Utopia Africa Designs Our Journey-My Story

My name is Joanna (Commonly called Mama Jojo).  Thanks so much for taking your time to read and get ready as I mesmerize you with my different writing styles to give you the feel that "Yes I am already in Africa." .I am originally from Liberia West Africa. Life was hard after the civil war. There were job losses all over the country. The struggle was real. I want to give a background that I came from humble beginnings. Raised by a single mother, she did her utmost best and sacrificed everything to send me to the best schools in Liberia. I am grateful for everything, but I had to push myself. I had to want success for myself. I had to study hard, I had to do well in my academics. Fast forward, the blessings of God shined on me and I gained employment with the United Nations in Liberia assigned in Nimba County, where my dad is from. I was part of the disarmament and rehabilitation team of ex-combatants into normal life in Tappita, Nimba County. As part of the process, we drove to neighboring villages and towns. On this day we drove to the Cestos River, the border between Nimba County and Grand Gedeh counties. I  wanted more. I wanted to get an American Degree. I wanted to have America Kids. I just wanted more. I knelt down at the Bridge and made a covenant with God that if you bless me and I travel and I do well and go to school and get a good job in America, I will make it  my duty to be very generous and give back to the less fortunate in my country Liberia. God answered my prayers and I found myself in Minnesota, later working for the Minneapolis Finance Department where I worked for 12 years.  (Payroll, Contracts, Council Resolutions Appropriations, Cost Accounting, .Billing -GASB34 etc.) . As we all know God is not a toy. God kept his part of the deal. I had to do mine.  My first paycheck, part of it was used to buy supplies to Liberia. My dad thought I was crazy. How can someone so new to America take half her paycheck and send it back? In his mind, I should have been saving for an apartment, a computer, something else and not sending my money to Liberia. He did not understand my Covenant with God.   23 years later I am still doing it, now I have expanded to other countries and I don't intend to quit. Later in 2007, I was favored to have the William Mitchell School of Law represent me to get my 501c3.  Now the problem was how do I raise funds? One of my shortcomings is asking other people for financial help. Fundraising is legal in America but at the time, I felt that if I must ask donors to help me, I must help myself. My vision and my attitude and approach would attract the right people to join me. I know I should not be this way but I feel embarrassed to ask people for money all the time. I am considered a workaholic and If I am healthy to work, I should be working and only reach out to others when I am in dire need or undertaking a project bigger than myself.  I began to think about ways to fund my non-profit projects. One of the many ways that came to my mind was opening a business and using 50% of the proceeds.  Hence Utopia Designs and Accessories was born and later changed to Utopia Africa Designs. Get ready for a journey of our life as I use my blog to talk about the African culture, arts, clothes, what the symbols mean and showcase my products at the same time. You can also, visit my Youtube Channel and subscribe where I talk about Fasting, Finances and World Cultures.  Mama Jojo Raw and Real

See you in the next Blog Post the History of Liberia and our major exports.