Posted by: cgross1 | February 5, 2011

Random Guys on Camels

So the other day I was sitting around at my association with the women talking, or trying to rather unsuccessfully in Moore, when this random guy on a camel just casually rides up to a maquis (outdoor bar), and orders a Coke. He didn’t even get off the camel – just took his Coke and rode off. It was pretty weird, and totally awesome. Since I’m kind of close to the capital and in kind of a tiny city-like village, there aren’t really camels here – this is the first one I’ve seen, so it was pretty cool!

I am excited for next week. I am going to start working with the women in my association doing some fun activities to help me better understand the association and the women. I will be doing a daily activities schedule (one for the summer and one for the winter), which lets me see what the women do every day, which also lets me see when they have free time for secondary projects. I will also be doing a seasonal calendar, which lets me see important cultural events like planting season, harvest, tourist season, etc., which is also helpful for me. The last activity is a needs assessment, so hopefully I can find out what the women would like to see come into the association in terms of equipment – or essentially anything they think is necessary. Then the week after that I get to do the same thing with the officers of the association. It should give both me and them a better understanding of the association and their community as a whole. Exciting!!

Fun fact: The women use the leftover shea butter (that is not pure enough to be sold) to make soap that they use to clean all of the tools and containers they use in their work, as well as to clean clothes and dishes. Talk about smart recycling!

Until next time,




  1. So after the first six months of service, the Peace Corps gives you a camel, right? Enjoying reading about the shea butter process and curious if the women you’re working with sell the product directly to consumers, or does it go to another business/manufacturer that packages & markets it?

    • Heh, I wish we got a camel – it would be less work than biking, I think. ^^
      What happens after the shea butter is produced is actually part of what I will be working on with my association. They have the resources to package it and sell it in bulk or for retail. They have one large client, L’Occitane, a French cosmetics company, who buys in bulk, and uses it in their products. However, the rest of their sales are out of their small boutique on site, where they sell pure shea butter as well as some creams they make themselves. I will be helping them look for additional clients and available markets to increase their sales. Should be fun, and a very interesting look into the world of international business and market research!

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