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Tempu di Kaju in Guinea-Bissau

Twin cashews - cashew oil is extracted from th...

Twin cashews – cashew oil is extracted from the outer shell of the nuts, shown at the end of the yellow drupes in this photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cashew season means several things, for one it means a lot of work. Everyday people go to their cashew orchards to pick up cashews. First they scour the orchard picking up every cashew off the ground, or as we call it “the floor of Africa”, and carry them to a central location in the orchard. Afterwards the cashew nut must be pulled off of the cashew fruit and thrown away or put into a hollowed-out log to be squeezed for juice. The cashew juice is delicious when fresh and chilled with ice. After the nuts are pulled off the fruits they are carried back to the village where they are sold to cashew dealers who come to live in the villages during the cashew season. In Catel there are at least ten cashew dealers. They buy the cashews and then take them to the port in Bissau, the capital, to sell to Indian businessmen who ship them to India for processing.
The result of the cashew season is that everyone has cash on hand and people are willing to spend money on things that they wouldn’t normally buy. There are people who come through the village and sell little bags of flavored ice and others who open little businesses around the village. For example, someone opened a little resturant that serves plates of spaghetti and one of the shop owners started frying fish and “pankets” (fried dough, think funnel cakes) everyday. There is an overall different feel to this time of year, people are happier and cheerful and parties are thrown often. One of those parties is nationwide and takes place every year on May first. On “Un di Mayu” most people go swimming and hold a festival by the water, which usually consists of lots of music and food, more specificly meat. Mmmm meat!

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