Friday, June 12, 2015

A Letter from Olowo-n'djo; Heading to Togo June 2015

Good Morning Friends of Alaffia,

It is my wish that this note finds you and your family in good health and you are enjoying your summer. I am writing to inform you I am returning to Togo this afternoon with Rose and our girls for four weeks. Every time I return home to Togo, I feel I must inform you about my objective and goals of my trip, since each and every one of you makes Alaffia possible. Although I’m going home, in my mind and soul I am going to represent you and to do as I should to carry on the Alaffia mission on behalf of all of us. The duties of this trip are as follows.

The Alaffia family send off

First, we will be in Bolga, northern Ghana, to finalize the fair trade certification of our basket cooperative there. As the Togo baskets are already certified fair trade, the certification of our decentralized Bolga cooperative further strengthens the traceability and fair trade principles we have had in place to  provide stable incomes for the over 1,800 families in the region for the past seven years.

Second, earlier this year, I sent a note regarding the opening of the new Alaffia Artisan Center in Sokodé at the former location of our Shea Butter Cooperative.  The Alaffia Artisan Center is a new endeavor for Alaffia, and the members will be made up of former prostitutes and orphans. Unlike the other Alaffia cooperatives, this will be more of a rehabilitation center, providing opportunity to a marginalized segment of our society. The center is due to officially open and begin crafting hand sewn bags and scarves from traditionally dyed fabrics on June 30th. I will provide more details upon my return to the USA in July.

Third, we will begin the construction of the biogas system at Alaffia’s Shea Butter Cooperative. This is another step in our goal for self-sustainability. The biobas system combines residues from traditional shea butter processing with cow manure to produce methane, which is then used in the roasting of shea nuts and in the cooking of our traditional black soap.

My final mission for this trip is to spend each evening eating and visiting with my family members that I miss dearly. Since my mother will be traveling with us in Togo, Ghana and Benin, I am looking forward to many true traditional meals.

Until next time, I wish you all a joyful summer and thank you for all that you continue to do for Alaffia.

Humbly yours,

Olowo-n’djo

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