During my last trip to Africa a year ago, I had the chance to sit with a wicker furniture maker. He patiently showed me how to make a basket during a simple breakfast of bread and hot tea. It was an early morning on the beaches of Mozambique in east Africa. He talked about his 6 kids and proudly explained that all of them are in school with the oldest on the way to college. His wicker furniture and baskets put them through school.
I was energized by our conversation to say the least.
After my quick course in furniture making, I walked around and looked at his inventory. Isles of shelves, chairs and decorative items were organized meticulously. As I walked around I became aware of the real commitment and focus required to run this business. To avoid theft the wicker maker and his partner wake up daily before sun rise to unload and organize all of their inventory. Every day while managing this out door store they are also making the inventory. Making a loveseat may take days of manually twisting dried leaves in a tight round roll and pulling strings from dried palm leaves to weave the twisted rolls into decorative spirals that will eventually become a piece of the final product. The wicker maker’s hands are dry and rough from years of doing this. There are no vacations or days off. There is no predictability of sales. It is just continuous dedication, focus on quality and the luck that someone will walk by that can afford and appreciate their pieces.
I think about the wicker maker and his business often in my life. When I am tiered I am inspired by the rigorous focus of the wicker maker by the beach. A man that wanted his kids to have a better life and is making that happen. What do I want to do? How does my daily effort help the future? I can only hope that I one day inspire someone the same way he inspired me.