Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Finally! more pics from the ville...

so, this is me and some of the women in the chief's family sitting outside our compound at the pounders... we (me and Reaiah) sit here frequently and watch the women prepare the grains

me gettin my hair braided...
this is a grandaughter and a daugher of the chief

me in our compound stirring "the witch's brew" (at least that's what it looked like to us)... it's actually a bunch of the seeds from a fruit here that they will use to make oil from

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Chow Time
Eating in the village has become just another one of our daily adventures… you never know what you might eat.
For breakfast its almost always a soupy mixture of rice, water, milk, and sugar. Its actually really good and has become my favorite meal. Because its more of a liquid it is slurped with a large cup-like spoon.
Lunch is much less predictable. But it always begins with washing your right hand (the eating hand)—of course for us, they often give us spoons, so we don’t always have to wash our hand to eat… anyways, for lunch its rice with a sauce poured over it that consists of oil, tomato paste, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and a few other seasonings. Our village is near the water, so we’ve been blessed with fish a few times for lunch. Everyone sits or squats around a single large bowl, scooping rice and sauce up with their right hand. They ball it up in their fists, and then lick their hand starting from the palm upward toward the fingers. The whole process is quite appetizing… By the time your done your whole hand (and usually your mouth too) is covered in oily sauce and everyone must once again wash their hand (and mouth).
If it’s not rice and sauce then it’s a thick dough-like substance made from millet which is also dipped into a sauce. My least favorite sauce is made from leaves and looks like green (spinach-like) slime. It’s the hardest to eat, but as long as I can distract myself from the texture, it really doesn’t taste that bad.
After lunch you can fill yourself with as many mangoes as you can stand since our countryside is literally covered in mango groves. Peanuts are another favorite snack (and we’re told will make us really Maninka if we eat them…). There are a few other unfamiliar fruits here that the kids snack on, but we have only eaten them a few times.
For dinner it has usually been more rice cooked in seasoned oil.
After dinner, just in case we weren’t full enough, the boys get out their tea and we rarely make it to bed without having had our three shots of super-strength Malian tea.
If I get the chance, I will try to get some pictures of our food to show you, but my hands are usually too sauce-y to get the camera out…

I know some of you have been concerned about what it is we are eating out here in the bush. No, sorry, no bugs or leaves (Ok, there ARE leaves sometimes in the sauce, but not often…). But I want to assure you, our peanut butter and crackers are never far away, and our family here is constantly stuffing us with more food than we can eat. It may not be Momma’s home made cooking, but it works, and its usually pretty good.