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Seeing as I have now changed industry, I was glad to be able to find the time to attend an important conference in my new industry. The Ninth Annual Global Shea Alliance Conference was held in Accra, Ghana from the 21st of March till the 23rd of March, 2016. It was a very educative, enjoyable and insightful few days. I knew that not everyone would have made it there, but there was a lot to gain, so I tried to capture it in pictures, on my Instagram account. If you follow the hashtag #nninghana, you will find all my pictures about the conference and my trip. The highlights for me were:
The President of Ghana, coming for the conference, by himself (no representative). He was on time – no African time. He was awake through it all. He was able to reel out facts and figures about the Shea Industry. He appeared not to have any prepared speech but spoke eloquently all the same. I was so impressed.
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Hearing/Learning first hand what the challenges to the industry are. One can only right what one knows are wrongs. One of these challenges is the traditional belief in some areas that new Shea trees should not be planted. Another is the fair compensation and safety for the women who are in the forefront of picking these nuts and churning out the hand crafted butter.
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A bonus, was meeting Madam Fati Paul who has been a Shea Butter supplier to The Body Shop for 22 years. (Click on the picture to watch short video)
I wish I had gotten to see a bit more of the town but what I saw of Tamale and Accra pleased me. In many ways, I think that Africa is a country (at least West Africa) and this was re-emphasized for me in many ways.
I applaud the GSA for a good conference and look forward to attending the next one and the next one.
This is NOT a sponsored post and I did not get any free products for doing this post.
A few weeks ago, I went to Fig Store in Lekki. I daresay it is the first dedicated health store in Lagos. All the items have been picked out to support a natural and healthy lifestyle.
Their offerings range from cosmetics to vitamins. Grains to sweeteners and much more.
I got talking to the owner of the store, Bimbo, and asked her why she had decided to open the store. Apparently, her husband (and by extension the entire family) had to undergo a lifestyle change due to some medical issues. That was when she discovered how difficult it was to buy certain foods locally. This is something I fully understand as I have friends with autistic children who have to buy E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G from candy to milk abroad. Fig Store is helping to bring these foods closer to those who need them locally.
I was also glad to hear that they weren’t stopping there. They have ambitious plans to expand and add even more items to the store.
One of the things that I like about the store is that they offer to whip your shea butter free of charge there. So you can buy your Shea butter, oils and essential oils and have it all whipped and packed up before you leave the store. Free of Charge. Sweet deal, abi? They also mix black soap for you with camwood and more.
One of the items I have my eye on is a diffuser which I will use for aromatherapy at home. It is my intention to go back soon to pick it up.
Follow them on twitter here. They are located at 20, Fola Osibo Street, Lekki Phase 1.
Here are a few more pictures of the store.
Have some tea!
Remember local Pumice stones? I grabbed 3 of these.
My last post was about Apples and Oranges Spa offering free hairdos as a way of celebrating their first anniversary. They also used the opportunity to declare themselves a salon capable of handling natural hair.
I had already gotten my hair done, by them before that day but I popped on upstairs to get an affordable underarm wax (N 1,575). Interestingly, the natural hair stylist I spoke about here now works there. I did not know this the first time I went to Apples & Oranges but it was a pleasant surprise.
Anyhoo, they organized a whole event with speakers (I was one of them, Yay!), vendors (the Ahia was well represented) snacks, drinks and more. I met a lot of people and ran into people that I had seen at NITC as well. Hey, ladies*waves*!!
I did not take too many pictures but here are some of the ones I did manage to take. Enjoy!
At the meet up, a lady that had attended the last NITC and follows me actively on facebook came by my stall with her niece, Fernande Browne. Little did I know that meeting was going to change my hair styling woes forever.
Fernande Browne contacted me on Facebook a day or so later to say that she styles hair and would like to volunteer to speak at the next meet up. I have heard that claim quite a few times so of course I had to go and verify for myself. By Wednesday, I had presented myself to her with an open mind to see if she could substantiate her claim.Here is what I was looking for:
How she would part my hair
How she would comb my hair
What style she would give me – I left that up to her.
How long the hair style would last. (indication of the value I would be getting for my money)
After about 3.5 hours of working on my hair, here’s what I got.
