Dear Ubuntu Tribe,
Writing from the banks of Lake Naivasha as we turn into the final days of September and officially enter into the Fall season. As you know Amal and I have been in Kenya for the last 2 months catching up with our UL Kenya team, reconnecting with old friends, partners, and suppliers as well as forecasting the future of Ubuntu Life with our leadership team. It's the first time for us to be back in Kenya since July 2019 due to Covid. So much has changed these past two years, especially with the transition from non-profit to for-profit for the enterprise arm of Ubuntu. An enlightening trip to say the least filled with challenges, adventures, and plenty of highs and lows as we navigate these new normals. I've included a few key updates below from the last 2 months. Some peaks and valleys, some work, and some play to give you all, our Tribe, a feel for what life is like as we #liveUBUNTU.
Big love, Z
Amal and I decided with Covid restrictions still in full effect in Kenya that we will rent a house in Naivasha rather than in the hustle and bustle of Nairobi. Naivasha is the nearest larger town to Maai Mahiu so it is convenient for work. Kenya is also still under a curfew so overall staying here is a safer and more practical choice for this trip. Naivasha is best known for its beautiful natural lake, Lake Naivasha, home to literally thousands of hippos. Two of our favorite spots to soak in the natural beauty and hike amongst the wildlife are Hells Gate and Mount Longonot. For those who know me well, you know I'm a sucker for great baked goods, so I was in heaven when we stumbled upon the newly opened Naivasha Bakehouse, run by an American named Signey and her three kiddos who recently made Naivasha their home. And you may have seen a few social media posts about the majestic Sanctuary Farm where Ubuntu Life has been popping up at their Saturday farmers market. Sanctuary is 400 acres of untouched natural Rift Valley wonder.
Café Ubuntu Country
Reading on the Road
I was recently gifted this book from my good friends and fellow Tribe members, Anita Patrickson and Adam Ross. The Power of One is written by Bryce Courtenay and is set in 1939 as the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa and as Hitler casts his shadow across the world. Reading this while being back in Africa after our 2-year absence brings up all kinds of nostalgia. Even more so the message is a great reminder of how even in the midst of the most overwhelming odds if we focus and have the grit and spirit to endure, we can and will persevere. I've needed this reminder fairly regularly while walking these last 2 years. They have been trying for all of us. For Ubuntu specifically, they have been incredibly difficult as we pivot the for-profit out of the non-profit and plunge daily into the challenges of scaling a business. “In each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed."
Ubuntu Gear & More
One of the highlights of being back in Kenya as we learn to scale the enterprise is wear-testing new product before it hits the market. I've loved watching our design team play with new materials like silver and brass as we explore hardware. I've been sporting this new Fall stack along with our new TE AMO brass cuff that Amal gifted me. Most evenings Amal and I sit around the fire and brainstorm on how we see the Ubuntu Life brand unfolding and ways that we can better connect our Tribe to the beauty of Kenya. One of the ideas is our latest Ubuntu African Market. We hope these one-of-a-kind items offer both a treasure for our Tribe, but also a way for us to learn more about the wonders of this incredible continent and bring those learnings to you.
Amal and I are traveling to Lamu for a long weekend getaway before returning back home to Austin. Lamu is not only Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town but also one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa and is believed to have been established in 1370. We love traveling here for some much needed rest, but also the endless inspiration that bubbles up when walking through the historic dirt roads full of Swahili architecture and style. Also for those heading to Austin City Limits Festival, please come by and hang with our Austin team who will be popping up for both weekends. We've got some great new finds from Kenya as well as our staple beaded LOVE bracelets, one-of-a-kind indigo denim bandanas and so much more!
A few more highlights from our trip -