Kong, Thursday, 30th March 2017
Everywhere I go here in Kong I see women going or coming back from the bush loaded with big bowls on their heads filled with the fruit or better said, beans from the Néré tree.
Last Saturday, I accompanied Mantènné, a neighbor lady to pick Néré. “An ka taga kongo ra ka néré tigé.” We went into the bush to pick Néré. Mantènné carried a big bowl with bottles of water and some food and I pulled a long picking stick along. It was a beautiful walk through mango and cashew fields until we found some big Néré trees further on and started picking the beans. It was harder then I thought. I had a hard time balancing the long picking stick aiming to catch a batch of beans. My arms tired quickly. But Mantènne and Aminata, who we met there, were amazingly strong in my eyes. In the end I picked up all the fruit from the ground.
Last night we cracked the Néré shells open to get the seeds out which are bedded in a yellow powder. The powder is sweet and delicious. The kids here love it. But for you it may be kinda chalky and strange tasting.
This morning we processed the beans; first washing off the yellow powder, then boiling them for quite a while. After they were drained we pounded them with sand to get the black peal off the tiny beans. Then the sand needed to be washed off and the clean white pealed beans needed to be cooked again.
isn't it a little bit like gold washing?
Monday, 3rd April 2017
Walking through Kong, I see nearly in every courtyard women pealing and pounding Néré. Mantènné since went twice or more back to the bush to pick more Néré. Her whole living room is filled with Néré which need to be pealed by hand. Guess what I was doing the past few days. It’s a great way to listen to Dioula and learn some more new words and trying to take part in a conversation as we sit together around a big bowl which slowly is filling up with the yellow beans.
Why all this hard work you are asking? It’s to make Sumbara. After the cooked beans are all dried in the sun, you make little balls out of them and dry them again. These are sold in the market like bullion cubs which make a delicious sauce which is rich in protein to put over rice or to eat with “Kabato”.