Obtaining my degree from McCombs School of Business was accomplished while employed full-time at the University of Texas in the Institute of Latin American Studies (now the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies) taking one course each semester. In 1985 I received a degree in Business Administration in Management at age 53.
I celebrated this achievement with a month-long-seminar tour of Kenya, Africa, with a group whose Kenyan program was designed by a friend, Suzanne Saulniers, a professor of rural sociology, which included attendance at the United Nations Conference on Women meeting in Nairobi (and again in Beijing, China in 1995). This seminar visited various communities in Kenya and different women’s development programs that were helping women improve their lives. One popular craft was “Kiondo”, a handwoven handbag made from sisal with leather trimmings, indigenous to the Kikuyu and Kamba tribes of Kenya.
On a spur-of-the-moment urge, I purchased enough “Kiondos” to fit into a larger sisal basket for transport, about 35″ high and 20″ in diameter. Not all the bags had the leather trimming, and it was necessary to locate a leather workman and make arrangements for the application of leather to some of the sisal bags. Approximately eighty Kenyan bags were imported, and when those were sold, I reordered. I sold them in Austin when carrying a “Kenyan bag” was fashionable. Every sale helped a Kenyan woman and helped me pay for my trip.
Boondoggle was the name used for this enterprise and provided an interesting though small view of an entrepreneur’s experience.