We all have those “but first” projects in life. Maybe you’re planning to take up jogging, but first you need some cute running clothes. Or perhaps you’re hoping to write a novel, but first you need to find a new job that gives you more free time. Here at Sseko Uganda, we’re also completely guilty of good-intentions procrastination. We’ve been meaning to decorate, but first we hoped to figure out where and when we’d settle into a more permanent location. Time flies, though, and we’ve been at our current temporary workshop for well over a year. We finally decided to take the leap and make our space seem more homey, with decorations and furnishings we can take with us one day, and an inexpensive coat of paint to brighten things up.
Our workshop is definitely a workshop- we’ve got a giant noisy sanding machine, a wire cage area full of extra supplies, and piles and piles of boxes getting ready for shipment. But to our pleasant surprise, a little color and inspiration makes work feel a whole lot more homey.
When you walk through the front door, the first thing you see these days is a giant photo wall full of names and faces. It’s a good reminder to all of us that Sseko is first and foremost about people.
Next is our front office and meeting room, where we hold meetings and show samples of our work. We built a new display to show off our team’s hard work, installed a basket wall, and our very own talented seamstress Sharon sewed a fun new slipcover for the visitor’s sofa.
At the end of the front hallway you’ll find our accessories room, which also serves as a common area during lunchtime and in the mornings. Each team chose a quote from the Sseko Braves Manifesto to decorate their wall, and accessories chose, “Stand up for yourself and those who can’t.”
Josephine had the bright idea to use fabric to cover up their supply shelf during the day. Things to get a little unsightly and very very dusty, so a bright print is the perfect addition to the room. Here, she and Jenifer Jr. are hand-beading accessories in front of their new floral wall.
One of the perks of having the least amount of furniture and equipment is that the accessories team also gets to play host to our new pallet couch. Sharon sewed these cushions as well, and here Kellen demonstrates their proper usage.
In the next room you’ll find the strap team, these days stitching away under a mint green wall. “Dignity is the spark that gives way to a flame,” are the words that brighten their workspace, as well as the curtain on the wall behind Kevin, made out of a sampling of ribbons straps we’ve sewn over the years.
Passing through the hallway, you’ll find our design area and storage cage, where a bright piece of kitenge fabric hides the backs of unsightly industrial shelving units full of leather, fabric, and beads. Sseko got its start when Liz decided to “say yes to adventure,” and now those words remind us that adventure is definitely the way to describe this journey we’re on here in Uganda.
Last but not least, the sole team chose “How it’s made matters” for their words of inspiration. To them, it’s a reminder not just that their stories are important, but that quality counts, too. They see it as motivation to work hard and do their best.
We’re thrilled with our “new” workspace, and can’t believe how long it took us to get around to making the changes. Sometimes, a little momentum is all it takes to start moving toward your goals; so whether its picking up a phone to call a painter, going for that first jog, or getting one sentence down on the page, we hope you’ll join us in making things a little brighter.