Ever since the beginning of July when the bush turned green,


…Nature’s Pantry in the Zinder area has been providing food for free for anyone who would like to harvest.


There’s no place I can ride to,


without stumbling upon people out in the fields, busy harvesting valuable leafy annuals that will be consumed within the household or sold at the closest marketplace.


I met these girls while out riding on July 5th and they were happy to show me what they were collecting.


The millet was knee-high (it is almost three meters tall in some places as I write) and the peanut and bean plants smaller still, yet nature’s pantry was in full bloom, offering its wide selection of valuable edible annuals.


On this day, the girls were out collecting malahiya leaves, which is widely appreciated in Niger will sell expensively at any market in this country.


The girls thought it was fantastic that a stranger would stop and take such interest in the work they were doing,


and were thrilled at the fact that I wanted to take pictures of it too!


When I showed them the picture on display, they laughed out and clapped their hands. They were famous! The joy on their faces gave me such a moment that I forgot the concept of time, as well as the existance of the other riders who had gone ahead.


The original three called out to another girl to show her malahiya harvest,


and soon, people were coming out of the village to see what the girls’ excitement was all about.


We talked about the various annuals in the fields (malahiya, gasaya, tcetcego, tseido, yakuwa etc) and they said there was plenty of them. I inquired about the health of their families and they told me everyone in the village was well. I did not see anybody that looked famished or apathetic – yet according to aid statistics, half the population of this country should be undergoing serious food shortage right now.


Well that would only apply if one assumed that the population did not know how to look after itself and that the richest of nature’s pantry were a forgotten secret; yet it is not. Nature’s pantry is available to anyone who has access to the bush and who is willing to harvest. And the Zinder population is certainly willing!


When it was time for me to go, the kids accompanied me, waving their goodbyes as they accompanied me up the hill and beyond.


It’s amazing how every little stop in the Zinder bush can provide so much life quality, but these kids made my day!

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