I’ve arrived

After a 43 hour flight delay in LA, 19 hour layover in Dubai, and 9 hour layover in Nairobi I have finally reached Malindi! I thought my worst travel experience was when I got stuck overnight at a Croatian bus station alone because my flight was too early to catch the ferry the morning of but the airport closed overnight. Now I have a new story to tell.

I'm basically a black cat on a plane. If you ever see me sitting at your gate just know that the shit is already midflight to the fan. 

Now that we've established my credentials...

Bridge Beach, Malindi

Bridge Beach, Malindi

We hit the ground running with a tour of Malindi and the Elimu Resource Center. I was briefed on the ongoing projects at Elimu including a partnership with Cisco that teaches students coding and IT basics allowing girls in the sewing program to also learn digital pattern making skills. I am now officially out-skilled by these magnificent ladies. At around 3 o clock my jet lag took the wheel and I was driven home catatonic.

The next morning I got to go fabric shopping and felt like Tom Hanks in a typewriter store. Anyone else have something kind of embarrassing that makes you feel like a kid on Christmas morning? Just browsing these prints had me redesigning the fall collection. It’s gonna be good. 


I was encouraged to try on a kaftan and came to the conclusion that there are some culture boundaries that can’t be crossed. While a Kenyan woman looks like a goddess with her kaftan flowing effortlessly in the breeze, an American lass looks like a waddling Walmart shopper unsuccessfully trying to hide a Thanksgiving belly under a college era wall tapestry. You can’t win em all. 

After feverishly sketching eight new designs, I got to meet the girls from the Heri Sewing college who will be helping me make the fall collection. I hope they are as excited as I am. The program Director, Lucy, told me my designs had mass appeal to every type of woman in any country and that compliment will probably be my epitaph. I may just fly home now. 

One young spitfire informed that had I arrived two days earlier as planned she would have the jumpsuits made and we would being taking photos on the beach of her rocking her own creation. She's going places. 

I am proud to say that it is currently 7pm and I am still awake. On Monday we start training and sewing with the girls, stay tuned for that action. ✌🏽

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Shannon Ashford6 Comments