**Trigger advisory For The Squirmish : Contains images and reference to worms
If you were having coffee with me, I would say a happy new month and lets check out what this new folder has in store for us…
I would offer you a piece of poetry as a snack….
These are known as mopane worms commonly found in Southern Africa, while some households would consider them to be an alternative source of cheap protein, you can find them in fancy restaurants presented as a delicacy. I have also seen an episode of Fear Factor where people struggled to eat them and I laughed and laughed.
Mopane worms are so-called because they predominatly feed on the leaves of the Mopane tree. They are also known as madora (Shona) macimbi (Ndebele) …if you know any other names kindly drop them. Speaking of names I think they would experience a better reception had they been known by a more fancy term instead of calling them worms.
Technically they are not worms they are caterpillar or the larvae stage of the emperor moth Gonimbrasia belina. The larvae then pupate for 6 to 7 months in winter to emerge as moths. The adult moths live only for three to four days with a singular focus to mate and lay eggs.
The eggs hatch into larva in a few weeks and begin munching on the leaves of trees, moulting four times through five larval stages. Provided there is adequate rainfall the mopane worm trigger a regeneration effect in the foliage keeping the environment balanced.
When we were cooking the caterpillar my mum referred to them as poetry after I showed her my framed poetry from The Metamorphosis Of Ayo. The poetry follows the life cycle of a butterfly; egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. Yes, you can call me a framed poet ^_^
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I much prefer having the mopane worm as a snack than as a relish with sadza (that’s our staple carbohydrate meal). An interesting thing about this particular batch of mopane worms is that they were handpicked by my sister from a location somewhere in remote Gwanda where the are mopane worm fields. To harvest them from there you make a payment of one bucket of mopane worms.
There’s surprisingly well-coordinated mopane worm harvesting fields and they even monitor the quantities letting people know they have reached the harvest threshold that ensure that there’s sufficient caterpillar to mature into adulthood and lay eggs ensuring the continuity of the life cycle. The caterpillar are squeezed to empty out their tummies and then dried for preservation. One can then sell these dried caterpillar or cook them as and when necessary.
How do you cook them? The simplest method is to soak them in water to soften them (as they will have dried up) then boil for about 15 then rinse out or add more water and boil for another 20 minutes, drain water and add cooking oil and fry till crispy… add onions, tomatoes and seasoning and serve as desired.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that my sister had intended to market the mopane worms at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo. Unfortunately, the harvest this season was not that bountiful to have a marketable quantity. She had also wanted to exhibit an African candy made from baobab tree fruit…. Have you seen the likes of these:
We missed out on the ZITF but from the feedback, looks like it was quite the lit affair although the one thing I was happy to miss was the mascot for the new local TV channel Jive TV called Jaiva… It was a tad freaky looking and I cant imagine a whole broadcaster had this wannabe Sesame Street reject as its mascot. Maybe its still an ugly worm and will one day wake up a butterfly.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that Elon Musk bought Twitter and has joked (at least I hope he was joking about buying Coca-Cola so he could put the cocaine back in it)
Well, while we are there, maybe he can buy our TV station and get them to stop broadcasting entirely, if he were particularly inclined he could even revamp… or better yet maybe he could buy the whole country… We do have a campaign to Buy Zimbabwe after all ^_^ (well its suppose to be for the promotion of buying local goods but hey… one can try, one can try)
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we had the Afrobloggers Meetup on Zoom and it was a delight to connect with some of the people who have been part of our inaugural blogging fellowship check out the articles below if you have a moment:
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