ALAFFIA How one cou­ple started their own busi­ness—not to make money, but to stop poverty in Africa

Amazing Wellness - - HERBAL HEALING -

From the out­side, the of­fices and fac­tory of Alaffia, one of to­day’s fastest-grow­ing nat­u­ral com­pa­nies, might seem or­di­nary. But one step in­side the beauty man­u­fac­turer’s cor­po­rate of­fices in Olympia, Wash.—adorned with brightly col­ored walls, one-of-a-kind art, and beau­ti­ful teak wood from Africa—and you know that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Amer­i­can busi­ness.

In fact, from the very start, the story of Alaffia has been an un­com­mon, al­beit ex­cep­tional, one. It be­gan with love in the small West African coun­try of Togo. Dur­ing the 1990s, Rose Hyde, an Amer­i­can from ru­ral Washington, was work­ing as a Peace Corps vol­un­teer in Africa, teach­ing lo­cals about sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices. Tere, she met Togo na­tive Olowo-n’djo Tchala. Tey were from op­po­site ends of the globe and com­pletely dif­fer­ent cul­tures, but the two con­nected in­stantly. Te pair loved hav­ing long talks to­gether, and spent hours lost in deep con­ver­sa­tion about ev­ery­thing from global pol­i­tics to phi­los­o­phy. Tchala grew up in a 2.5x3–foot room in Cen­tral Togo with his mother and seven sib­lings. By the age of 5, he was work­ing on his mother’s farm, and by the 6th grade, he dropped out of school to work full time. Tis in­cluded col­lect­ing shea nuts to sell at mar­ket. He couldn’t have known then, but shea nuts would come to fgure promi­nently in Tchala’s life.

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