As I mentioned last week, we have had a team of Canadian business women here, learning about the work of Partners Worldwide and Hopeline Institute in Ghana. On the first day of the visit, we went to visit a Village Savings and Loan group (VSL) [ for more info on the VSL, please click here]. This particular VSL is a group of 16 women who run a palm kernel processing factory. When we informed the team that we were going to see a palm kernel factory, a different picture came to mind than what they actually saw. See below.
|The group of women, getting ready for their meeting, right at the factory site.|
|Here are bunches of palm nuts, after they have been cut down from the palm tree. These bunches are on their way to the market.|
|This picture is actually from Liberia, but here you see the palm nuts being processed to produce the red palm oil but also what is used in palmbutter soup.|
|The first step is to crack the kernels in the machine.|
|The cracked nuts then get sent here where this woman is preparing to wash the cracked nuts in clay water - the clay helps to hold down the shells and allows the nuts to float.|
|She is holding a sieve, which will collect the floating nuts. This work is not easy - we left this woman to visit another group and drove by again four hours later - she was still at it.|
|The women then sort through the nuts by hand to take out any shells that might have remained after the clay water washing. The nuts are then washed in clean water.|
|The paste is added to a large pot of boiling water where eventually the paste will turn into an oil that separates from the water and can be skimmed off the top.|
Some of the members of the Canadian team wondered when the last time was that these women were pampered - given a retreat, had their nails done, hair done, etc. Who knows?