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I leave my house for work and get called over by two village women awaiting their chance to do business with the chief. The first smiles...

Monday, December 07, 2015

Aloe Vaseline

Ausi Tsietso and I show off the final product and apparently
the wear clothing from my sailing life as both the hat and the
T-shirt are from different tallships!
One of the activities MCCC, my organization, did prior to my arrival in village was make and sell aloe Vaseline. This was an enterprise they had undertaken for a number of years to raise funds to help the orphans and vulnerable children in the five villages we work.

I can still remember the pride the women showed during their site visit as they showed me the supplies used to make their Vaseline. Well over a year ago we were scheduled to make it together, however, that was the day our PCV consolidation began, so the women did it without me. They used up a few of the critical supplies and the project became stagnant as they had not saved enough of their profits to purchase more.

'M'e 'Makhomo washes the agave pieces.
Finally, we got together to make Aloe Vaseline a few weeks ago. Once again, it was clear how proud of their product the women were. Every step of the way, they showed me what was being done and let me jump in and help. We were still short on a few supplies, so we only made a small amount to be sold the next day at a trade show in another village.

A testament to this aloe Vaseline, which is really agave Vaseline but we all call the plant aloe here, this dry summer has been killing my lips and no amount of lip balm or Vaseline-brand lip care has helped. Within a day of throwing some of this stuff on, my lips were in great shape. I was amazed!

We are now working on getting the needed items to get this project going full scale again. At one point, they sold at one of the larger grocers in town and had a decent market. With some training in business budgeting and accounting, also known as save some money for supplies even though you really want to help the kiddos, we should be in good shape moving forward.

After cleaning the agave, we peeled the outside off of it.

Both the insides and outsides were then cooked in mineral oil.

This is the giant burner used to cook with. It's powerful and sounds a bit like a small jet engine!

Mmmh! Petroleum jelly!

Ausi Tsietso with the giant spoon used to stir everything.

Sieving the chunks from the cooked agave.
Bottling the final product while it is still warm.

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