Sunday, May 17, 2015

What's In-Season: May

May has been a really nice month, weather-wise. The rain is pretty much over, which I'm bummed about, and there has been a lot of wind, which isn't my favorite. But the mornings are chilly, followed by afternoons that are sunny and warm. So I get to wear long sleeves and snuggle under my blankets and drink tea in the morning, but there is still plenty of sun to dry my laundry and my dishes during the day. It's the best of everything.

In Mulanje we have access to a pretty diverse assortment of produce year-round. At the Boma this weekend I bought green beans, carrots, green peppers, avocados, bananas and a grapefruit. They also had a ton of tomatoes, onions and greens for cooking, since those are staples in Malawi. But not all of it is necessarily from this area.

At this point I consider something in-season if I can buy it in my village market. There are a few vegetable stands in the market, plus a few vendors that sell their produce on the side of the road. The selection is much more limited than what is available in the Boma, but it definitely changes each month and gives a good picture of the crop calendar around here.

So what's in-season in May? Right now the vendors are selling sweet potatoes (mbatata), cucumbers (nkhaka), peanuts in the shell (mtedza) and small bananas (nthochi).

Also, guavas! My neighbor Fanny has been sharing guavas she picked from her tree with me. They are small and green, but then they turn yellow and smell delicious when they are ripe. I've been eating them whole, skin and seeds and all.

But the biggest crop available right now is sugarcane (zimbe). Everywhere you look you see people chewing it, and there are sugarcane fibers all over the ground.

You buy it in a huge stalk, which is way too much for me, so I always share it with my neighbors. Here are the kids posing with their sugarcane.

The kids get really excited about having their picture taken, but then immediately stop smiling for the actual photo. That's the culture here-- people don't usually smile for photos like we do in the States. I forgot the word for "smile", but I told the kids "Sangalalani!" which basically means "Be happy!" Then I took this photo.

Aren't they cute? Just another fun May afternoon hanging out with my neighbors in Malawi!

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