Thursday, June 1, 2017

Farming in Sierra Leone

Palm Wine

We watched a guy in a palm tree outside of our compound preparing to make palm wine.  He is cutting off the fronds preparing to make a hole in the tree.  As best we understand, it is like tapping a sugar maple to get the maple syrup.  He is  tapping it to get the palm juices to make  “palm wine”.  The juice comes out white or milky.  They make a hole into the core of the tree.  They put a tap in it, collect the juice, and let it sit for about 3 days to collect and ferment.  Then they fill bottles with it and sell it.  We have been told it is good and makes them tipsy, but we have not tried it and do not intend to.  It has been fun to watch.

As you can see from the pictures they have tapped the tree and are collecting the “palm wine”.  They will collect about 2 gallons of wine from this tree.  This is a fairly short tree.  

The bottle is about 10 ft off the ground.  Some we see on the highway are very tall.  It takes about a day for it to ferment.  If they wait much longer than a day it turns to vinegar.  Every day they collect the bottles and sell them in the marketplace. 

An African Yam

Sister Sherwood was given a yam on Tuesday.  In the picture you see her holding an African Potato next to the yam.  Both of them are medium sized.  The yam is the big one.  They eat them in soups or just cooked in chunks with the soup poured over the top of them.  They also harvest the tops of the African potatoes,for potato leaf soup.  If they use the tops for potato leaf soup, they do not get any potatoes.  So they plant two gardens, one for the tops and one for the potatoes. 
All the rainy season gardens are planted and growing well now.  The swamp gardens are done and they are preparing them now to become rice paddies for the rainy season. The locally grown rice is pink instead of white.  The ground is very fertile

We planted a cornfield outside the compound this week.  It was sprouting in 3 days.  They are about 1-1/2 inches tall now.  We are looking forward to corn on the cob.  We hope we can harvest a few ears while it is still tender and milky.  Here in Sierra Leone, they harvest the corn when it is big and starchy.  Then they roast it.  We do not find it very good.  We shall see if our way works here.  It still may not be very good but at least we are going to try.  Our guards, missionaries and neighbors can harvest the rest of it after we get our early pick.


Maryle Jenson said...

We love hearing about your experiences! I hope you are able to enjoy your corn.

JoDee Leahy said...

That thing is huge! What cool stories of the culture. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Edwards said...

So fun to hear about the food and culture there. You are looking happy, but you may be starving to death. Haha. I hope the corn is delicious.👍💕