A Journey of Discovery ‘Africa’s Miracle Oil’
Marula oil is one of the key ingredients in Bean Burst products; I had the pleasure of discovering it during one of my trips toNamibia in South West Africa.
After my 7th visit to Namibia, I’m still surprised at the build-up of excitement that comes with booking my trip. Known as “Land of the Brave”, it is #No.1 on my long list of visited countries. A step-back from the sidewalks of ‘western society’, it is a taste of wild Africa mixed with the warm comforts of home. The Namibian Experience is one that many have not yet discovered.
It’s been 8 months, 4 days and 2 hours since my last trip to Namibia. It never ceases to amaze me how much I miss this country with its diverse culture and breath-taking landscapes.
Blossoming from the uniqueness of this incredible place are the Owambo people, the largest of the many native Namibian tribes. (Owambo pronounced ‘Ovambo’). This community of people speak a traditional ‘bantu’ derived language called Oshiwambo and make up over half of the Namibian population.
During my latest trip to Namibia I decided to take the unpredictable bus journey to the North. Owamboland, the cultural heart of the country, is ripe with traditions, customs and distinctive ways of life.
Northern Namibia opened my eyes to a different way of life. Unambiguous, relaxed and detached from the suffocating fumes of western existence.
By stepping out of my comfort zone and into the outback I was able to concentrate on developing a sense of awareness; engage in the smells, sights, sounds, and attractions of this incredible place.
Marula Oil #NaturesGift
One tradition that sparked my interest was that of ‘Okuyenga’, the making of Marula oil. The Owambo people traditionally used this oil for cooking and medicinal purposes. Today Marula oil is a frequently used ingredient in luxury cosmetic products due to its abundance of skin benefits.
My interest grew from the recycling nature of this process, each and every part of the plant was utilised. Watching this made me feel free from the wasteful habits of my own culture.
The process: Marula oil comes from the fruit of the Marula tree traditionally known as ‘Ongongo’.
The ripened fruit falls from the naturally grown Marula trees and is usually collected in handmade baskets by the Oshiwambo ladies of the village. Using a goat’s horn the Ongongo fruit is split and drained of its juices, which are collected in containers and left to ferment over a number of days to make traditional cider. The flesh of the fruit is discarded and used as a fertiliser or fire source within the homesteads. The remaining seed is then placed in the sun for a number of weeks to dry out.
Once dried, the Ongongo seed is cracked, using traditional tools for the purpose of extracting the creamy inner Marula kernels. The kernels are extracted using flattened steel wire tools handmade by the young Oshiwambo men.
When enough kernels are collected they are taken to the homesteads for pressing, traditionally this has been done by hand. This process forces the pure Marula oil from the kernels. This oil is then bottled and used or sold for multiple purposes.
My Personal discovery…
The nature of our daily lives can become ambiguous and confusing. We all have the ability to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone. If we choose to open ourselves up to the possibility of experience, we allow ourselves to be enriched with knowledge and understanding of other cultures. My experience gave me an insight into the complex creation of ‘Africa’s Miracle Oil’ and its abundance of benefits for our health and skin.
(To discover more benefits of Marula Oil in Bean Burst products, go to the benefits page www.beanburst.com/benefits)
Love Samantha xxxx