So as of April, shea butter production season is officially over for my association. It has become very hot (due to hot season), which makes it difficult for the shea butter to form properly, and we have used up all of our stock. However, we had a good production year – so good that my president had to buy additional shea nuts twice during the season, which is great for us. With our new machines we can produce in much greater amounts more quickly, and my women are so happy about the new machines that make it less necessary for them to beat the shea butter by hand, which is exhausting (I’ve done it).
My women now have two months of alphabetizations (lessons in local language(Moore)). These lessons consist of reading, writing, basic math, and life skills (health and nutrition awareness lessons). I am excited to be getting back to site, because I will be doing a world map with my women to help them with basic geography. It should be lots of fun (check back for photos in May!).
In other news, my president renewed our Flo-Cert Fair Trade certification, so we are once again Fair Trade certified, which seems to be a major selling point for European and American markets. This means that my association is now Flo-Cert (Fair Trade) and Eco-Cert (organic) Certified. Good for them, and hopefully this will bring in new clients!
Relating to clients, our association has its first US client! I have been pleased to serve as the facilitator between the two businesses – the American business and Ragussi, and it has been a great experience, both for me and for my association. It is my hope that they will learn how to search out and engage new clients after I have left. This newest client is a fabulous opportunity to perfect their international trade skills, and open doorways to better business opportunities.
I hope that everyone is doing well in the states – I only have 6.5 months until I come back to the US – it’s creeping up on me! I will see everyone then!
Until next time,