Now, am I satisfied with this? On a scale of 1-10, I would easily give her a 9. I only deduct points for something which is not really her fault – my hair is like a dense forest and parting it is never an easy task – even when it is detangled. However, once I mentioned this to Fernande, she immediately tried to do it a bit gentler.Now, I will score her:
How she would part my hair (4/5). I have explained why above.
How she would comb my hair (5/5) –She held it at the roots and combed out the tips properly before tackling the roots. I hardly felt any pain.
What style she would give me – I left that up to her. (5/5) – She gave me a style which was wearable at the office – I did not look like a child which is what I have found that a lot of people that claim they do natural hair style my hair as – they don’t handle adult natural hair so cannot really come up with a style that would work for an adult.
How long the hair style would last. (indication of the value I would be getting for my money) – I honestly thought I was going to get a style that would last a few days, I was going to call a lady in to braid my hair on Friday but there is absolutely no need now. This hair style can absolutely last 4weeks if properly taken care of. I am probably going to do 3 weeks and go back to Fernande Browne for another style.
After she was done with my hair, I hugged her (I was so happy to have finally found a natural hair stylist that whom I could afford and whose work I did not have to “manage). You want to contact her? Let me know below and I will email you a number.
UPDATE: Fernande now works at the Apples and Oranges Spa in Lagos.
10 Balarabe Musa Crescent,
Off Samuel Manuwa, Opposite 1004 Flats,
NITC5 held in Lagos on the 6th of April. As always, we had a good turn-out. It never fails to surprise me just how many people come out to these events. While we have a team of people who have pretty much never missed an event, we also get new people at everyone. It is very humbling that we can draw such a crowd every time.
We had over 10 vendors in attendance selling products that a lot of people obviously came a long way to get. I would like to thank our vendors – apart from the fact that they ensure that all your junkie needs are met (and exceeded), they also help to fund the meet up and make it free for participants to attend. Another big supporter is the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi which allows us to use their space. They have a lovely garden with a water view where one can purchase drinks, snacks and food when not viewing the awesome paintings they have inside.
Unfortunately, we had some challenges on the day of the meet-up – a speaker could not make it, our compere – Chigo, was unavoidably absent, the projector didn’t work – but I think it worked out in the end. However, thanks to the experience at this meet up, we have determined that we will definitely begin planning for the next one earlier. The date has not been chosen yet but it will be in July.
We are already in talks with a stylist who will be on hand at the next one to offer tips, styles and more. Expect to see a few things being done differently at the next one.
Enough talk, you want to see the picture from the events…I have loads!
Let’s start with the close-up views of the hair styles that were on display that day.
Let’s look at faces now shall we? Pictures thanks to Maje Ayida of Eden Lifestyle
Sherese Ijewere of Caribbean Health Nigeria. Co-organizer of the Meet-Ups
Ladies, I hope this is sufficient proof that all are welcome – including those that have weaves and relaxed hair 😉
We love children!
Dr Ijewere, his wife Sherese, Lola of Namaste Organics and Maje Ayida of Eden Lifestyle
We had speakers who spoke (naturally) on several topics
Freddy of Freddy’s beauty touch. Cosmetologist talking about Growing hair healthy with Aromatherapy.
Sherese Ijewere of Carribean Health (Certified Nutritionist)
Maje of Edenlifestyle giving his perspective on natural hair
Dr Ijewere (Oncologist) receiving feedback after sharing his view on natural hair.
Feedback from audience member
Marionette giving her opinion
Now, let’s step outside. Omenka Gallery boasts a lovely garden and a calming view of the lagoon.
The African Naturalista Stand
Fashion Strings – Hair Accessories
The Bubble and Scents stand
Left: Namaste Organics stand on the left, Natural Nigerian stand on the right.
Sizelle Store Stand with Dr. Fomsky
The Namaste Organics Stand
There were more vendors there but unfortunately I don’t have more pictures…if I find some, I will upload them.
On Saturday 18th February 2012, Small World Nigeria held a food festival. 30/31 countries were represented and we had an amazing time sampling food and wines from the participating countries.
To give you an idea, there were wonderful deserts from Belgium, sauerkraut and sausages grilled to perfection from Germany, delicious pâté and cheeses from France, cheese and chicken pastries from Jordan, delightful sweets from Syria and so on and so on. For the wine lovers, there were red and white wines being served at the South African and French stands. Americans offered ginger root and lemonades among other things. By the time I had gone round to 15 stands I was stuffed but I kept on going!
