Question: if you look under a Shea tree sometime between May and July, what will you see? Last week’s answer might have been children, picking the delicious shea fruit to eat and sell. This week, we can add in the tell-tale signs of all the fruit that got left behind, signs left by an unusual ally…
…animals! You see, in Shea Fruit season the fruits grow in such abundance that even with all the picking and enjoying, only a tiny portion of the total wild crop is collected and eaten. The rest stays on the tree to be enjoyed by birds, or falls to the ground where it is enjoyed by all kinds of animals and insects. And once they have picked off all the delicious flesh, they leave under the tree a treasure trove of wonderful fruit pits. They don’t realize it, but these helpful animals have completed the first stage in the shea butter process, making it possible to collect this priceless throw-away. That’s why you will see women and children scouring the countryside, searching under the trees for the pits which will lead to the wonderful shea butter that Baraka Supplies then shares with the world. The pits are carefully collected in baskets and pans [click for video] and taken home for drying. As a thank you, a few pits are always left under the tree; nature can then takes its course, sprouting new Shea Trees for the future.
Your partner in helping women and families in Northern Ghana,