We toured many of the fields of Lungun Dankande Village on our second day. Some of the fields were maybe an acre or two. Others were more like garden plots. Keep in mind, I am from Nebraska. The fields in our great state stretch as far as the eye can see!
As we toured the fields, we noticed some Fulani who lived temporarily in Lungun Dankande Village. Fulani are typically nomadic, and in this case herded cattle. The men herded and tended to the cattle from day-to-day. The women were very entrepreneurial and made their own money by selling a unique product made from cow’s milk.
Fulani women milked the cows and then cooked the milk and let the milk sit overnight in bowls made from gourds or mettle kettles until it became a gelatinous sort of consistency. They would bring the bowls to the fields and add sorghum and sugar to the gel-like milk substance. They would then sell their recipe as a meal to the farmers who were working in the fields. The farmers, who were a long way from the village, could have a short lunch break so they could get back to work. The entrepreneurial Fulani women would make their own money by selling a convenient lunch to the farmers.
After discussing and studying this entrepreneurial endeavor, I tried to talk to the Fulani women who were selling their food. They would not look at me. Our guide told us they were typically very shy and leery of strangers. I was intrigued but had to wait until day three to talk with the Fulani women.
When we came back the next day, one of the young Fulani women told our guide that I was now her friend and that she wanted to give me a gift. I did not want to take a gift from her because it was really me who should have been giving the gift! Instead of taking a gift from her, I asked her for a picture of the two of us together. She agreed. I had my picture taken with a hard-working, beautiful, and enterprising young Falani woman. She wanted a copy of the picture but I had no way of getting it to her at the time. So, if anyone knows how to get a picture to a Fulani woman who does not have an address, let me know! Even after all the years that have passed, I would love to get the picture to my Fulani friend in Nigeria!
What amazed me most about many of the people in Nigeria was either their ability to be self-sufficient or their reliance on others to help them. It appeared that there were two extremes in culture and people. The Fulani women were especially enterprising and made me realize the importance of helping individuals develop their own entrepreneurial capacity.
This trip truly changed my life and the way I view leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. Nigeria was a large part of my desire to conduct research designed to help develop the entrepreneurial capacity of individuals while inspiring innovation. Thus, Wild Innovation was born and wants to help make the world a better, more entrepreneurial and innovative place for everyone and everything!