Saturday, September 19, 2009

The sweetest pineapple on earth.

First a little more about the Durbar of Chiefs, Delore and I attended yesterday. It is officially called The Grand Odwira, with the event (a purification festival) celebrating the Okuapehene’s (the chief of Akuapem district) 35th year as chief. It was about a four hour event in the sun and humidity. They paraded around many chiefs of smaller jurisdiction within Akuapem with drums, small bands, shooting guns and dancers following each chief. Local politicians spoke, mostly in the local language so we did not get the just of the speeches. Because of Tony’s connections we were able to meet many dignitaries. It was very interesting to watch the cultural aspects of the ceremonies.

After the festival we stopped for a bite to eat. Delore and I stayed safe with fried chicken and rice. Others ate banku and Chicken with a very spicy red pepper sauce. I tried a little on my fork and my mouth burnt for a few minutes. Banku is a corn based food and looks like a scoop of soft dumplings. After dinner we stopped to see the queen mother, Nana Gyekyewa Opokua II to discuss our trip to the farm. Then off to our hotel in the town of Aburi.

Today we traveled to the pineapple farm with queen mother who is the founder and President of the Akuapem Mountain Women’s Forum. She is a stately woman and instrumental on this mission. We proceeded to Fotobi village, near the pineapple farm, where we met with the village chief and other elders as well as about 50 other farmers and other villagers. It was important to meet with them and receive an official welcome and to get their blessing on the opportunity to work with them. The project was warmly received. We gave them gifts for the warm welcome and proceeded to the farm. The road to the farm is up hill and treacherous-definitely a truck route. Most workers walk the road to the field.

They have about 35 acres, 22 acres are cleared and farm a little more than half. The fields produce about 24,000 pineapples per year, with 22, 000 hopefully getting sold. It is not organic as they use some chemical to add nutrients and for termites. They would like us to buy their pineapple right now so they are an eager group for sure. At the farm we were able to taste the product. I AM NOT A BIG PINAPPLE FAN, BUT IF ALL PINEAPPLE TASTED THIS SWEET I WOULD HAVE IT EVERYDAY. (In fact I am eating some right now, as they sent a pineapple with us.)

After we toured the Aburi gardens and stopped at the Aburi craft village. The village reminded me of the markets you would find in Mexico. For lunch we tried the tilapia fish, it came with head intact, but was very tasty. Tony and another companion, Kofi, had the tilapia with banku. I tasted the banku, no taste and salty.

We headed back to our hotel in Accra and are settled in for the night. Tomorrow is Sunday so not much planned. We hope to attend church with Tony.

Photos. Delore, Roger with Queen Mother of Akuapem - Tony and his asociate having Banku - Streets of Aburi - Delore and I with farmers at pineapple field - Chief Okuapehene at Odwira Festival

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