The African Giveaway!!!

Yes I do have something to give away... a little souvenir from my visit to Port Harcourt for a lucky reader... but first... a little round up of what I think everyone gained from the whole thing...

Our hosts... ESI... Empowerment Support Initiative. Empowerment is a very strong word and its not always easy to empower people. People have to be open to the concept of empowerment before they can be empowered. ESI have certainly set themselves a very high goal, but a necessary one... it is no longer acceptable to simply hand out 'freebies' to people in need.

Our Trainees... Opportunities in life can also not simply be given away... unless people are ready to reach out and take advantage of these opportunities, ready to put in the hard work that is required in order to be successful... and as is evident everywhere, only those who are prepared to do this will ultimately be successful. With careful and considered support and back up by ESI we may well have sewn the seeds for future entrepreneurial enterprises in soap and related industries in Rivers State. And for the not so entrepreneurialy minded individuals who attended our courses, I hope that they have at least had a glimpse into what empowerment actually means. And then if not this time... then perhaps the next time an opportunity presents itself, they will be ready.

Me... Oh yes I gained a great deal. I have certainly grown as a person. Seeing how other people live is always a worthwhile experience, especially when you see people who have nothing... and I mean absolutely nothing by our standards, people who are still able to laugh and sing and dance and are genuinely thanking God for the life they have... it is very humbling.

Talking of laughing and singing and dancing... they didnt miss a single opportunity to do all three and I just got carried away with it all and joined in... in fact we all did. Which brings me to the Bootie Shake! To do the Bootie Shake successfully you have to bend over, wiggle your knees until your backside wobbles and keep it in time to the music. Easier said than done when you also have to keep the rest of your body relatively still. We did have a laugh trying to emulate them all... and I think they thought it was really funny too.

Now it is impossible to convey the Bootie Shake in still photographs and after a while I had to stop taking pictures since all I had were shots of girl's asses... !! But the award for the best Bootie Shake by one of us goes to Monica!!!!!!!!!

If you have been following carefully all our exploits in Port Harcourt you will know that getting to the shops was no mean feat. But it was arranged and we were all able to buy some little gifts to take home. I purchased 2 long kaftans for the male members of the family (and a traditional Nigerian man's hat)

and some fabric for the girls at home.

and this.....

it's a keyring in the shape of a little flip flop. It's only about an inch long and kinda cute and it's going to be given away to a person (I shall use a computerised random number chooser thingy...) who leaves a comment to tell me which part of the whole SoapMission Africa saga they liked the best and why? Even if you live a long way away... don't worry... just leave a post (be sure to include an email addy) and on 24th June (my daughter's birthday) the lucky person will be chosen. I will then contact you for your address and get it into a post for you. After that it will be back to normal life,... ah well all good things come to an end! I still have my wonderful memories.


  1. hehe! I always wondered how they did that booty shake thing ... My favourite post - although i've loved and been intregued and inspired by ALL of them ofcourse was the tailors post. Just the thought of those men with treadle's on their bicycles!!! x

  2. Wow, I have to agree with JuliaB - ALL the posts have been wonderful. However, I have to say that I liked the rain post the best. I picture Africa as a very dry place - not hot and humid. So your post made me do some looking into the weather in Africa and I've learned a lot. What impressed me the most was how YOU folks kept working - no matter the situation. HAZAAA to all of you.
    Sandy Marie

  3. Your description of the tailors brought back such memories for me from my flying days. I often had garments made for me around the world - always by men with a portable sewing machine. They'd run up a dress in a couple of hours, and sometimes they'd suggest a hat to match; always beautifully made and a joy to wear. These were highly skilled tailors working for themselves and very much appreciated by me. Many thanks for re-kindling these memories! Jane xx

  4. Wow, I really enjoyed all of it also. I must say, from one who spends the majority of her time in filthy rags and muck boots or crocs (: , I really enjoyed the beautiful clothing, as well. So full of life and colorful. Also the actual soap making, and how you adjusted the process to local ingredients and conditions.

  5. Wow -what an amazing adventure and what stories. I remember when i moved to the mediterrean and we had 3 or 4 months without rain and the feeling of relief and joy when it arrived had us in the street, faces to heaven and tongues out catching raindrops. At that moment I thought I had a tiny insight into what joy rain brings to hot countries and to do dry areas. Who'd have thought it brits missing the rain ??


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