Tuesday, January 7, 2014

the tshukudeur

On a seriously good day, Biamungu, who lives in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, makes 10 euros, transporting goods on his handmade wooden bicycle, called a tshukudu.

"I make sure to bring home the basic necessities: flour for the fufu [cassava paste], cooking oil and salt. If I have some money left, we feast on tomato sauce or meat," he tells Radio Netherlands (via allAfrica).

Being a tshukudeur is incredibly taxing work -- requiring brawn and energy. And his work has been made harder by the rebellion and conflict in that region of the DRC.

Two caveats about this report, though:

first, I cringe when any reporter, no matter how sympathetic, says, "Riding his large wooden bicycle, Biamungu, with his muscular, sweaty body, looks like a character from a novel." 

second, in many African countries, fufu, sometimes called garri, is the staple food. I ate vast quantities of it every day in Nigeria. When I was in Kenya, I ate massive amounts of ugali -- a similar starchy sponge concoction made with corn. Though I am sure Biamungu's family's limited diet is nutritionally lacking (I most often had some vegetable stew and a small piece of boiled meat with my plate of fufu), a messload of starch and carbs was, to me, the perfect way to eat in that climate.

No comments: