Sunday, May 18, 2014

Get nuts for nuts!

This season is a very busy season for all here in Guinea Bissau.  It's cashew time.

Maybe after this blogpost, you will learn why cashews are so expensive in America.  Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the very beginning of the cashew process, but my team mate Andrew did a very nice video that I would recommend you watch  He explains the entire process in great detail.

On the way out to some of the cashew orchards, you cross over rice fields.  Here, women are burning grasses, which they will eventually use for fertilizer.

A deeper look into the orchards

After what is remotely like a 4 hour candy scramble (bent in half, picking up cashews one by one), you get comfortable on whatever rock or log you can find and dig in!  One by one, you twist the nut off the fruit. The nicer fruits are saved in a tub to make juice.

After all that hard work, Mariama is finishing up some left-over lunch.  By this time of day, it's about 5pm.  Women will tote juice, buckets, leftover nuts that didn't fit in the sack, their kids, firewood, etc and head for home where they will shower, get water and start cooking supper.

Alfuseni is gathering up his handful of nuts that he set aside for roasting.  He will soon tie a full feed sack of cashew nuts we picked today on the back of the bicycle and pedal home.  Alfuseni is about 12 years old.

The rest of the process is explained in Andrew's video that I mentioned earlier.  All that day's work, and guess what they sell each kilo (about 2.2 pounds) of raw, unprocessed nuts for.  

50 cents.  

That's right.  And this commodity is what floats and drives this ENTIRE economy of Guinea Bissau.  It gives a new perspective to eating those yummy nuts, doesn't it?

Food for thought for your Sunday.

From a hot and humid Guinea Bissau,

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