Welcome to another interesting video article. In this post i capture in words, the tour of West Africa by Hey Fran Hey. The locations she headed to this time around were two sister countries in West Africa namely Ghana and Togo. In her words, this was once in a life time opportunity for her to gain first-hand knowledge of the importance and impact of fair trade in these two countries.
In this video article, she reviewed the uses of the abundant natural resources ranging from shear butter to coconut oil herbs and the African black soap to name a few.
Hey Fran Hey has used her YouTube platform to show case several cultural heritage and in this video, she sized the opportunity to pay homage to those who work so hard day in and day out to provide us with these natural resources and most importantly she ensured that she is supporting brands who put people over profit, pay their workers with fair wages and treat them with the utmost respect.
Her journey to exploring West Africa started with a 10-hour flight from JFK to Accra Ghana where she met up with shameless Maya; star also known as gangster girl and Josey. As soon as they landed, food was all they wanted as they were starved. The 5 hour time difference did not help.
After their meal, they all went back to their hotel rooms and knocked out waking up the next morning to a bright African sunshine. They had potatoes grilled, tomatoes fresh fruit and Moringa juice. Hey Fran loved the fresh ingredients. It was time to explore Ghana, so they head straight to the markets were they saw all types of fabrics. They literally wanted all of them. After the noon set in, they made time for food and some coconut water and were so lucky to bump into some live music. Making friends was much easier so they made some new friends.
Ghana was obviously a nice place, the next morning they packed up and drove for hours towards the border of Togo. As they arrived, they crossed over and then drove one hour into Togo’s capital Lome and pulled up in the beach front compound of traditional Huts.
They met up with olowondjo Tchalla, the creator and owner of the Alafia brand and also the magic behind the journey to Togo. Olowondjo’s family was kind enough to feed Hey Fran Hey and his team knowing how hungry they were riding such a long distance from Accra to Lome. The natural soothing environs made up for the fatigue as they all went into their huts to shower and prepare for a family-style dinner. They were served with grated cassava, spicy tomatoes, plantains fufu and several other dishes.
It was amazing as they literally could eat that every day. Once they were done with dinner, they created a bonfire right on the beach. Feeling excited and having had a great night rest, they woke up at 5:00 A.M in the morning and were served made with a hearty breakfast because they had a six-hour drive ahead of them heading to Olowondjo’s village. Once they arrived, the women of the village embraced and sang a welcome home song for them something them didn’t even know.
They found it inspiring that Olowondjo figured out a way of providing employment for his village while still honoring their traditions. They were taught how weave a basket with the weaving fabrics and prints and then turning them into handbags. The team was excited when they watched the villagers making coconut oil from scratch and even coconut soap. There was the herb garden they visited and fell in love with it. They were shown the shear butter tree and were taught how to collect them, store them, wash them and sundry them to prevent mold. They were also shown how the nuts were crushed, roasted, placed in the grinder and moist with water to create a paste.
This process was hand whipped for 45 minutes to an hour and until the fat starts separating itself and surfaces. This fat was then placed into heat until it turns into oil and then was stirred until the shear butter was made. This was really cool. They appreciated the much work that had gone into the process and were grateful to see those things they take for granted.
Maya encouraged the team to stop for a good dance break. Allafia’s proceeds also go towards the schools he’s created for the children of his local village. Olowondjo has made classrooms and bathrooms from the ground up; he’s even been able to contribute a maternity ward to the village.
The awesome and favorite part of the trip was getting to meet all of the beautiful babies he’s helped bring into the world safely because of this ward. In her words, Hey Fran Hey quoted “I’ve made it a priority in my life to live with intention even in what I may feel is the smallest of details because even in those small details you can still make a big impact”.
Remember, next time you’re buying your beauty products don’t just think about the results, consider the brand itself and how it’s contributing to the world especially to those around the world who are working so hard to keep it afloat. Now we all know of one brand that is doing the right thing.