About 3 hours into the event, they put on a circus show with representatives from the different countries performing. It all ended with a parade and fireworks. I score the organizers a 10/10. Things went on seamlessly and that takes effort and attention to detail.
Now, to the serious side of things. Small World Nigeria has over the last 17 years raised N274 million naira and supported 160 charities in Nigeria. For them, it doesn’t stop there. They ensure that all the money is accounted for and even follow up with inspections where possible to assure themselves that the money was used as intended. The night of this food festival, they raised N37million naira – all of which will go to support the different charities that were nominated by the different countries.
To learn more about them and possibly donate or volunteer your time, please go to their website here. I find that there is no better way to pass time than to spend it changing someone’s life for the better.
I forgot my camera at home and had to use my phone so please forgive the quality of the pictures below:
Walking into the venue
A view of some of the stalls.
Eating, Eating, Eating
The Jordan stand.
Sweets from Syria (hope your country pulls out okay!)
Getting a Falafel made at the (I have forgotten which country) stand
There was generally a menu so you could see what you were getting.
If you follow me on twitter (@naturalnigerian), you would have “heard” me mention attending African Dance Class. It is a great way to let off steam, exercise and learn some African dance moves. Can’t dance? It doesn’t matter as it is not a criteria. The only requirement is that you come with an open mind, ready to have fun.
I hardly sweat. I am the original Miss Cool. It takes a lot of physical exertion on my part to get me to break into a sweat so anything that has me dripping a few minutes is always welcome. This class had me jumping, twisting and working out every part of my body. The sound of the drums draw you in and encourage you to do more, do more!! One of the drummers even broke into song reminding me of Kegites (a fraternity) in Nigerian universities. It was really nice.
I went this Wednesday, camera in hand because I wanted to share pictures from the class with you. Thanks to the gracious ladies that gave their permission for the pictures to be taken and shared here.
Enough talking, here are the pictures:
The Crew with the drums
To the Left
Taking a well deserved break
Also available at the venue are healthy drinks and snacks made by Carib Health.
I look at the categories that I set up for this blog and I see that I have been dwelling on a few while ignoring others. That means that I am narrowing the scope of the blog down to a few topics although that was not my original intention.
So, today I am speaking on something that falls into my “Out and About” category. I am a quite a homebody and I was hoping that by putting this category out there I would be inspired to go out and take pictures of interesting places and share them on the blog under said category. I do have a few pictures which I will put up soon.
Today’s post has more to do with blog hopping. This week, I went to check on a wedding website that I first visited in 2006. Yep! That long ago. I have checked in with them infrequently since that time.
How did I find them? Someone put several links to wedding websites on her blog a long time ago and out of curiosity, I clicked on a few. The one that really drew my attention was this one www.emekaputsngozifirst.com
The first thing that got me was the name of the website: Emeka puts Ngozi first. Amen, somebody! That is what being a couple is about, isn’t it? After reading their story and viewing their pictures, I was really drawn to this couple’s story. They even put up pictures of their honeymoon and following that, a family portrait of them with their daughter. I think love should always be celebrated . Don’t you?
A blogger that I like a lot is organizing fitness classes in Lagos on the 16th of October. Click here for more details.
If you are anything like me, you want to know where things come from and how they are made. Some time ago, I found this video on how women in Mali process shea butter. It is a lot of hard work especially when you consider how cheap Shea butter is.
Please buy fairtrade Shea butter whenever you can. That way you know that the women who labour to process Shea butter from its nuts have a good chance of receiving a good price for it.
Picture taken with my phone (not too clear)
I saw this lady in Lagos Island and was very pleased at how easy it is to find this wonderful butter locally.
I have to admit though that I tend not to buy Shea Butter in Nigeria because I do not trust that it is unadulterated (one of my silly tendencies). I have been buying my supplies from Ghana. I have however just recently discovered a vendor who directly manufactures her own Shea butter in Oyo state and I shall be contacting her soon. Wherever possible, I like to buy local.
In a few weeks, I will do a post on this wonderful thing called Shea butter which can be used in cosmetics preparations, in medicinal ointments and even for cooking.