Toolbox Initiative - West Africa Rolling Mill Donation
Pepetools is proud to partner with the wonderful folks at Tool Box Initiative. Famed authors, publishers, and jewelers Tim McCreight and Matthieu Cheminée. Since 2013 Pepetools has donated rolling mills, mandrels, and other items to be distributed by this wonderful organization to jewelers in West Africa. On their most recent trip, Tim shared a few photos and a story on the deleivery of the most recent rolling mill.
Nestor came to pick me up at the hotel this morning. Yesterday we made a plan to visit a woman jeweler named Colette, who Tim and I met on our last trip. We think she is the perfect person to receive a rolling mill generously given by Pepetools.
Did you ever ride a motorcycle? On a loose-packed dirt road? With a rolling mill on your lap? Well, I can say I have now, though it's not an experience I'd recommend just for fun. In this remote area, houses are widely scattered and paths outnumber roads, so motorcycles are by far the preferred way to get around. We rode south to the edge of the city of Kpalimé, then turned onto a dirt road running uphill for several miles to reach Colette' s house.
It is impossible to describe her joyful reaction when we presented the rolling mill to an unsuspecting Collette. I am the lucky one who was there to receive all the hugs. I also gave her a drawplate, and with these two tools, Colette is now fully independent.
Nestor helped her install the handle. Nestor is the jeweler who brought us to Colette last year, and you could tell this time how grateful she was that he made this connection. She thanked him repeatedly and patted his back affectionately.
We rode back to town, stopping at Nestor's house to pick up his tools before going to his workshop where he demonstrated how to make a couple chains. I have more tools to give, but jewelers don't usually work on Sundays so I'll do that tomorrow when they are back in their workshops.
I asked Nestor to drop me at the market, which is always a treat for me. I truly love walking through West African markets, getting lost among the acres of stalls where you can find just about anything. The colors and the mix of smells, from the fruits to the smoked fish are just amazing. From there I went back to the hotel then went for a long walk in the hills.