Sunday, 27 January 2013

Winnowing woman

This lady was winnowing her rice as I cycled home from the office. She stays just up the path from me. There has been a lot of winnowing since harvest time. Rice, maize, beans etc have all been ground out of their “shells” and the winnowing has separated the grains from the chaff. You just need a good breeze! The good stuff has weight and falls in the bowl whilst the chaff blows aside. She had a lot to winnow and the pigs and fowls enjoyed the chaff after she had finished.

One reason I have included this picture is to emphasise how hard the women have to work and it is all very physical. They have amazingly strong muscles in their arms, back and neck from the carrying heavy loads on their heads to beating and grinding as an integral precursor to preparing food.  Everything is labour intensive and accepted proudly as making the best nutritional use of the raw ingredients available. Carrying huge heavy loads of fire wood, women pass my window numerous times a day. They tend to perform this task with company and it appears to be quite a social event judging by the cheerful banter that heralds their passing.

I have made good attempts at cooking Ghanaian style and am proud of my successes, however I would need to be living here many years longer to display half the skills these women have been practising since childhood. I take my hat off to them and salute their endurance and patience amongst other qualities.

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