They Call Me Captain Obvious.. BUT Maybe I’ll Get Guru Status Today
From our conversations, to the work we’ve done, to the services we provide, to the products we sell, the conversation has always had a unified flow. Its not about claiming we are changing the world, but by doing what we do, we kind of are. For us at A. Bernadette, its about starting a conversation, and practicing the things we preach. We do not have all the answers, but we are trying to offer something different than our peers. An Inclusive community, in our own words, in our own way, that will start a conversation.
Conversations get complex, leading to even more complex perceptions. We are not here to confuse the mind…we aim to blur the lines between the culture we have come to know and what society expects. WE often fear being misconstrued, especially as our opportunity to market and brand ourselves to our customers takes place in nanoseconds.
At A. Bernadette we don’t like labels, but in the age of social media it’s easy to get caught up in the filtering hype of #hashtags and @handles. Its about community, ethics, empathy, positivity. So come join the conversation, get uncomfortable with us as we talk about things we believe in. We live in a world where my opinion is the most important, but not here. HERE, there is no I in TEAM. We want to hear what you have to say. So lets get together, make some strap bags, break bread, donate our time, lend a helping hand, pack a bag, hop on a bus and explore the unknown.
#community #harlem #exploreab #twosisters #conversationstarter #recycle #urbangardening #workshops #madeinafrica #fairtrade @adeptedelamode @abernadette11 http://ow.ly/i/6xsxN
Monday Sept. 22nd 2013. Moving from place to place in Uganda requires adopting a whole new language. Boda boda(motorcycles), Coasters(small buses), and Matatu’s(Taxi’s) are the main modes. We took a 3 hour long Coaster to Kampala where we met up with Lee. Lee works for Grass Roots Uganda and does a whole range of badass things. Pickling, bossing ladies around, kicking ass, planting shit, and the list goes on. I had to take a terrifying Boda Boda ride with my suitcase on my lap to get to Lee’s. Andrea was oh so happy to jump in Lee’s car as boda’s give her heart palpitations. In Uganda you just have to go with it. Submit. If you can relax and take it for what it is you will have a wonderful time, meet wonderful people, and want to keep coming back for me.
Sunday Sept. 22nd 2013. We went to Source of the Smile guest house with a very international crowed. All a bit hung over we decided diving into another day of drinking would be the best bet. Ellert and his wife who own Source of the Smile welcomed us and had a ton of interesting stories about their adventures in Uganda and how they met. We didn’t intend on staying all day but the power was out in town so we thought why not stay and enjoy the pool, food, and company. It was tropical paradise. This will be my new happy place! I don’t have a picture of the pool from that day but here is a video of Andrea and Kymbi later on.
Saturday Sept. 21st – I almost died on the Nile River while white water rafting. There is no choice but to hold on tight and just keep swimming towards the light. It exhausting but a thrilling time. Andrea met up with me after to go up to NRE where are the rafting guides and tourists hang out. The long Boda* ride almost killed me as well. I sped off and left Andrea in the dust with nothing but blackness ahead of me. We had to do a bit off roading due to a sugar cane truck getting stuck in the middle of the road. Overall it was an amazing day. I can’t wait to see whats next.
Friday Sept. 20th, 2013- Today we met Moses. He runs a boys home which houses about 20 boys ranging from 5-16 years old. He is an artists at heart and works to sell his art to support the household. He grew up in a boys home himself. We talked about working and collaborating together to help us carve A. Bernadette into one of our new products the Thinking Stick. We talked about community and adopting in Uganda. Its interesting how most people would rather sponsor a child then see them adopted. Sponsoring children to go to school is big here. Parents are responsible to pay tuition, for uniforms, books, and supplies in order for their children to go to school. Education is extremely important but handouts are a double edged knife. Theres a lot of ngos and nonprofits in uganda, trying to better the community. I didn’t realize how built up some parts of Uganda are, theres roads, theres internet, people have cell phones.
In the afternoon we saw group c and met with the solar group to discuss going to Solar Sisters, an organization based in Kampala. At night we went to the casino to meet up with Andrew. We went to viewers might club and got down. Uganda is proving to be way different then I imagined.
Thursday September 19, 2013- We walked through Main Street and stop by Agatha’s shop, Andrea’s old assistant. Main street is filled with craft shops allowing for a nice stroll down the street as you take in all the sights. We were expecting to see some of the crafts that the women we worked with make but found none. The items A. Bernadette sells are not the usual crafts found on Main Street. Andrea works with the women to create new designs using their traditional weaving techniques. Visting Agatha’s shop gave us the idea to try and sell some of our products there. It is an unfortunate fact that Andrea has a higher chance of getting products into shops than the ladies she works with just because of the color of her skin.
After a couple of days in Uganda I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of help the women needed and how I could possibly help them. Andrea explained it often not about what you can teach them but what they can teach you. The best thing you can do is spend those big American Dollars when in Uganda, visit the ladies, and when you return home tell everyone you meet all that you have learned. Be the connection, highlight your commonalities, and put a name to the face that so many people just see as sad African women. These women are anything but sad. They are warm, and friendly, and just want what we all want.. to live stress free.
In the evening we went to visit Rachel and Anton. Andrea used to work with Rachel who now works for another organization. We met at Adrift which overlooks the Nile River. We saw monkeys, and the beautiful sunset. It was a fun and much needed night of unwinding after absorbing so much of the Ugandan culture.
Wednesday- Sept. 18, 2013. We woke up with the sun. First on our agenda was a meeting at Rose’s place. I was in for a surprise when I saw where the meeting was being held. Attached to Rose’s little hut is the crappiest bar I’ve ever seen. There are a few benches and a tin hut. Lucky for us our meeting was at 10 am and we were able to meet drunkard free. All the children waved saying Amba, Amba. Andrea may have been the first to come to Uganda but Amber was the first to come to Jinja. Andrea turned a waved to each child, proud to be called Amba. Next on our agenda was meeting with the tailors. We were very impressed with the tailors because not only had the kept all supplies in perfect condition but they had registered themselves as a separate organization with bank account. Sitting in the little hut as Andrea talked, I started to notice that most of the buildings were painted with advertisements, from Mtn, coca cola, and others. I think because its free and it makes the building nicer. Everyone we meet is so welcoming, I’m taken back by it. It’s making me think a lot about life and what I’m doing. I half came here for the business opportunity but also to get away. Andrea says, “People don’t just hop on plane for adventure. People are running away from something because you have no idea what you’re running into, it can be pretty scary.” Maybe that’s true. Something told me I was supposed to come here and somehow everything just fell into place, or maybe I just decided I wanted this sort of life where I could just do something if I decided I wanted it bad enough.