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Meet Emmanuel

February 21st, 2011

Continuing with the “Meet the Linemen” theme that was started in late January, I want to introduce you to Emmanuel Thera.

Emmanuel comes for the “Bobo” people group and lived in the bush until he was 12. His dad, Daniel, was working for the government in various roles throughout Emmanuel’s childhood so they moved a few times. He ended up in Bamako and did all his schooling there. And, just as his father, he went to college to become an international lawyer.

Emmanuel’s role at Sababu is large. His official title is Manager of Inventory & Logistics, but his role extends much past this title. You see, besides his father, Emmanuel has been on board the longest with Sababu. For many, the ribbon cutting at the grand opening was the launch of something new. For Emmanuel, it was the summit of a mountain he’d been climbing for 18 months.

One of the most memorable stories about Emmanuel was during the 3 month employee evaluations. To gauge the level of respect for the management team and get true, honest feedback from the employees, we spoke to the employees in private and away from the management team. When an employee was asked what he thought of Emmanuel, his response was “I just don’t get him. He is a manager and I’m a guy from the bush who can’t read, I can’t write, I have no education and yet Emmanuel treats me like I’m a brother to him. I just don’t understand.”

This is Emmanuel.

A few facts about Emmanuel:
– 26 years old
– Single
– Has a side business of used car sales
– Favorite soda is Dr. Pepper

Trivia Tuesday

February 8th, 2011

Question: In what Malian city is Sababu located?
Prize: “The Coulibaly” (Sababu branded tee)

Meet Martin.

February 5th, 2011

Martin reigns from the country of Madagascar. Madagascar? Yes, Madagascar. The southeastern island of Africa. The obvious setting of the Disney film, “Madagascar.”

Martin is the production manager for Sababu. He has been with us since June 2010 and hit the ground running immediately. I distinctly remember picking Martin up from the airport and taking him to his house in Mali. I told him I’d pick him up the next day at 1pm to start working in which he replied, “why so late?” I liked him immediately. Never-mind the fact that he just traveled across the continent of Africa the day before, he wants to do work. So, he designed the work flow of production, did the hiring, trained the workers and the list goes on and on. Martin is the brains for all the technical side of the production.

I’ve often asked myself why a guy like Martin would come all the way up from Madagascar. The guy has over 20 years experience in the industry, speaks 4 languages, is a professor of textiles and wanted to move to Mali to be part of Sababu. He says Sababu is different and he wants to be a part of this. I’m ok with this.

A few facts on Martin
-Martin is married with children. Most of his children live in countries other than Madagascar.
-Does things with Microsoft Excel that would make actuaries drool.
-Sababu is the first place he has worked at where he actually got to build the production floor to his specs/desires.
-Always travels with a business suit on.

Meet Martin Ferdinand.

Trivia Tuesday (part 1)

February 1st, 2011

Question: What does the word “Sababu” mean?
Prize: “The Keita” (Sababu branded tee)

Trivia Tuesday

February 1st, 2011

Tuesday. Mardi. Tarata. One day after the dreaded Monday.

Here’s the deal. Every Tuesday we will posting a question on our site about Sababu, Mali, etc. The first person to respond with the correct answer will receive a Sababu t-shirt at their doorstep.

Complicated? Not so much. Good way to learn more about Sababu? Absolutely.

This is the part that is usually in much smaller font and has a lot of fancy words that state all the rules, disclosures, limitations…..aka the fine print. The only rule I have is that the same person can only win once every month. This means that if Johnny BeCool answers correctly on March 4, he can’t win again until April 4. He would have to login as Susie BeCool (his darling wife) and pretend to be her. This isn’t the highest integrity move but the truth is, we’d never know the difference. Johnny, you’re one tricky fella.


January 30th, 2011

It doesn’t take real long for one to see that we use the word “together” more than most. Website, brochure, even product carries the word. The reason being is there is no “one person” who runs the show. The Sababu movement is truly a team effort; on both sides of the Atlantic. From the workers who take pride in every shirt made all the way to you, the customer who tells the story of Sababu, we’re in this together. After all, our central idea is “Together We Develop Life.” We subscribe to this 100% and hope that you do as well.

Continuing with this theme of togetherness is our goal of raising up a team of advocates who are sold out for sharing the Sababu story. We long for a community of folks who spread the story with us to all who will listen. We’re working on putting together a schedule for places to visit and tell the Sababu story for this Spring and Summer. We will be at conferences, seminars, music festivals, etc. Sooner than later, we will release our schedule with the various places we will be. In the meantime, do you know of place you think we should be telling the story? Do you have a group of friends or an event that would be a good place for us to tell the story?

Thanks for being a Sababu advocate and using your voice to make a difference. Together we can drastically change the lives of men and women in Mali, West Africa!

The Linemen of Sababu

January 27th, 2011

Every shirt you buy has a Twedel code. A code that lets you look into the life of the person that made your shirt. What you don’t see though are the people who are leading the company. These next couple weeks I want to highlight the leadership team. These are the folks that make Sababu what it is yet are rarely recognized. Thus, the linemen of Sababu.

Meet Amadou Diassana. Amadou is the administrative assistant for the company. He’s originally from the Sikasso area (about 5 hrs South of the company) but has been living in Bamako for a long time. He went to college and majored in English. So, he speaks 4 languages. Yes, 4 languages. I struggled to learn French and Amadou was telling me how his English was “so bad” yet it was 10 times (no exaggeration) better than my French. I quickly learned that the American gauge to learning a 2nd language was different than the Malian gauge. Imagine that.

A few other things you need to know about Amadou:
-28 years old
-Single (and very much looking…..)
-has an unhealthy addiction to iTunes
-once configured a car battery to be the power source for a computer and projector for a health presentation

This is Amadou….

Does Sababu Really Make that Big of a Difference?

December 14th, 2010

One employee just recently informed me that he sends 30% of his monthly paycheck to his family who lives on the Mali/Burkina Faso border. He says that money is enough to feed his family for the month. How many people are in his family you ask? 12. Twelve people in one house and because of Sababu, this employee can now help his family.

Opening Ceremony

August 14th, 2010

This is a short video clip of the official opening ceremony of the facility in Mali, West Africa. Several Malian dignitaries were on hand to usher in the company.

News On The Homefront

July 31st, 2010

I returned to Mali late Tuesday night and went to visit Sababu on Wednesday afternoon.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  Nervous because I left for nearly 4 weeks………..the day after the grand opening.  I had the utmost confidence in the management team so I boarded the plane with little doubt.  However, as I went back on Wednesday I started to question just how smart it was to leave. 
After the short 10 minute drive and 86 speedbumps (exaggeration, but not by much), I arrived at Sababu.  I greeted the management team and looked at the progress……….I was all smiles.  My expectations were surpassed and great progress was made in many areas. 
I’m convinced that having the right people in the right place is what makes things successful.  Our management team is top-notch and I am undeserving to have a group like them on board at Sababu.  The truth is, they are Sababu.  They are the ones that have made this vision come to fruition.  They are the ones who have put the right people in the right places.  They are the ones developing life in radical ways.  It’s our job to make sure that they can continue to do this by getting the product into the hands of our American friends.  Are you willing to make this happen?