How to Package Pepper Powder

Step 1: Fill jars with a spoon, wearing gloves and long sleeves to protect skin. Mama Lukia (below) is always careful when handling the hot peppers.

Step 2: Carefully place the customized label on the container (as demonstrated by Bazu).

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Step 3: Open and place protective covering over the jar.

 

Step 4: Heat the jar over a flame (in this case, we interrupted Rama’s lunchtime cooking – thank you for your patience and generosity, Rama!). Hold the container about 2 inches from the flame for 3-5 seconds as the plastic tightens around it. The heat seals the container, completing the process.

Step 5: The product is ready for the market. Time to SELL!

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How To Make Pili Powder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Pepper Powder Spice Packs

The following is a guide to powdering hot cayenne peppers, as shown by Omari, Zakina, Mama Yusufu, Bazu and myself.

Step 1: After harvesting hot peppers, lay them out in the solar dryer for 19-30 days to dry thoroughly (depending on the weather – rainier seasons require a few extra drying days)

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Step 2: Twonga the peppers (mash them until they become powder)

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Step 3: Wear proper protective gear – put on extra layers, gloves, and a mask. Goggles are also helpful. These peppers are no joke! They burn. Safety is important.

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Step 4: Because the peppers were mashed with both the seeds and stems, you must now sift the peppers to get a pure powder.

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Step 5: Use your hands to sift through and make sure all powder has been salvaged.

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Read our next blog post to learn more about properly packaging this powder and sending it to the markets!

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International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to give a shout out to the women of Bombo Majimoto – the backbone of everything we do.

This year, the spotlight is on Swahiba. She is Bombo pikipiki driver Saidi’s wife, a mother of 6, and an entrepreneur with big ideas. She recently joined the 2Seeds Women’s Group in order to become an official part of the Network, make new connections, and learn new business skills.

When asked why she wanted to join the group, she responded:

“I have goals. Here, women do everything. I do all of the work in my family. I cook, clean the house, wash the dishes, get water from the well, wash all of the clothes of my family, carry firewood home, take care of the kids, sell tomatoes from the house, work on the farm everyday, and run all of the finances in my house. My dream is to start a business. I intend to use the knowledge I get and the connections I make to open a store and start a business. I want to exchange ideas with other women and see what people are doing in other places.”

Swahiba loves to learn and shares her innovative ideas daily. She has the heart and the mind to succeed, and now she is getting the tools/knowledge to succeed.

WANAWAKE WANAWEZA!

 

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Safi Sana!

Safi is Swahili for clean. On March 1 we had our first Usafi (cleanliness) day in Bombo! With majembe (hoes) in hand and smiles on our faces, we were ready to get to work. All of our building is officially finished, so it was about time we transformed this construction site into our work site.

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Our beautiful office and solar dryer, pre-sweeping and cleaning

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Bazu clears all of the weeds around the greenhouses

 

 

After 4 hours of work in the hot sun, we finally finished. We weeded and cleared all of the land surrounding our buildings, as well as our plot to farm on. We organized the storage unit and moved all of our supplies into it. We leveled and swept the inside of the solar dryer, removing all of the garlic remnants. We even prepped the land to plant garlic again. The site looks professional, presentable, and ready for growing/drying/storing/meeting.

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My feet after the day of work. First, clean the work site. Second, scrub my feet!

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Every Good Ending has a Twist, Right?

Well folks, I wanted you all to hear it here first: The Bombo Majimoto Project has officially come to an end. But instead of mourning, we are celebrating! Why?

Because we are now the BOMBO MAJIMOTO BUSINESS!

Last week, we had an eight hour meeting in which we completely overhauled our group, changed our perspective, and found our direction to Maisha Bora.

We have been waiting to have this important meeting until we sold all of our garlic. Last week, Omari and Hamdani went to Korogwe and Tanga (after analyzing our first round of sales and making an informed decision/plan with the entire group), and sold the remaining 150 kilos of garlic! Following that, we had the money and knowledge to put our group finances in order and set a plan for the future.

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Results poster from our group garlic sales, highlighting revenue, transportation costs, percent cost of transportation in total revenue, and our average price per kilo

 

We first went over individual production and financial information with the entire group. We recorded revenue and profit from the past three seasons, as well as loan repayment trends and savings contributions. We analyzed the group as a whole, and used this analysis to critically look at our project, and what that would look like as a business.

In order to transition into a self-sustaining business, we could no longer have group debts from past 2Seeds loans. We are thrilled to say that after the garlic sales, the Bombo Majimoto Business is OFFICIALLY DEBT FREE!

We are now transitioning our group savings into a group account in order to purchase inputs for the business moving forward. We decided in our meeting that the next crop to be planted will be cayenne peppers! This stems from another very exciting development in our business.

We have decided to powder both cayenne peppers and dried garlic in order to sell in higher-value markets like Dar es Salaam! We have already begun the process, and the containers and labels have come in. We hope to carry out a trial sale next week, and readjust our strategy according to the results.

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Mama Tatu powdering our garlic

 

In the Advanced Business Curriculum that my Partners are currently taking part in, they were asked what the difference between being a farmer and being a business person means. Many of my Partners were thinking about this question long after the lesson. A few days ago, as we were cutting garlic to prepare it for thorough drying, Bazu (Inputs Manager) described that farmers would see that our garlic is too small to sell in the market and let it rot in storage. Business people see this small garlic as an opportunity to be innovative, powdering it to create spice containers that sell at a higher value in the markets. Business people find treasure in what seems to be trash through thinking outside of the box.

After 1.5 years, my time here with 2Seeds is coming to an end, and I am thrilled that this ending came with a twist. We are no longer a malleable, fragile project. We are a business, with a plan, and we are moving full-steam ahead to Maisha Bora!

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2 Month Push!

Hey everyone!

The Bombo Project is in a critical state financially, and we need your support now more than ever. We must raise $3,000 ASAP in order to carry out the rest of the project activities before the end of my time here! Please, please, PLEASE consider making a donation or sharing this information with your networks!

The following are 2 different avenues to donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/pb6zf67k

https://2seeds.secure.nonprofitsoapbox.com/supportapc

Thank you,

Dom and the Bombo Team

 

 

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Cutting Garlic

2 weeks ago, we began cutting garlic. We spent days sitting all together laughing and telling stories until the sun went down, all while preparing our garlic to be graded and weighed. Who says work can’t be fun?!

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