Bramble Berry: Jeremy, give us a quick briefing on what you do in the Peace Corps and where you are right now.
Jeremy Davis:I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Ghana, West Africa. Ghana is an English-speaking nation in between C’ote D’Ivoire and Togo in sub-saharan West Africa. It is a very diverse country with some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. As part of training as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, a Volunteer will enter into the country, and undergo ten weeks of training before they start their two-year assignment. The ten weeks is spent living with a host family in a small community, intended to immerse the volunteer in the culture and to prepare them for their two-year service.Bramble Berry: So, tell us how you’ve learned about soaping?
Jeremy Davis: My host mother was a market trader. She and a group of women made local soap to sell at the market. Soap-making is considered an effective means of income generation for women in Ghana, and is thus promoted by small business advisors, local NGOs, and government agencies. My mother, Comfort Mensah, received her training in the late 1990s in how to make soap. She then progressively grew her business to a large size, with many other women working with her, and selling many bags per week at market.
Bramble Berry: What are the markets like?
Jeremy Davis: My training group was placed in communities around Techiman, a moderately-sized city located near the center of the country from north to south. Techiman has grown famous for its central market, which has thousands of sellers, traders, and buyers engaging in trade. Everything from farm produce, cloth, animals, housewares, and secondhand clothing is sold there. It’s an amazingly hectic place, something we never in the western world come close to experiencing. A flea market is, well, a flea compared to this giant.
Bramble Berry: What kind of soap does she make?
Stayed tuned! More to come from our over seas soaper, Jeremy.
I’ll be sure and ask him. He has only very sporadic email access so it might be a while.
Pajama Mama says
I was so engrossed in this interview with Jeremy that I was disappointed when it ended. Can’t wait for the 2nd installment.Fascinating!
Wow, this interview was cool! It’s great how soap is helping their local economy and to improve the standard of living for these women.
I’d like to know if the 2 soaps mentioned are used for different purposes or not, like for bathing or washing clothes only?
I am SO thrilled you guys like this interview.
When Jeremy agreed to the interview, I was so honored. I love that soapmaking provides income opportunities for people all over the world. It makes me love what I do even more.
Carrie ~ Gigi says
This story made me think of soap that came with a Bennington Pottery soap dish from Vermont. It was a little round yellow soap wrapped in a pretty red & yellow wrap. This soap was from India.
that’s really kewl. 🙂
That is an incredibly cool interview! sort of brings us all together now doesn’t it?
Heavenly Scent Soaps says
WOW – that is so interesting! I can’t wait to learn more!
It’s so great that a soap business can sustain and empower women anywhere in the world! Awesome!
Suds to Love says
What a great insight at how soaping is in other parts of the world. Thanks for blogging about this interview.
Little Shadow Creations says
~Great interview. It is always interesting to read about other cultures, especially crafting.