Written by Hailey
We have been quite busy in Tabora the past couple of weeks and we want to take this time to share some our latest updates.
New product: candied peanuts!
In December we started producing candied peanuts using a simple recipe of peanuts, sugar and cinnamon. This product falls under our “new & innovative” category along with sweet popcorn. It seems to be a hit in Korogwe and we are selling them regularly to two shops in town. We are still in the process of introducing them to shop keepers and customers and we expect to sell in more stores soon. We are also excited to send our first batch to the next Dar Farmer’s Market!!
Sample days in Korogwe
In an effort to introduce our new products to the Korogwe community, we have had two sample days where we went into town with several partners and pre-packaged samples of sweet popcorn and candied peanuts. We also brought packages to sell and both times we sold out of everything!! Our partners seemed to have a lot of fun and even the ones who tend to be a little quiet were engaging with people on the streets and encouraging them to taste our products. During our second sample day, we ventured to the Korogwe bus stand, which can be quite chaotic with people reaching up to passengers in the buses trying to sell crackers, sodas, and other various products. Mama Kitojo took it upon herself to do the same! She marched right up to one bus as it was getting ready to leave and offered samples to passengers. It was definitely a site to see! Since these sample days there have been several occasions where we have been in Korogwe doing errands and people working in the market have come up to us asking for candied peanuts. We also built a relationship with a new shop that has started selling our products. Sample days aren’t that common in Korogwe and we think we made an impression with our new products and our group’s charisma and energy! We are hoping to get back out there with dried fruit!
The group’s kitchen continues to undergo renovations as we just recently built a new stove! Now, this isn’t any old stove; it is made out of clay and bricks, it requires only a small amount of firewood, and it produces less smoke in the kitchen! Until recently we had been using a traditional stove constructed out of rocks and it created mass amounts of smoke that filled the kitchen and our lungs. During cooking sessions most of us would tear up because of the smoke and we were using a lot of firewood. In mid-December we invited a trainer from the mountains to facilitate a demonstration and together the group built their very own mud stove. This stove has two stove tops which allow us to cook two things at the same time! Upon seeing how useful this stove could be, Mama Asha and Mama Aggie took it upon themselves to build mud stoves in their homes the very next day! Both of them cook large quantities of food to sell in Tabora every day, so this was a great addition to their businesses!
On the same day as the construction of the mud stove, we had fundis from Korogwe come to Tabora to install the storage unit for the solar drier! The drier has somewhat of an awkward shape and the task of building a home for it was a difficult one as we needed to consider several things: it needed to be secure, able to withstand the elements, and capable of containing the drier during drying periods. The drier is rather heavy so we needed to construct a permanent structure that would be able to let sunlight in without having to move the drier every time we needed to use it. Fundi Ali from Korogwe took on the challenge and crafted a beautiful structure out of strong metal that has several locks, two doors which enable us to easily open the drier, and doors that allow for the passage of air into the drier.
Since the installation of the storage unit, we have done several trial runs with mangoes, bananas and pineapple! What we’re finding is that we need to use somewhat unripe fruit because fruit that is too soft takes a really long time to dry and it doesn’t end up drying all the way. Also, we have been doing research about how to cut each kind of fruit and how to best prepare them to be dried. We are continuing to do trial runs and conduct research until we have mastered the process and can start selling them in Korogwe and Dar. This week we are trying papaya in addition to bananas and pineapple!
This year, 2Seeds launched a business training curriculum that is intended to introduce our partners to key business concepts and offer a comprehensive training on business management. The curriculum features ten sessions on the following topics: basic concepts of finance (revenue, profit, costs, trade-offs), personal finances vs business finances, record-keeping, decision-making, savings, return on investment, goal-making and constructing a business plan. So far we have already had three sessions and the group seems to be grasping all of the key concepts. It’s been great to see them integrate what they are learning into our work every week. During each cooking session we have been recording all of the input costs and calculating revenue from sales. We think this training will be exceptionally helpful in equipping our partners with the tools they need to run the business and we also think it will help them with their personal financial matters. Several of our partners have their own businesses and until recently many of them were unaware of the difference between revenue and profit. We are hopeful that these trainings will encourage them to keep records of their inputs (even their personal costs at home) and make smart decisions with their businesses!
Tabora project site meeting
At the very end of December we hosted the Project Coordinators from Kwakiliga, Dar, and Bombo Majimoto for our first Project Site Meeting in Tabora. Our neighbors (especially all of the kids) and partners were so excited to receive them and we had a full day and a half of touring the village, having lunch with our partners, engaging in team building activities and playing with the kids! During our discussion we reflected on the changes we have made in our project sites and the foundations we are continuing to lay for future PCs; we discussed the ways in which we can be intentional about our decision-making so that our projects can become self-sustaining. At the end of the day we organized a fun activity with about 30 of the neighborhood kids in which they were all given different colored fabric and there were “color monsters” in the middle who called out food of various colors and the objective was to run to the other side of the field without getting “eaten!” It was a really fun way to engage our visitors with our super energetic friends.