aCanela & African Fashion

I love African fashion. I told Andrew today that I want to start an African fashion line, and make it become the H&M of Central Africa. I would like to focus the fashion inspiration on the Democratic Republic of the Congo because that is where the majority of the tribes in Eastern and Southern Africa originated from. They call those tribes “of Bantu origin”, which means that they developed from the original Bantu tribe that still lives in the Congo. The Congo and the Bantu tribes are the heart of Africa.
The fashion line is just a dream, obviously, because I have no formal training in textiles or design. I have however, been working on my culinary spice business, aCanela, during my many months in Eastern and Southern Africa. I have met many men and women who have graciously opened their homes shared their stories and recipes with us, many times inviting us to share a meal with them and their family. Andrew and I would both agree that some of our favorite experiences during our time in Africa have come from those moments that we have spent in the homes of locals.

I would not trade our experience this summer for anything in the world. We have learned more than we ever thought was possible to learn in three short months. I have learned that all people desire to be good and all people desire to raise their children in a land of opportunity. I have also learned that I am blessed beyond number and have been given many opportunities that so many people will only ever dream of. If there is only one thing I leave Africa with after this summer, I hope it is the perspective that because I have been so blessed with opportunities, I have the duty to help those who lack opportunity.  

Through aCanela I have started to do this. By empowering women’s basketball developing nations to utilize their ability to cook, and help them monetize it by opening up new markets for their skill. We do this by selling their spice blends and sharing their stories with women in developed countries who have the purchasing power and desire to buy what women in developing countries have produced. That is the mission of aCanela.

I have been working hard on the aCanela project over the past several weeks and am currently working on updating my website to a better platform and redesigning my product offering to be more suitable for a larger audience. With all my new content from Africa, we are ready to sweep the spice market…

(Below: Andrew’s post)

Kylie and I woke to the sounds of area 47 coming to life. This usual consists of professor George’s car starting as he leaves to give his 5am sermon, Ana Piri cleaning the kitchen or sweeping outside our door, and the dang roosters. Seriously though, I think one of the main things I’ll be excited about leaving behind are those noisy roosters!

Our walk this time took a different route as we decided that we wouldn’t be going to CBF, but to the church building. Reliable internet is far too valuable to risk not having it on such a busy day!

As we walked we got to see an entirely different morning crowd. Instead of the business men and women, social workers, and street peddlers that normally bombard our path to CBF, we saw school kids, mothers, and bicycle taxis. This made for a fun change and we got many smiles along our way.

Once we arrived at the church we greeted the guard warmly (he just laughed we were back to use the Internet) and took our place outside the chapel. 

Today my goal was to understand everything about house hunting in Los Angeles. This was quite lengthy task, but I was able to learn a ton!

First off, things will go FAST! When Kylie and I arrive it looks like we’ll be dashing from place to place trying to get a good deal.

Second, there is a science to hunting. Instead of hiring an agent like other cities, the nature of the LA housing law is such that we’ll have to combine online research, phone apps, and regular hoofing it to find a place. Referrals are also great so… If anyone hears of an opening somewhere…

Third, there are a million questions to ask. Everything from what is covered to what the neighborhood is like. Seems like Kylie and I will need to become experts on LA housing to make this work! 

While several other items made for some good learning bullets, those were the main takeaways. That said, bring it on!

Following my housing research I began to dive into visa research. Unfortunately the news was a little less positive. Looks like our visa in Harare (for Mozambique) will be a fully priced single entry visa… Darn! That throws our budget off by a good $50… A bit of a hit, but a necessary one. 

Once we finished with the various work items we had, we began our walk home – brainstorming about aCanela all along the way. Upon arriving home we were promptly shown by Angela and Ana Piri how to make African cake (imagine a less sweet version of cornbread and banana bread). While we didn’t taste it tonight the wafting smells of banana made me hungry (post dinner)!

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