents became newsholics after living through the 1982 coup d'état in The Old Country. As a result, I like to consume information while working virtually on this platform. This story stood out as one worth sharing in a blog post.
We tweet pieces available for purchase. We tweet about small biz. We tweet global news stories and connection points (quite a few of those have to do with sports, science and the voices of those that are marginalized). Let's connect on Twitter and continue listening and growing together: Twitter.com/LHoCreations
We bumped into a story we wanted to share.
Traveling with a few of you (to East Africa) allowed us to reconnect with a lot of our East African upbringing.
Being on the ground reminded us just how much East Africans recycle, reduce, reuse, rot/ compost and upcycle. We are actively returning to our East African roots/ values that remind us: waste not, want not. The saying was a constant reminder in school and at home. If you live to waste, you will eventually get to a point where you do not have. Be conscious of your usage as you are only a visitor passing through these earthly streets. Just as you are passing through, leave a world for those that will visit after you. East Africans are very much philosophical thinkers and we have been for centuries. That's why some of our traditional garb is littered with proverbs and sayings.
Now, as we reconnect with our roots and find new avenues to reduce our waste footprint, we wanted to share an exciting story from IKEA that we thought quite a few of you might appreciate or would like to pass on because we all know that one person that is IKEA obsessed. Remember, we are forever learning, growing and connecting and this felt like a push in the right direction from a big business brand. It felt like the kind of push that might normalize discussing sustainable living ideas.
Here's what you need to know:
Our shopping bags and shipping materials are now 100% upcycled. You might receive a jacket you purchased from us in Kate Spade packaging. We're upcycling and a lot of our customers and friends are ready to assist with this decision.
On average, we ship out thirty five packages a month (except over the holiday season and all the way to valentines day when our online orders triple) and if we are doing our normal circuit of pop ups, we have a sale every 1 1/2 -2 minutes. Instead of creating demand for new trees to be cut down so we have enough packaging and bagging material, we've just started collecting from our customers and friends. We're choosing to use what's already available in the community so that we can reduce our waste and especially plastic footprint. This is just one of the ways we are choosing to do our part as an organization. For more, visit this link: "About Us" .
And we know, it might seem strange that a small business would write about a big business, but we are all winning in this instance. When we all do what we can, we all win. If we were more focused on caring for each other and this beautiful world we share, we'd find there can be enough resources to meet all of mankind's basic needs comfortably.
Below, are a few pieces from us that include salvaged and upcycled beads/ creations. Others are included because they are eco-friendly. Click on each image to purchase it on Shoptiques and if you need to ask us questions etc message us: +17656060777. And yes, you can meet us to pick up pieces you are interested in. If you don't spot anything for you, please share this blog with a friend that might (sharing is caring).
So in the future, should you see we've described a bead or finished design as salvaged know that either our suppliers or our team was working to reduce our waste footprint as an organization (contact us to find out how. Yes... we'll go into detail and no, you're not bothering us).
Lastly, we included a video from Ghana highlighting one social entrepreneur that is making bicycles from bamboo and in the process, creating dignified sources of income for others. How are you going to reduce your waste footprint in the remaining months of 2020? Here's the link to the rest of the IKEA story: please feel free to read the rest of the article (it's a 2-5 minute read depending on your reading speed).
Wishing you HEALTH, safety and enough
The LHo Team (The Empowerment Initiative).
Do you know how the food you consume makes it to the grocery stores you shop from?
Do you know what farms supply your local grocery stores?
Is it possible to find out? If it's difficult to find out, should this be the case? How can you change this?
There are a lot of subjects that we, as minorities, discuss in private. As part of our Forever Learning Series, we want to bring those subjects to our customer base. We will continue to present the information under a social ethics lens (this also means I am a heavy friend to have and a heavy dinner guest. I am also a heavy person to consume adult beverages with because I like to reflect and other people engage in social gatherings to decompress.
I just wanted to give a heads up because a lot of customers have actually reached out to dialogue with me... of which I appreciate. I digress).
What do you know about immigration to the United States?
How many immigrants do you know well personally?
How much of their story do you know and understand?
How many other minority group families/ individuals do you know well?
Do you know who stocks your grocery store shelves at night?
Do you know how much any of these groups earn?
Do you know how many hours a week they work?
Do you know how they ended up in these fields?
How does that compare with your story?
Do you believe in mission work? How do you feel about those who you might assist on missions coming here to better themselves?
Have you been on a mission trip? What social justice/ equality issues have you tackled within America?
Earlier this year, a former and fellow business owner and I had a lengthy discussion about our roles in the community as minorities that might be looked up to as leaders as well. We both concluded that one of our greatest sins had been silence. It made a lot of others believe, and yes... this was vocalized to both of us on various occasions, that a lot of the social justice cries we see across social media and in the news were made up, came from whiners and were given by those who just didn't want to pull themselves up via their bootstraps but instead might have preferred a handout. We just wanted our businesses to thrive. So we lay low and remained silent even though today, there are businesses I know I can't walk into in Noblesville, Indiana.
Currently, the other business owner stepped down and I turned our business into a small social enterprise because we want to do good as we turn profits. We now fall under the NGO and nonprofit banner (nonprofits do make profits, the money is simply directed to various causes and efforts across various communities selected for impact).
We want to empower. We want to inform and we believe, as an organization, we have a moral responsibility to all our customers and visitors to create a more enriching experience that allows for growth through various channels.
Please join us in reflecting and do feel free to share what you might discover as you reflect.
