5.30.13

Our features usually take us inside fashionable office spaces or garden-side kitchens. To mix things up a touch, we decided to profile Sseko Designs founder Liz Bohannan and get a snapshot of what life is like waking up in Uganda each day. With her obsession for avocados and love for the women she works with, the picture painted doesn’t look nearly as foreign as you might think.

Liz and her local Ugandan staff make summer-perfect lace-up sandals. Popular with the bridal party crowd, these sandals are a great addition to any girl’s closest and, more importantly, help to support the women of Uganda as they struggle to rise above the conflict-laden nation’s cultural and economic troubles. In the tradition of so many other charitable brands out there these days, Liz’s Sseko Designs is providing a win-win opportunity to buy a great product (we love the new floral and nautical prints) and support a great cause at the same time! Check out Liz’s account of an average a.m. at Sseko’s Lake Victoria-side headquarters…

  • MORNINGS WITH Sseko founder Liz Forkin Bohannon

  • MY ALARM IS SET FOR…

    6:30 a.m. Give or take…mostly give.

  • FIRST THING I DO WHEN I WAKE UP IS…

    roll over and kiss my husband! We’ll lie in bed and chat for a few minutes before we fully wake up to start the day. I usually start telling him about the crazy or hilarious dream I just had before I am even totally awake. Lucky guy. Who doesn’t love having a half-conscious person detail their subconscious first thing in the morning?

  • BREAKFAST IS NORMALLY…

    mango and yogurt or eggs with avocados. Mangos and avocados are huge, cheap and delicious in Uganda. I can’t get enough!

  • I CAN’T START MY MORNING WITHOUT…

    coffee! And ideally I have a little time to read and pray before I start the day. I spend most of that time reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for. There is nothing that centers me as much as a posture of gratitude.

  • I START WORKING BY…

    8:00. Unless I break my own rule and start reading emails while I am still laying in bed. If so, there is no going back once the brain box has been activated.

  • FAVORITE MORNING BEVERAGE…

    obviously, coffee! French press, all the way - Ugandan beans are amazing. 

  • MY MORNING IS FILLED WITH…

    chatter and laughter with the Sseko women during our morning teatime before the day officially begins. Once 8:30 rolls around, the workshop is filled with the humming of foot-pedal sewing machines and usually some tunes on the radio playing in the background. I spend a lot of my time in the workshop in our studio where we work on our latest Sseko products with our amazing design team. Our workshop sits right on Lake Victoria and our space is very open, which makes for a nice lake breeze on the warmer mornings. Things are usually pleasantly calm in the mornings, unless we have a surprise visit from a snake or lizard. Then things get crazy

  • DAILY UNIFORM…

    high-waisted jeans, cropped t-shirt, my favorite wrap bracelet made from handmade Ethiopian brass beads, and of course, my Ssekos. I have a small blazer addiction and always throw one on or in my Sseko tote, in case I need to spruce up my look last minute.

  • I’M USUALLY LISTENING TO…

    every morning I listen to a five-minute NPR global news podcast, followed by one longer podcast. Usually Freakonomics, Planet Money, Story Corps, The Moth or part of a Radio Lab or This American Life.  I am a podcast nut and the Stitcher app on my phone has changed my life.  There is no way to throw off my morning like messing with my podcast lineup.

  • I START THINKING ABOUT LUNCH…

    around noon. We don’t eat lunch until 1 p.m., which is standard in Uganda, but still a little rough on me sometimes. On Fridays, Auntie Sarah makes her famous cabbage dish and I will start thinking about it as soon as I smell it, which would be around 10 a.m. I always have a stash of g-nuts (Ugandan peanuts) on hand to hold me over. 

  • I GET MY CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING BY…

    turning off the Internet and getting out of the office. I am most inspired when I am in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable place. My best ideas usually happen while I am riding in a cab in a foreign country or wandering through an unfamiliar marketplace. When I need to clear my head, I’ll hire a boda boda (motorcycle) driver to take me on a long ride outside Kampala. Nothing like jamming to some great road trip tunes while you fly down dirt roads on the back of a bike!

  • MY FAVORITE MORNING DISTRACTION IS…

    people watching. I love to go out on our front porch and just watch our little neighborhood come to life. The sounds of brooms swooshing, motorcycles buzzing and the splash of women hand-washing the laundry are the sounds of morning in Kampala.

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