Blog

In-depth Information on Making Potash

December 7, 2005

Potash is the byproduct of running water through ashes, and an essential ingredient in village soapmaking. For an in-depth article on making potash – click here.    

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Improving the Shelf life of Shea Butter in West Africa – Part 2

March 7, 2005

This post was written from Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana. We are now into our third week in Ghana. Sandy has run around Tamale getting the forms to make the Nasia Women’s Cooperative official. They gave her the forms, but then she had to go somewhere else to get them copied. Fees are paid everywhere. Then a long hours drive to meet with the inspector. He claims we must pay for his gas, time, and processing fee, so he will come to meet with the women and explain the requirements (this turns out to be completely false, he is hitting us…

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Ghana 2005 Solar Shea Drier Mission

March 7, 2005

Sponsored by USAID Farmserve Program and OIC International Larry Plesent – Volunteer This solar shea nut drier, or drying tunnel, is based on the original work pioneered by Dr. Peter Lovett PhD., of Tamale, Ghana. Dr. Lovett is the world’s foremost technical expert on shea trees and shea butter, and I am grateful for his help and support on this project. Special thanks to USAID (your tax dollars at work) for contributing to our mission, and to OIC International, the local NGO that took care of us in Ghana. Many thanks go out to WATH; the West African Trade Hub…

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Improving the Shelf life of Shea Butter in West Africa – Part 1

February 28, 2005

This post was written from Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana. We arrived in Accra, Ghana one week ago via Amsterdam. Sandy, my life partner, Harry, my 18 year old nephew, Bob, a new friend and USDA Organic Inspector, and myself had managed to schedule three nights in this lovely city. There is something to be said about zoning building heights; the 7th story of our hotel had a magnificent view of the rooftops of the city. The city is set out in a roughly circular arrangement, and a healthy person can walk the diameter in three hours or less. We saw…

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Creation of a Village Level Essential Oil Distillation Unit

May 7, 2004

Note: This unit can also be used to purify drinking water Overview Essential oils are the aromatic oil based compounds produced by many common herbs, flowers and trees. EOs exhibit well documented anti fungal and anti microbial properties. They add value and help to preserve cosmetic products and soaps, and can aid in the daily battle against skin fungus in developing regions. The under $100USD EO distillation unit grew out of a USAID funded Farmer to Farmer assignment. Our mission was to increase the quality and marketability of locally produced Alata soap, made in villages through out West Africa. Locally…

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West Africa – Issues and Challenges

March 7, 2004

The world is changing rapidly. Societies that have lived in equilibrium with their ecosystems for thousands of years are now wrestling with issues of deforestation and the droughts that inevitably follow the large scale cutting of trees. Overpopulation threatens every aspect of biological life. Technology brings mixed blessings. In our compassion to relieve suffering and reduce infant mortality, we create even greater suffering through overpopulation and the ecological devastation that follows in it’s wake. We must always remember the basic rules of biology; for example, that an increase in the food supply creates an increase in population. Development and family…

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Making Shea Butter in Ghana and Guinea

February 7, 2004

This is how they make artisanal, handmade shea butter.  In 2004 and 2005 The Soapman traveled to West Africa to learn how shea butter is made. Here are some pictures and blog links (Africa – Part 1 and Africa – Part 2) from those journeys.  

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Teaching Soapmaking in Ghana

March 25, 2003

It didn’t really hit me until the day before we boarded the plane. “What kind of foolish adventure have I gotten us into this time?” My wife Sandy Lincoln and myself were traveling to Ghana, West Africa for two weeks to teach soap making in a rural village. A nonprofit (NGO) had contacted The Soap Guild looking for a volunteer. After much back and forth, it was decided that I would go. It took some convincing, but since Sandy brings her own unique skills to the table (librarian, bookstore owner, homesteader, entrepreneur, textiles), the NGO agreed to pay her way.…

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