Recent Photos From Our African Neem Tree Orchard

You probably know that we make our body care products in Cary, North Carolina using Neem from Mauritania, West Africa.

BUT, did you know that your purchase of JustNeem products benefits communities in West Africa? It’s true! Through our project, Planting Seeds of Hope!

The purpose of this project is to provide independence and economic security to those in this impoverished area of the Sahara Desert. Mauritanian communities generate income through the harvesting of Neem leaves, fruit, and oil while improving both the health of their land and community members. You can read more about Our Mission on our website.

But first, enjoy these photos of our most recent trip! Peter, JustNeem Chairman and CEO, travelled to Mauritania to visit the community and see how the Neem Tree Orchard was doing. He has shared some of his photos and comments with us below…

Nouakchott, Mauritania Africa

I took this photo as the plane landed in Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania, West Africa. From this photo you can see the concentrated area of the city. As the city moves outward into the desert, these areas become the slums of the city. This is where we stay and begin our work.

 

Birger's office

This is Birger, who is the Director of E Pod. E Pod is an economic development organization and our partner in the Neem Tree Orchard project we created. This is their office in the city of Nouakchott.

 

Soap making

Before we departed for the orchard, we met with local women who learned how to make soaps through one of JustNeem’s workshops in Nouakchott. Many of them now sell these soaps in the local markets.

 

Dried Neem Leaves

Here are some Neem tree branches that have been pruned, washed, and dried. Mauritanian women will strip the Neem leaves and then pulverize them into Neem leaf powder. This is a very important ingredient in the Neem soaps they sell!

 

Sahara Desert camels

It is a six hour drive through the desert from the city of Nouakchott to the Neem Tree Orchard in Kaedi. Along the way, we saw these camels walking along in the Sahara. Not something we see here in the States!

 

On the road to Kaedi

A truck goes off the road and holds up traffic on the only road from Nouakchott to Kaedi. Everyone gets out to help.

 

At the Neem Tree Orchard

Finally arriving at the Neem Tree Orchard, we met with Keneme, our orchard manager, and his team. From left to right is Keneme, Abou, Sammba, Ousman, and Peter.

 

JustNeem Shirts

The group takes a moment to exchange gifts. We brought the men who work at the orchard some shirts from JustNeem headquarters in North Carolina.

 

JustNeem hat

Keneme made this hat from two large gourds. He sewed them together and carved this beautiful decoration into the hat – all by hand!!

 

Neem Trees

Here is a photo of the Neem Tree Orchard. These Neem trees are two years old and growing nicely. They will not blossom or produce fruits until they are approximately five years old. They’ll be in great hands with Keneme and his team taking care of them!

 

Water Tower

This is the water tower that we built last year. At the bottom of the tower, notice the black pipes extending out – those are drip irrigation hoses and they keep the trees nourished in the hot desert sun!

 

Time for lunch

Working in the desert is tough and you can really build up an appetite! Prepared food is brought to the orchard – ready to eat! – and then shared by all…

 

Meal time

Gathering under the shade of the Neem trees: this is what meal time is like in the desert!

 

Mango Trees

Here are some of the Mango trees that also grow in our orchard. At the time of this photo, the Mango trees were infested with very large locusts that were eating the leaves…

 

Natural pesticide

Neem is a powerful, natural repellant! I formulated an all natural pesticide made from Neem seeds to keep the locusts off the Mango trees. The top left photo shows fresh Neem seeds and dried Neem seeds side by side. I crushed the dried seeds into a powder using a rock.  We soaked the powder overnight with water and a little soap.

 

Natural pesticide

In the morning we filtered the Neem liquid and sprayed the Mango trees. This worked really well! The locusts no longer feast on the trees and we expect ripe, delicious mangoes in the next few months!

For updates on the Neem Tree Orchard, our work in Mauritania, and more (like coupon codes and special announcements!) subscribe to NeeMail!

Thank You For Your Support!!

10 % of our profit is reinvested in our Planting Seeds Of Hope project in Africa. Through our customers we are able to provide independence and economic security to those in Mauritania, plant thousands of trees in the Sahara Desert, and share the wonders of African Neem with you.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Judy
    Posted 03/15/2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    This was so interesting!! I just returned from Tanzania and so I marveled even more at your photos and descriptions. What a wonderful project and i love the products. Thank you for posting this.

    • leslie
      Posted 03/26/2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Judy for your lovely comments.

  2. Ric Olson
    Posted 04/14/2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    So glad to see the pics and hear how you are growing! May the Lord bless the work of your hands as you bless the people in Mauritania!
    Do you have excess neem seeds? We may be interested in buying some of them-

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