There shouldn't be shame associated with growing and/ or becoming a better human being. There shouldn't be shaming when it comes to inquiring for knowledge purposes (Kiswahili proverb/ African philosophical view). Admitting our faults becomes that much harder when there is shame surrounding the process. Be humble enough to notice your ills. Be humble enough to remember you will continue to make mistakes too. Forgive yourself (and others) and then become better. To fail to do this is to fail to worship That Which Allowed Us being. E. A. Wasonga
PS: We added a video from Insider News (eight minute video with subtitles) and a few sweet deals. Most pieces are $10. Happy shopping and sharing (click on image to shop design).
Hey Beautiful People,
How is your week going?
I will openly confess I stood and cried about USPS. USPS not functioning (the way it should) impacts SO MUCH of what we do. I am me, I have found a solution, but I still needed to stop and allow my emotions room to be.
I took a moment to cry and then messaged a few people I feel shake things up across the globe. Confession complete, now, how are you doing? Are there any emotions you want to allow room? Make sure you allow them the room they need so that you can refuel yourself with better energy.
As I pen about better energy, I also wanted to blog about what most of you might have noticed across social media. A lot of women are now posting black and white shots of themselves. Taylor Lorenz, covered the phenomenon for The New York Times, and stated... "The premise of the “challenge accepted” trend is that these photos promote female empowerment, and that nominating friends to take part in the campaign is a way for women to support each other".
I first noticed the images from a few of our customers in Vizag, India. Then, the tags started coming in.
I didn't have the energy to post an actual image on Instagram (I have to use hashtags and I wasn't ready for all that action). I did however post a shot of me in our stories which I find way simpler to do. What about you? Have you participated? Do you think the campaign is useful? Do you think it changes or impacts anything?
Now, to go along with this theme of women supporting women, I chose songs that I feel celebrate women and sisterhood. Some support through lyrics while others support by having women just come together and SING. If you have any recommendations for this list, send them in. I listen to music while I do most of my life. Also, if you have any good recommendations from allies, send those in as well. I added Tarrus Riley to the playlist because he is the one artist I have seen perform live (I was in Dallas, Texas for business) and he invited people on stage to dance but he did not need the girls to do anything outlandish. When he saw one girl begin to dance a little to provocatively for him, he held her hand and asked her to step off the stage. She could have done WHATEVER she wanted to (I am in no way trying to censor her dance moves)... for me, it was just nice to watch a musician not expect it. It was nice to watch a man say, you can do that off stage, but let it not be because I asked you to come on stage. That wasn't part of the request. He just wanted company and hype on stage.
The song selection is full of older songs, but music to me is like wine. In between becoming grownup enough to travel from state to state for pop ups (alone... in a car or on a train), I found I didn't need the hippest, latest anything. I took comfort in either listening to thoughts through books, TED Talks, certain comedians doing stand up and/ or enjoying music that cemented a time in my life, a loved one's life or perhaps a song I bumped into while listening to a show.
I was apparently no longer listening to music to prove anything. I select songs that in essence help me date and get to know myself, my thoughts and world views in a way. Music can do that.
I also added our latest designs because our team needs to be paid and the makers and interns that have gotten used to earning with us actually rely on that money to do portions of their lives.
So here you go.
...and until the next post, try as much as you can to be kind and thoughtful of others, even if others are not thoughtful of you... being honest to yourself and the path you were chosen to walk in this life is all you are required to do. So, be truthful to that journey and you will find that the rest settles as you return to dust.
E. A. Wasonga
We decided that fall/ winter was the best time to launch these designs online. For the shirts that are short-sleeved, they can still be rocked during winter by layering. Most of our designs are gender neutral and can be dressed up or rocked for a more casual look. With each shirt, we hope to inspire healthy conversation about globalization, Africa, travel and so much more.
Please tell a friend about them by sharing this post. The best way to encourage others to shop small business is by sharing businesses you already frequent in person or online.
Lastly, we wanted to share music. Emily decided to look up some of the older albums she enjoyed and still listens to today. The lady that came to mind for this post was Angelique Kidjo. When Emily moved to America with her mother in the winter of 2004, Black Ivory Soul, was one of the albums gifted to them by an American who simply wanted them to feel welcome. It has been years and she still listens to most of this album, so here you go. We hope you fall in love with Angelique Kidjo, just as we have. Also, if you like Dave Matthews Band, they are featured in this album.
If you have any questions, concerns or requests, please get in touch.
We love hearing from you.
Take care and remain dipped in culture
The LHo Team.
We've been teaching and guest lecturing across the US for almost 15 years now. The constant request we seem to receive is, "How can we remain connected?". There are requests to remain connected to our work and the cultural information we are able to share. We've sort of turned into a cultural resource center, and to be honest, we love it. Thanks to platforms like YouTube, we are able to share playlists, movies and so much more and now we've decided to include these recommendations in our blog posts.
The songs included are some of our faves right now.
The clothing can be shopped simply by clicking on the images.
We hope to share a blog post every week with content and updated merchandise.
We are honored that our small business is able to facilitate cultural connections. For a long time, we tried to focus on the business angle until we realized, we are the small business that people turn to when they seek cultural connections and this is a great thing. The more connections we generate as human beings, the better this world will be and so we take our work very seriously. Our differences shouldn't divide us. As we celebrate ten years in business, we are looking to celebrate, and embrace, this unexpected element we are now known for.
We will also include curated videos about the continent and other nations, or regions that supply us.
Updates from the Western portion of the continent.
What do you think about the proposed Eco?
Let us know in the comments.