Monday, May 22, 2017

Preparations before the Month of Ramadan starts

We were all sitting in a cool shady spot at home in Kong as the sun was beating that Friday afternoon. It was the last Friday before the Month of Ramadan starts. We would have missed it if we wouldn't have been sitting there, when all of a sudden a long line of women loaded with wood on their heads, walked by. It was impressive! 
It's hard work getting wood walking a few miles into the bush, cutting trees, and carrying the load back home. That's not some thing women plan to do during the month of fasting. Weeks before Ramadan the women went to carry as much wood as they could to have enough for the next 4 weeks of Ramadan.
Cooking here in West Africa involves a lot of physical work. In the video the women from our neighborhood brought each a share of wood to the Imam of this part of town. If you watch it to the end, you'll see some cuties.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Washing of the Néré Seeds or Doing some Yoga in West Africa

Today I accompanied Mariam, my neighbor friend to the “marigot". In West Africa, a “marigot" is a water source fed by rains, over flows from a river or from underground. It’s free water and the ladies from Kong come here to wash anything what takes a lot of water, but nothing with soap as the water washes into the fields. Mariam had two big bowls filled with néré seeds still covered with the yellow powder. 

I helped her carry the utensils while she had the heavy stuff on her head. There was a big old well at the marigot where she immediately got water to fill the bowels soaking the powdered néré seeds. I started washing the seeds with her by hand.
The position we were doing it reminded me of my first yoga lesson for complete beginners which I had followed on YouTube. It was great being outside working alongside a friend, who was explaining me everything in Dioula I wanted to learn. It helped me to make progress in understanding the Dioula language better. 

Once the soaking was done, the yellow mud then needed to be sifted off the seeds. 

We finished just before noon and carried everything back home. It’s amazing how strong the women are and how hard they can work. There we put the wet seeds right in front of her court yard to dry on the asphalt. 

Natural solar energy is used here all the time to dry plants, piment (hot pepper), millet and corn powder, cloths, etc.