Five years ago on this day, 12 June 2006, I started my onematchstick Project.
I had the vision at that stage of just wanting a little project to prove to myself that anything is possible, and everything is negotiable, and through which I could try to get myself something I needed and also give back to others by sharing in the final outcome.
I just wanted to have the personal experience of bartering up a matchstick to offices, inspired by Kyle who was on his way to trading his red paperclip into a house. And I thought that if I succeeded (which today I know I will) then I wanted to have offices big enough to give some of the space to other startup entrepreneurs to help them.
I had no idea that it would lead me to meeting so many wonderful people and making some close friends. Or that I would learn and grow personally to the extent that I have.
I didn't think that I would learn so much from having to research every item I was offered, from motorbikes to stamps to henna tattoos to diamonds. Or that my creativity would be sparked so much.
I didn't know then that I would set a record for Africa by hosting Africa's first SWARM Party.
I didn't think that I would pledge ten months ago to only wear Springleap T-shirts until I reached a certain target (which I am 80 people away from).
I had no inkling that I would test my self-discipline and my perseverance to the extreme, or that I would have personal challenges to face and surmount alongside the project, like growing my business and overcoming a period of health challenges.
I had no intention of winning competitions, like the Netweb and Missing Link ‘Headstart competition, where I won the making of onematchstick, The Movie! Or that it would lead me to being a finalist in the Female Tribe 2011 Feather Awards for Business Icon and Entrepreneur. Or that I would be nominated as June 2011's Xtraordinary Woman of the Month.
So much has come out of the last five years working on this project that I feel humbled looking back and stand here in a state of gratitude.
And the most significant outcome of the last five years, is the inspiration my project seems to ignite in others who hear of it. If nothing else ever comes from this, I am so glad that I have been able to pass on the inspiration and belief in possibility that Kyle passed on to me with his story, when I read his blog five years ago.
So thank you to all of you who read my blog posts, tweets and facebook updates, who have traded with me, helped connect me to people I have traded with, and who continue to support and cheer me on. It is because of all of you that onematchstick is where it is today, and that we will get to the office – hopefully in the very near future!