West Africa

                       06 Dec 2007

(sequence length 4 minutes 11 seconds)

Making Palm Oil

Dantomba, Ivory Coast

December 2000

I am Zo and my family owns a place on the mountainside near our village. We have made palm oil there for several years. Getting the oil from palm nuts is hard work but it is important work for my family. We sell the oil to our neighbors in Dantomba who use the palm oil for cooking.

We walk up this small trail for about an hour to reach our camp that is next to a clear mountain stream. The forest gives many different products including bananas, coffee, cocoa … but we are looking for the palm nuts from these tall trees.

My younger brother, Mark, is responsible for gathering the palm nuts as well as keeping the palm trees producing. First, he climbs the tree and then trims the bottom branches from the tree before collecting the nuts. We have already harvested the nuts from this tree and I am showing you how he trims the tree.

My family collects the nuts from the tree as they fall and takes them to our camp to be crushed.

We wash the nuts and put them in this rock pit for crushing. We work together to crush the nuts. For me this is the hardest part since the palm nuts have a hard shell and they must be completely mashed to get the oil out.

I am Clarice, Zo’s wife, and it is my responsibility to get the oil from the mashed nuts. First, I soak the mashed nuts in hot water to separate the oil from the fiber. I squeeze the fiber to get as much oil as I can. This water-oil mixture is then put in a cooking barrel to remove the water. The water settles to the bottom and the oil is on the top. I maintain high quality oil by filtering out all the small bits of palm nut shells and fiber.

I cut the wood for the fire and Zo puts the right amount on the fire to keep the mixture hot … but not too hot … otherwise the quality of the oil will not be good.

This is my family. We will work several days to get about 10 gallons of oil that we will sell to our friends in the village.

…Pray for these Christians

…Pray that they will be a light in the spiritual darkness of the village of Dantomba.

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