Kutcha in Djibanar

Hi! Are you tired of hearing about how many different foods are BAD for you? I am about to tell you my story. It’s a story about a little girl who grew up in Senegal, and like her fellow-villagers, came to have a HUGE appreciation for food!

This is a picture of me, your author, seated in front of moringa trees at a desk with her siblings, in Senegal, West Africa – my home continent. I am the one on the far left, in the beam of sunlight.

Not long after this photo was taken I was horrifically injured, and had it not been for a wild plant growing in Senegal that the Mandinkas in our village, Djibanar called “kutcha” I would have died. It healed me slowly from the inside out. In the United States this plant is called “purslane” or portulaca.  The village chief’s wife first served it to me on white rice. I ate this menu for at least six months! The other food my family used to save both myself and numerous malnutritioned babies was tea from the moringa tree. Its leaves were simply steeped with a little sugar cane juice added.

And so began my interest in food! I was only eight years old, when I very nearly died from malnutrition except for a couple of unheard of plants called “kutcha” and moringa. As my strength and my internal gut fortitude was regained I ate fish drawn from the Casamance River. By then I knew what it was like to be literally starving and how GOOD it felt to be finally full again!

Maybe this is why I insist: Food is good!

Disclaimer:  This anecdote is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Please see a physician when making changes to diet or medications. Also, please note there is not just one type of purslane. One kind is poisonous. Always confirm with a professional before ingesting wild edibles.
One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *