Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Things

Kola nuts, or goro in Pulaar, are something you give to someone here when you want to show that you respect them or to mark a special occasion, like a baptism. In my village pretty much all the elderly people are big fans of kola (and the caffeine that they contain) and many have the battered orange teeth to prove it. Once you break the nut open the white nutmeat rapidly oxidizes (I think that's what it's doing, anyway) and turns brownish orange. They're way too bitter for my taste (and I like to drink strong black coffee) and I don't like the weird alum-like thing that they do to your mouth. Also, being American, I have a the usual aversion to things that mess up my teeth.

Kola Nuts

Bissap is the best thing that you can possible hope for  when you're sitting in a hot car on a long trip. When you're on a long trip and your car goes through a village or police checkpoint people frequently run up to the door to shove thing through the window to try to get you to buy something. (This happens to everyone, not just people who are obviously foreigners.) A lot of the time it's cold, greasy fried dough, or warm bananas, or sachets of peanuts, but sometimes it frozen juice packets, and that's wonderful.
Frozen Bissap Juice

It's heating up in my village, which means that mango season isn't far off. In the meantime the papayas are starting to get ripe. My host brother cut down the first ripe one on the tree behind my hut, and we sliced it up and ate it. It was pretty good, but it turns out that I'm not nearly as big a fan of papayas as I am of mangoes. Mangoes are perfect, and papayas (to me at least) are kind of just like bland cantaloupes. It's fresh fruit, though, so I wouldn't turn it down.

My First Papaya

My Papaya Tree
Papaya Close-Up

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