Saturday, September 30, 2006

OK, I've Been Lazy Long Enough

So I'll post on what I'm good at: food.

The food in Africa was excellent. We stayed at a children's home where they had many many acres of farmland. Their main producing vegetable is green beans. They export to the European Union to make some money to help support themselves. The beans have a ton of regulations on them. In how they are grown, harvested, cleaned and selected. They have to be absolutely, perfectly straight or they are tossed.

Now, I grow a few meals worth of green beans every year in my little bitty garden. And I have yet to grow a straight green bean. However, this farm grows millions. So many that the imperfect beans are kept for the kids' consumption and only amount to 5% of all they grow. In their highest production month, they export over 32 tons of green beans. Can you even imagine?!

They hire many local village workers to do their greenhouse labor.This helps the farm and helps the local families. Many of whom would have to walk very far distances to find work otherwise. A bicycle is a valuable object and only the well-off own one. Walking is the prime method of transportation.

The greenhouse is four acres square and the beans are on a four block rotation so there is always a section ready to be harvested.
The most amazing part is that the beans are planted in gallen-sized bags filled with porous volcanic rocks. No dirt. They feed and fertilize through the sprinklers. It's unbelieveable.

We had beans in most of our meals. Green beans, tomatoes, onions and rice. Green beans, tomatoes, onions and fried potatoes. (and the occasional Coke as a respite from water, water, water)

Or lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, and a fried flatbread.
I know some of the boys got tired of not having meat in their meals, but I thought everything was amazing. So fresh and so flavorful and so healthy. I find myself craving green beans. And tomatoes and lentils and flatbread.

I'm also craving Africa.


Kristina said...

Wow, that all looks amazing!

BeckyD said...

So glad you've joined us again!! Great first post...somehow I thought it might be about the food! Looking forward to hearing lots more! Glad you're back, Anne!

Jean said...

That's crazy about the beans! How awesome though that work is provided for the people without having to walk miles and miles. And your potatoe meal looks amazing!!