Groundnuts…

It’s groundnut season here in the Gambia (in the US and many other parts of the world, groundnuts are better known as peanuts).  You can find them everywhere here… sold at the street corners, kids munching on them while walking around the village and town, farmers harvesting them, they’re even littered on the floor of my high school computer lab (Rule #1… No Food in the Computer Lab!  Damn those disobeying students!)…

One day at home, I was sitting around in the evening and my host dad decides that he wanted some groundnuts to munch on.  He had a bush of harvested nuts just sitting around from the farm, and he decided to roast them.  I knew people sometimes roasted groundnuts by burning them over a fire, but I had never seen it done before.  (I’ve been here for over a year, and my family never burned groundnuts last year… they just ate them raw all the time.)  So my host dad just takes the bush of picked nuts, then lights them on fire with a match… and well… the result was some very yummy roasted groundnuts.

I’ve been eating lots of freshly roasted groundnuts ever since.  Last week, I even went to the groundnut farm and helped with some of the harvesting.  The groundnut plant was already pulled from the soil, and they were all piled up in the middle of the farm.  The next step in the harvesting process is to separate the nuts from the roots.  To do that, you have these 2 long sticks with a hook on one end.  You take these sticks and you just hit the bundles of roots to separate the nuts.  It’s easy to do at first, but when you add in the hot sun, dust, dirt, and the constant banging vibrations on your hands and wrists from hitting the groundnut plant, and it can get very tiring and make your hands very sore.  Nonetheless, going to the farm with my host father and learning to thresh the nuts was a really nice bonding moment.

In the Pulaar language, the process of threshing the nuts is called baccugol (pronounced “baa-chu-gol”).

Check out the video and pictures roasting groundnuts over a flame:

I’m back!

It’s been a very, very long time since I last updated my blog.  Since my last post, lots of things have happened, and hopefully I can write a more detailed blog post about each major event later.  In short, however, the school year has resumed (and my counterpart at the school quit at the end of last month).  My project, the HIV/AIDS Bike Trek (teaching students about HIV/AIDS across the Gambia), had its “training of trainers” weekend in Sept, and the Bike Trek itself is next week.  I traveled to Europe to see my family and friends in October.  I’m happy to report that I gained 5 lbs during that vacation, but I’m sad to say that I’ve probably lost it already.  But I’m super excited that Thanksgiving is around the corner :O nom nom nom…

In the meantime, here’s a little video that I made using my GoPro camera. It’s of me biking in the bush to my village. The video is a bit shaky because of the bumpy/sandy roads. Enjoy!