Journey to Kenya: Navigating Business, Pleasure, and the Majesty of Ngong Hills

Journey to Kenya: Navigating Business, Pleasure, and the Majesty of Ngong Hills

Posted by Lisa Mutua on

Introduction: A Confluence of Business and Pleasure

Embarking on an unforgettable journey to Kenya recently, I found myself at the intersection of business and personal fulfillment. Amidst Kenya's breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cultural exchanges, I reconnected not only with my team but also with the land that fuels our collective passion at Ecodunia.

Meeting My Team: The Heart of Ecodunia

The journey began at my Nairobi workshop, greeted by the dedicated faces that have become my second family. Welcoming a new coordinator, we navigated unprecedented challenges together, including floods that disrupted electricity, damaged our products, and upended our supply chain. Despite these hardships, the resilience and unity of my team transformed potential setbacks into stories of triumph. It’s in these moments—meeting with artisans who craft the beautiful Ecodunia was founded. Each handshake and shared smile deepened my commitment to our mission of fostering sustainable opportunities and battling poverty through enterprise.

Dawn Adventures: Hiking Ngong Hills

Knowing my days would be filled with work, I chose to hike Ngong Hills with my cousins at dawn. The flood season added a layer of challenge, but the lush, rain-soaked paths offered serene beauty and a testament to the resilience of nature. These early hours became a precious time to bond with family and nature alike, reminding me of the balance between life’s demands and its joys. So, I packed what little I would need in my Ecodunia Fanny Pack and set out for the southern tip of the trail. 


Ngong Hills: A Rich Tapestry of History and Legend

Ngong Hills isn’t just a hiking destination; it’s a land steeped in history and myth. Named inaccurately by explorer Joseph Thompson in 1884, these hills are revered by the Maasai as ‘Oldoinyio Oloolaiser’—the mountain of the mighty Laiser clan. The hills are wrapped in tales ranging from giants shaping the landscape to being remnants of God’s creative endeavors. As an extinct volcano forming part of the Great Rift Valley, Ngong Hills offers breathtaking views that stretch from Nairobi National Park to the expansive Rift Valley below. During colonial times, this area was a major settler farming region, and its scenic vistas were famously captured in the film 'Out of Africa'. These stories and views not only enriched my hike but also deepened my appreciation for this majestic land.

The Ecodunia Fanny Pack: Crafted for Resilience

Throughout this journey, the Ecodunia fanny pack proved indispensable. Worn under my rain jacket, it securely held essentials like chapstick, a power bar, my wallet, and phone, with a hidden pocket perfectly designed for cash and a passport. The fanny pack, crafted from 100% Fair Trade cotton canvas and adorned with vibrant Kitenge fabric—each piece uniquely sourced and never repeated—embodied our commitment to sustainability and style. It was not just about testing our products; it was about bringing them to life in the environments they are meant for.

The Ethical Canvas: A Commitment to Sustainability

Before the vibrant Kitenge steals the show, it’s essential to spotlight the canvas that forms the backbone of our Ecodunia bags—the cotton canvas. Our commitment to sustainability and ethical practices extends deeply into the very fabric of our products. The canvas used in our fanny packs and other items is sourced from 100% ethically grown cotton, provided by a cooperative of about 20,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya. Each farmer manages between half an acre and two acres, cultivating cotton under conditions that respect both the environment and their livelihoods.

What sets this cooperative apart is the security it offers its farmers. Before even planting their seeds, these farmers are guaranteed prices for their cotton. This assurance is crucial, as it shields them from the volatile commodity markets that often dictate prices in distant continents like Europe or America. By securing their income beforehand, these farmers can plan their financial futures, ensuring they can feed their families and educate their children—a fundamental aspect of our business ethos at Ecodunia.

After harvest, the cotton is transported to a woman-owned mill in Thika, Kenya. Here, it is woven and dyed with meticulous care, ready to be transformed into the durable, stylish canvas that our customers know and trust. This mill, like Ecodunia, is dedicated to fostering a sustainable future in East Africa, making it an ideal partner in our mission.

Kitenge Fabric: A Cultural Heritage

Kitenge, a vibrant expression of East African culture, features bold, geometric patterns created through a wax-resist dyeing technique. This fabric is integral to our products, reflecting local traditions and the vibrant spirit of the communities we support. It’s used for various purposes from clothing to home décor, each piece telling a story of African heritage and craftsmanship.

Conclusion: Reflections on a Transformative Journey

Reflecting on my time in Kenya, from the bustling workshops of Nairobi to the misty summits of the Ngong Hills, I’m reminded of the profound impact travel and engagement have on our perspectives and aspirations. Ecodunia stands as a testament to the power of ethical enterprise, not just as a business but as a movement committed to global sustainability and local empowerment. And I was glad to have my new fanny pack along for the ride!

Join us at Ecodunia in celebrating the spirit of adventure and the beauty of ethical living. Visit our website or our store to explore products that are as adventurous as they are impactful. Until next time, Kenya—asante sana for the memories and lessons.

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