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BANDUNDU
Pounding manioc
Pounding manioc (cassava) roots to make flour. 
The flour is used to make cassava bread, the main staple.
Cassava bread, known as "luku" in Bandundu, is eaten with side dishes of meat and vegetables.
 
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Lunch time
Here the cassava bread is being served with fish and mushrooms in a palm oil based sauce.  Delicious!!  The bread is eaten by hand in a communal fashion with everyone sharing from the same bowl.  Shown as it is typically served in the village.  Plates and pots are luxury items and are therefore used sparingly.
Taking maize to market  Two women carrying corn to the local market.  Corn flour is usually added to the cassava bread.  The corn adds protein which cassava lacks.  
Beef at market
In rural areas, larger villages hold weekly or bi-weekly markets where animals are slaughtered for meat.   Markets are a source of beef, pork or goat for the local population.   Often, the price of such meat is so expensive that an average villager must save during the week to buy a piece of meat for the family.
Preparing goat for dinner Goat is another source of meat in the village.  Here the goat is being prepared for butchering.   Fire is being used to burn the hair off the animal as the first step in the preparation process.   
Tapping palm wine
Palm oil comes from palm nuts which are harvested by climbing high up in palm trees.   Palm wine is also tapped in the same area on the tree.  Palm wine tappers make holes in the tree at the base of the male flower.   Using funnels made of palm leaves the tappers collect the palm wine as it drips from the tree into gourds that they hang from the palm fronds.
Palm flowers This is a picture of a male tree.  One can see the male flower emerging from the center of the trunk.  As mentioned above, palm wine is tapped by cutting this male flower and collecting the sweet juice which seeps out at the base.  The flower is also burned and the ashes are used a basic, bicarbonate powder in the preparation of stewed manioc leaves called "saka-saka mukedi" in kikongo.  The ashes can also be used for agricultural purposes including fishculture as a source of potassium.
Palm nuts Here one can see where palm nuts grow on the female palm tree.  Once the nuts are ripe they will begin to hang from the center of the tree from a thick stalk.  
Palm nuts after harvest In this photo the palm nuts can be see in two forms.  The first is the bunch being transported by the man on the right and the second in the basket and in Tata Mukobo's hand after being cut out of the bunch.  To extract the oil, the nuts are boiled and then pounded to release the oil from the fibers that surround a hard pit on the inside of the nut.  The fibers are then separated and pressed to release the oil.  This oil is used in most cooking in the Bandundu region, where palm trees are abundant.  A favorite and exquisite dish is chicken cooked in palm sauce.
Artisanal palm oil press Palm oil is also processed on a larger scale using artisanal oil presses like the one on the left.  The nuts are boiled in a large metal barrel and then poured out into this rotating press, which separates the fibers from the nuts and in turn squeezes the oil out the bottom.  The resulting oil is poured in barrels and transported to urban centers like Kikwit and Kinshasa for sale.
Village preacher
The preacher in the village of Manga displays symbols of both of his professions.  In his right hand he holds the bible and in his left is a pineapple.  During the week he plants pineapples and on Sunday he leads the community in prayer.
Drinking palm wine from calabash   Palm wine can quench the most serious thirst.   This amazing drink comes in many flavors, from tasting like fruit juice with little to no alcohol content to being comparable to a strong grape wine.  The flavor of the same wine changes from morning to afternoon, the alcohol content increasing as the day goes on. 
Palm wine party For Tata Nzuzi here, the gourd which contained his palm wine made a great party hat !!!
 
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