At the start of rainy season, on evenings after heavy rains, we often get thousands of large flying termites swarming around our outside lights.
Growing up in Ivory Coast, I learned that these little buggers are edible. If you put a bucket with water below a light you can swat the flying insects into it where they’ll be stuck in the water. After collecting a bunch, you then go about the slightly time consuming task of plucking of their wings. By the time you finish and have a mass of termite torsos they will have all drowned and died.
Then you melt some butter in a frying pan and fry the termites up. Add a little salt, and… Tada! Your tasty treat is ready. They all puff up and get crunchy – a great alternative to popcorn for your next movie watching experience.
As in many places with large Muslim populations, the local butchers observe halal practices, meaning that the meat is slaughtered and prepared according to the Islamic dietary law as dictated by the Quran. In Nalerigu, our primary butchers are in the central market and only deal in cow, sheep and goat meat. For “unclean” meat like pork, you have to find a non-Muslim butcher.
There’s a guy nicknamed Secretary that I go to for pork but on a recent visit, he said didn’t have any pork. I asked what was cooking in the pot and he replied, “Dog.” Always up for trying something new, I bought a hind quarter for about $3.50 and headed home.
It was Friday, which means pizza night, so Heidi put some of the meat on a pizza. Trey complained that it was a bit too chewy. I also took some ribs and flank and roasted them in the oven slathered in barbecue sauce. Trey loved that because it became more tender.
Cuisine in northern Ghana is always interesting!
* Note: My family has pledged not to eat our pet dog Buster.
** Additional Note: The dog we ate had been hit by car and had to be put down. He was not a stolen pet or raised for the purpose of becoming a pizza topping.
My friend Ibrahim gifted me some yam seedlings after his harvest last year and we’ve had them in storage in the pantry for months. Now that the rains have started, our babysitter Talata suggested I plant them. The next day her husband James showed up with two hoes and we got to work!
Twenty-one mounds and a whole lotta sweat later, the yams were planted in my front yard. I’ll need to weed them every three or four weeks but other than that we just pray for rain and wait for the harvest.
It seems a bit counterintuitive, but some of our best, locally-grown veggies only show up at market in the dry season. You’d think they’d be abundant in the rainy season but too much sporadic rain during and a multitude of pests make gardening difficult. Farmers are also more focused on ploughing, sowing, and weeding their main staple crops of corn, millet, beans, and groundnuts.
In the dry season, those with access to plots by the creek can maintain healthy vegetable gardens if they are willing to do the hard work of irrigating the crops. And it’s hard work! Very few of the gardeners can afford a water pump (or the fuel to run it) so they manually carry 10-gallon jugs of water up and down from the creek. Humidity stays below 10% most of the dry season while temperatures can hit 110F so the plants need a lot of water.
Just south of Nalerigu is the predominantly Bissa village of Nagboo that is known for its dry season gardens. Most of its produce ends up at the Nalerigu market for sale. These gardeners produce cabbage, lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, hibiscus, and amaranth greens.
I recently biked down to Nagboo with just a DJI Mavic drone and an iPhone and took some photos and video of the gardens. The gardeners were very gracious and happy to show off the fruit of their hard work.
Every Sunday when we get back to Nalerigu from attending church in a village, we swing by ALL THERE CHOP BAR to grab lunch. Our friend Candy runs the business which is across the street from the Presby Church. The ladies there prepare local staples fufu, banku, kenkey, tz, and rice along with light soup, groundnut stew, and shito.
William likes to get banku and light soup and the rest of the family enjoys kenkey with groundnut stew. Our Sunday lunches cost us 3 Ghana cedis which is about 70cents US. And we usually can’t eat it all so Buster gets the left overs!