Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch - Sort of

This morning, Jackie and I went to visit Antoine and his family's farm land.  He works for the national church in Bouar, but also works the farm.  We drove about 20 km. (13 miles) to get there on an unpaved road.  Fortunately, the road is in good shape – only a few puddles and rough spots.

Cornstalks amid lots of green
Seed Squash
When we got there, we walked for about an hour through the fields seeing all of the different plants they are growing.  We saw corn stalks that are mostly dried up since the season is ending.  Then we saw the pumpkin patch!  Well, actually was saw lots of squash plants – of three varieties:  one dark green, one beige, and the other whitish.  This last one is grown for its seeds – the flesh of the plant is not eaten.  By this point I realized that it is almost Halloween and we were doing what many people in the US do in the fall!  Of course, there was not hay ride, not orange pumpkins, and no jack-o-lanterns.  Still, I greatly enjoyed getting out to see the land.  We even brought two squash back with us, one for each family.  I think we’ll eat it, though, instead of carving a face. 

The farm is about 4 hectares – huge.  They also grow cassava (manioc), lots of sesame, peanuts, and have now planted some trees – oranges, avocados, and even some teak (for its wood).  About 20 people work on the farm.  It is a lot of work, but looks beautiful and will produce lots of good food.

There is a small building near the road where they store huge baskets used during the harvest.  They have put in a slab of concrete next to it as a place to try manioc.  The root is broken into small pieces and then needs to be soaked water for 3-4 days.  After that it must be dried and then pounded or ground into flour which is then added to boiling water so it can be eaten. 

For those of you who pay attention to details, you will remember that I was supposed to go to Bangui today.  That trip has been delayed until tomorrow.  The church president’s wife has not been well.  Since they both are to go with me (or I with them), we put it off for a day.  That still works out since the office in which I need to get my visa is not open until Monday.  So, on the road again tomorrow! 

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