27 Honey and other Edibles

Beehive pot in a tree


As observed in 1925 by C.K. Meek, “beekeeping is common among all tribes”

Beekeeping is a predominantly male activity.

The beehive may be made with a hollow log or a sealed jar with small holes and put in tree branches.

The hives contain fragrant flowers that attract bees of two varieties /Iberi/ and /Ikuru/ produce honey, /meto/ .

To extract the honey, they break the lid and use a bunch of dry grass /tibok/: (torch) to smoke the bees, taking the honey in a hurry with a knife. It is carried in a small basket.

Honey is not sold at the market nor kept; it is eaten the day of harvest. Part is consumed by the owner of the hive, the rest is distributed in his house or given to his Kimat, their maternal uncle or, which is more common, given to a kiso women (love-one) he wants to please.

Caterpillars and Termites

Once a year, women practice what men call with humor “women hunting .”

This is the harvest of a tricolor caterpillars /ihari/ , black, red and yellow by women of a neighborhood who go out in the bush for one day. The caterpillars are dried and lightly roasted and eaten by women and children who appreciate its sweetness.

Children consume other varieties of seasonal insects (termites: ijija: white or Asolk: black).


Termite mound

When these insects suddenly appear in large numbers, kids have fun catching and eating them on the spot.

This activity is an opportunity for joking relations between Abisi and Hausas who are disgusted by this food. Abisi kids assert their superiority by showing off their strength by being able to eat those delicacies.

Carob and Mahogany

The tree /urun/ is the most common tree. Their pods /milun/ are harvested in April. The seeds /eter/ are eaten cooked and in sauces. They are mixed with its flowers /miso/, aromatic leaves and chili which form a sauce  /tib/ eaten with millet. The oily substance surrounding the seeds is used in the manufacture of a slurry given to pigs.

The fruits of elemi used to make cooking oil and mahogany for cosmetic oil.

The fruit of the kapok tree contains a silky fiber that is sold through intermediaries to pillow factories in Jos.


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