About a month ago one of my Linked In groups posed these questions: What keeps you going? What motivates you to succeed?
Many of the answers were admirable ones about passion and determination. But my answer was a bit different and went a little something like this:
Saadia showing her granddaughter, Eden, Argan fruit
Honestly? My mother in law, Saadia, motivates me. She is an amazing woman. She was a single mother in Morocco which was and is *very* difficult thing to do. Her husband lived in France and came home once a year. After a few years she became tired of that arrangement and divorced him. Good for her, I say. That is a very brave thing to do in a Muslim country. And then she went on to raise two great kids all on her own. She also has a wonderful skill which our company is making available to the world. She is sweet, strong and has endured a lot. I would love Saadia Organics to do well so Saadia herself can do well. She has worked hard for many years and continues to work hard. I am so blessed she's in my life. She's taught me a lot about what hard work, love and acceptance are.
Saadia lives a simple but happy life in Essaouira. Her days are most often spent with relatives and she is always ready to get more Argan Oil made for you. Moroccan women are more than willing to work when work is available. I just read this article from BBC News. A lot of things within it remind me of Saadia. In her family, the older girls were not sent to school and hence did not learn to read and write. We also have no idea when her birthday is. We have taken a rough guess at her age, however. (Although I do know that the people working in the Moroccan passport office underestimated that guess by quite a few years. I wouldn't mind if they did that at the Canadian passport office... But I digress.) I do commend the Moroccan government for creating educational programs for Moroccan women who are well past school-aged. Saadia and her peers have been invited to study and Saadia did try it. But she just laughs and rolls her eyes when she thinks about her few hours in school. Instead, she is happy to be the Production Manager of the company that bears her name. One thing she knows well is Argan Oil. She's not only grown up using it, but she's been making it since she was a young girl. That BBC article mentioned above ends by saying: "For a woman in Morocco there are always obstacles. Whether you are married or single, rich or poor, you always have to prove that you are worth something." At Saadia Organics we are trying to remove some of these obstacles. We know that these awesome women are worth more than their weight in (liquid) gold.