Monday, 27 March 2017

Lotions and potions

Following a stomach-wrenching journey across the bumpy roads of rural Burkina, only made bearable by the stunning scenery, we arrived in the quaint village of Nandiala-Gourcy to deliver training on how to produce Shea butter products. The hope was that with this newfound skill, women can produce and sell these products for a profit which will contribute to greater financial security, something that many widows and other vulnerable women lack here.

The women and volunteers alike all watched in wonder as Mama Catherine poured in an array of different solutions and natural ingredients into a big stirring pot, filling the air with a gorgeous scent that had us all itching to buy the shea butter soap as soon as possible! The process was thoroughly explained to the group, and a few women eagerly made notes to serve as guidance when it was their turn to try without us. Some of them ask questions in order to help understand.

By the end of the three hour session, we had produced; shea body butter, soap and two different types of lip balms in abundance. Our favourite to watch being made was the mint lip balm that steamed and bubbled as the ingredients were added, not to mention its bright green colour!

As our session concluded, all of us feeling content that it was a success, the women broke out into song and dance much to our delight. We couldn’t help but get on our feet and join in as much as we could. While the Burkinabes never fail to look effortlessly good when they dance, the Brits are not quite as gifted so many of us settled for filming instead. The training proved itself to be not just a fantastic way of transferring invaluable skills, it was also an amazing insight into Burkina culture; it was a brilliant morning!

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