Recently I returned from a few day trip to the Lower River Region of The Gambia. My host brother and I went to help our other brother harvest his coos. It was a great experience, I got to see another part of the country that I have not seen. It was also the first time I have stayed at someone’s compound that wasn’t a Peace Corps Volunteer’s.
|Small coos piles|
|My brother, Me with the tools of the trade, and cousin|
|Brother, cousin, Brother|
|Transporting coos bundles|
The way you harvest coos is very labor intense just like everything that is grown in The Gambia. There were five us that were in somewhat of a line. As you walk with your knife you bend over and cut off the coos seeds that are on a long round stem that is anywhere from four or five inches long to two feet long. You then put the coos in a pile and continue to the end of the field. We then turn around and combine all the small piles into larger piles. On the last day we walked around and tied all the piles into bundles and then combined two bundles together to make one large bundle. All together in one field we got I think about 15 large bundles.
|Pile of large bundles|
One afternoon I went and helped the mother of the man whose compound we were staying at knock sorghum seeds off of the shoots. How this is done in The Gambia is with your feet. You take a handful of the cut stocks with the seeds on them and put them on a opened up rice bag and then step on them with your bare feet and rub your feet all over the seeds to knock them off. It is a slow process and somewhat monotonous process but sorghum is very sweet and worth the effort.
|Sorghum before processing|
|A hard days work, 35 Liters of sorghum|