Saturday, January 26, 2013

My kingdom for a mealie!

So - our national food. Traditionally the folk here eat 'sadza' - and this is a stiff porridge, tasting remarkably like cardboard, which accompanies every meal. Sadza is made from ground maize - which some folk call corn, and which we call 'mealies' - basically mealies grow on a cob. The powder that results from the maize being ground is called 'mealie-meal', and this is boiled with water, and cooked until it is stiff

I suppose a meal comprising solely of sadza (without any of the traditional embellishments of meat, and vegetables with peanut butter), would be called............ 'a mealie-meal meal'?

Or maybe, not?

There is a constant battle with the other mealie-eaters of Zimbabwe for possession of a crop - namely the monkeys and the wild pig. And while we have rural folk growing as much as they can, we also have 'commercial farmers' growing mealies - providing their land hasn't been 'acquired'. Here then is a very small commercial farm.....

Once the rains have started, every river-course is planted with mealies - the underground water helping sturdy crops to grow......

Here is the Imbeza River - and the building is in fact an old pump-house which used to service one of the local farms. There is a law on the Zimbabwean statute books regarding "stream bank cultivation" - but as with most common sense legal requirements, it is happily ignored by the populace in general! To such an extent that every single river bed is filled with mealies at this time of the year

In fact every rural homestead - no matter how humble, will have a patch of mealies growing outside. This photo is of a homestead across the valley from La Rochelle - but it is a scene repeated all over the country - a couple of huts, and a hand-tilled square of land with mealies growing proudly.

It is part of our national psyche

Not to be outdone, the Zimbabwe Roads Department also has its own mealie-growing-facilities - though they are somewhat limited in terms of arable land available - because unless they are very careful where they plant, the darned motorists simply drive over their crop.

Here, then,  is the Roads Department in full agricultural production - on the Christmas Pass.

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