Isivuno Naturals Goes to Ghana - Part 1
When you love something, you immerse yourself in it, whether intentionally or not. This has been the case with sourcing (first) unrefined Shea Butter.
From very early on, my vision for sourcing shea butter directly was so I could use the best quality shea butter possible in all our products
, and avail this quality locally to other natural skincare creators, retailers and wholesalers.
With this in mind, I set off to Ghana, in April 2018 to meet the women who make this women’s gold (as shea butter is known). With air ticket and visa in one hand, and yellow card in the other, off I went to the West African country. Although this was a bit nerve-wrecking, it was comforting to know that I would be within our “motherland” continent, merely a few thousand kilometers from home. I looked forward to this.
There had been quite an air of excitement in the few days leading to my voyage. Boarding the flight and flying the African skies, seeing African sunsets from new heights was just the beginning! I would soon be in the heart of the Savannah, where the shea nut trees grow wildly. I would see shea production in action, and shake hands, exchanging never-ending pleasantries with the amazing shea queens!
Wow! Ghana was all that and A WHOLE LOT MORE! I was never ready for the hospitality and the warmth that is the Ghana nation. I have been nowhere else in the whole world where the warmth of the people and their generosity is so tangible! There was an atmosphere of “you are welcome” everywhere I went. It was intentional too. This was beyond my expectations. I am getting side-tracked…
Experiencing the generosity of the people (like when my driver brought me millet porridge when he picked me up from the hotel at 7 am, or when my Uber driver went out of his way to take me to the beach on our way from the market because he thought I was dying of heat) and enjoying the local cuisine of Jollof rice and grilled tilapia was a cherry on top.
The real deal was getting up close and personal with the shea butter and the women who produce it. I learnt so much about the production of unrefined shea butter in that one week in Ghana, than I had ever before. I felt so privileged to be kneading (shea nut paste) in the same pot as the shea queens who have been doing it for decades, and whose livelihoods depend on it.
I learnt that there is a lot that goes into producing the absolute best quality grade-A shea butter. Factors such as the quality of shea nuts, storage of the shea nuts, quality of the water, actual processing of the butter, storage of the butter and finally handling and shipping of the butter to final destination ALL play a big part in what the quality of the shea butter you are getting is.
We will explore this a little more in our next post. Our aim is to educate you so you make informed decisions as to where your shea butter
is coming from.