|The women at work cooking another meal.
The menu was some unvarying combination of rice, fish or chicken, onion and some other vegetable. On rare occasions (like our visit) they prepared noodles. The family was Muslim so pork wasn't served, even though pigs were raised and no doubt eaten by members of the country's minority Christian population. The rice came from Thailand in 100 pound bags, examples of which I observed in abundance on trucks and donkey carts throughout the country.
|Jamie's host sister Sophia
Scene at the market in Sokone. The colorful clothing is made with the famous
Senegal “waxed” fabric.
Buying food at the market in Sokone on market day. Note the dried fish and the
scales in front of the seated woman with the blue turban.
The kitchen in the compound of my son Jamie’s host family in Sokone.
Cutting up the vegetables for the meal.
|Dividing the food in the communal bowls.
Cooking the food was a laborious, time consuming task, with the women spending too much time (in my view) either squatting by or bent over a pot of bubbling liquid. Once the food is cooked the rice is put into the communal bowls from which it is eaten by the family. Pieces of chicken are apportioned to each bowl. Almost everyone eats from the bowl with their right hand. The family divides by age and sex to their assigned bowl.
As guests, we were given spoons to eat with. Jamie, Gale and I ate from a bowl with the mother and father of the family, a duck darting between my feet to catch any stray grains of rice that missed the passage from bowl to mouth. The mother tore off bits of chicken with her right hand and laid the pieces before us to eat. She squeezed the rice into a ball with her hand and then ate by passing the ball with a vertical motion in front of her mouth, almost as if she was licking her hand. Except her hand never touched her mouth, because she was using the same hand to divide the food in the communal bowl. She ate sparingly until she saw that we had our fill.