May 17, 2015

Bouillie, Dried Mangoes, and Cashew Apples


Malian dishes vary from region to region, but the staples are normally rice, millet, sorghum and fonio (a fine-grained cereal found in Africa). These are served with sauces of fish, meat or vegetables. Grains are often used to make porridges; for example, many Malian’s eat bouille for breakfast, a sweet milk and cereal dish which is a little like runny rice pudding.

 Tiny balls made from a mixture of different grains, drying in the sun

When the grains are dried, they are gathered and...

... packed in various plastic bags for easy shipping

 It is then cooked with water, and sugar and powdered milk (if available) by the women, and presented to the men for eating, for special occasions

Dried Mangoes
When produced on a large scale, mangoes are desiccated in large ovens.  Steps are illustrated here:

 Achat/Recolte --> Transport --> Murissement --> Triage --> Lavage --> Epluchage --> Tranchage/Coupe --> Mise en Claie --> Sechage --> Claieage --> Triage/pesage --> Conditionnement

 Drying Ovens

The finished product (ginger powder on the left, dried mangoes on the right)

Cashew Apples
Did you know that cashews actually came in this form?  People in the village tend to eat the fruit, and throw out the top part, which is the cashew...  Given how labor intensive it is to have to harvest cashews, I now understand why they are so expensive!

Chickens and Heat in Mali

We've been here nearly 6 weeks in the height of the hot season.  It's been a bit rough to go from -10c in Washington DC to almost 110c in Bamako.

Apparently, it's rough on the local chickens here too.  The price of chicken (whole, breasts etc) is a lot higher than beef.  This is something we were not expecting, especially since we expected cows to be more difficult to take care of than a few chickens running in the dusty side streets of neighborhoods.

People tell us that the chickens just don't do well in this intense heat.  As a result, there's less of them around than during the rain season.  Adeel also buys a lot of eggs on a weekly basis.  Every morning when he makes his omelette or hard boiled eggs, he exclaims with great surprise "these are the smallest eggs I've ever seen!"

Our eggs are colored with what we hope are speckles of mud (or chicken poo?)

Evolution of a Man Bun

I told Adeel early on upon our arrival that I really like Man Buns.  This is a prime specimen for example:


Adeel has been a great sport and indulged me in my preference.  He's been working diligently on growing his own man bun.

Back in January 2015, with our niece Zoe

March 2015, the hard Middle Period

The only way to deal with this hair is to slick it back, Used-Car Salesman Style

Now it's long enough to wear with a headband, basking in the glorious rays of the afternoon sun

I cant wait to see what next phase awaits us!