Today we had an awesome time visiting some of the ladies at the Emmanuel Society (congregation) in Siteki which is on the eastern side of Swaziland. On Tuesdays, some of the ladies of this Society get together and make things to sell in order to make money for their projects or to buy parcels to give to the elderly and OVCs at Christmas time. They make things such as Vaseline and a soup mix called "archer." Soon they are going to learn to make floor polish. Who would ever guess a few ladies could make Vaseline in their church kitchen? Not me. Here's how it's done:
The ladies cut leaves from the sisal plant which is a cactus type plant with long pointed leaves. They look very similar to some of the sturdier Yucca's that grow everywhere in Texas. Then they cut up the leaves and the fibers are pulled out of the leaf and discarded.
The pieces of sisal are then boiled in Hydraulic oil to extract the juice:
The juice and oil mixture is then strained.
Pure white Petroleum Jelly is melted.
Then a the sisal juice/oil mixture is added to the petroleum jelly and stirred until it is a very clear liquid.
A little bit of lemon scent is added and then the liquid is poured into containers to cool.
Once the containers are cool, it is ready to be sold.
Stripping the leaves of all of the fibers takes the most amount of time. But it was the most precious time because we could sit and listen to the ladies talking while they worked. I understood a very few words scattered throughout their conversations but it was music to my ears.
The amazing thing about these ladies is that they have a heart for mission. They are few in numbers but joined together to initially buy the supplies to start this venture and then work together to make the product and sell it. The profits are used to help those in need. The spirit these ladies have and the dedication is contagious and very inspiring. These ladies truly have a servant's heart and know how to use it. Every Tuesday they gather together to do their projects. They were so excited that we joined them today because as they said: "many hands make the work small." Please say a prayer of thanksgiving for these wonderful Christian ladies who are a shinging example for us all. They are (from left to right): Fikile, Dinah, thoko, Yvone, Mirriam, Lettie and Margaret.