17 March 2013

Hungry Planet - Mali

For us, living in the civilized world, this is a bit of an extreme example of a diet. Here is the Natomo family, from the book Hungry Planet.

You can see their PICTURE here.

It is incredible that 15 people share this meager amount of food (5.2 kg per person, per week). They mainly eat grains:
  • 88.6% starchy food (corn, millet, smoked rice)
  •   0.2% sweet food (this equals to one tablespoon of sugar per person, per week)
  •   2.5% dried fish (when they can afford it)
  •   0 % fruits
  •   8.7% vegetables (dried okra, tomatoes, onion, red pepper and one can of tomato paste)
Beverages: water and sour milk. The sour milk portion one person gets in a week is roughly one cup! No alcohol or soft drinks are consumed.

Here again, we can see that the sweet foods are negligible, compared to the amounts consumed in a modern diet. This little amount of sugar will not lead to obesity and diabetes. The grains they consume are whole grains, and they move a lot (daily chores) by western standards, as I don't think they have washing machines, cars, etc.

They live in a house made of mud. They have no electricity. "The windowless rooms are cool and austere, containing only a sleeping mat or two, and sometimes a cushion or a stool. A high-walled courtyard - for cooking, mealtimes and general daily life - surrounds each house, and beyond that is a common area where the women and girls [...] wrap their practiced hands around a pestle and pound grain in a mortar, singing to pass the time." Water is carried from community wells.

They are Muslim, so men are allowed to have up to four wives if the husband is able to support them equally. In this family there are two wives and they seem to live in relative harmony (according to the author).

Facts about the country:
  • Population: 12 million
  • Population of Kouakourou village: 2,200
  • Population of the country that are farmers or fishermen: 80%
  • Rural households with access to electricity: 1%
  • Population living on less than $2 a day: 90%
  • Number of McDonald's restaurants: 0
In this article you can find more information about the people living in Mali.

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