It’s that time of the year when mangoes are in season and this year more than ever I just realised that mangoes are one of the most loved fruits. I personally do not like mangoes, but growing up I used to go along with my friends for mango hunt. Not because I loved it but because I just had to go with the flow. I remember one incident where one member of my group climbed a big tree and fell from it. When he landed, he lay still and couldn’t move. We all took off and left him there, went to our various houses and sat down quietly leaving him to his fate. Thankfully, the boy later showed up at home unharmed. That didn’t deter him from joining the mango search the next day.
A friend of mine related how even unripe mangoes were not left out of the mango search. They plucked it and rubbed potash on it before eating not minding the stomach ache that almost always followed.
This year’s hustle for mango seemed more real than ever or maybe I was just more observant. I see men dressed in suits on their way home from work stop at trees by the roadside with long sickle-like sticks happily plucking mangoes. Those that can’t stoop so low or rather stand soo tall as to pluck it themselves do not hesitate to buy from vendors by the roadside. Some Government workers stroll out of their offices to go search for mangoes close by. They gather their harvest together and recline at the foot of a tree, Yes, a mango tree… to enjoy the fruit of their labour. Then, they stroll, more lazily, and with renewed mango infused energy, re-invigorated, back to the office to go and continue the day’s job of gisting, knitting sweaters and peeling Eguisi at the expense of the taxpayer of course.
As for kids buying the fruit is out of the question so they resort to getting it from the trees which are plentiful around where I stay. They come and knock people’s gates asking for mangoes. I am privileged (or should I say unfortunate) to have mango trees in my compound. Kids from around the neighbourhood that wouldn’t say hello to me on a normal day follow me home and greet me very respectfully and politely ask for mangoes. I don’t hesitate to give them. It is not so easy with my mum though; she doesn’t let them climb her mango tree anyhow oh! She designates tree climbers, those who she judges to be old enough to climb. They go up and pluck the mangoes, then she makes them draw water from the well to properly rinse it. At times she brings salt for them to rinse it with, then she proceeds to give everyone of them two each. Any leftover is taken in and kept for any other late knocker. I have educated her (in vain) on the fact that these kids can consume as many mangoes, but no, somewhere in her head she believes “two mangoes a day keeps you healthy and strong!”
On the flip side, if you own a mango tree that branches over the fence then you are in big trouble, because kids would come to pluck using sticks and stones which might just miss the mango and land on your head… or worse, your car windshield. Also, kids have a habit of throwing out half-chewed mangoes and the pulp if not properly scraped off the seed attract flies which is not a very pleasant sight to behold.
Mango (Mangifera Indica) is a seasonal fruit that is widely grown in Nigeria. It is rich in vitamin C. Nigeria is the 9th in Global mango production while India is the world’s largest producers of Mango. In fact, mango is their national fruit. Benue state of Nigeria is speculated to be the highest producers of mango. Mango has a lot of varieties, few of which are-Julie, Peter, kerosene, Keitt and kent, Sherri, etc. Most times, mango does not need to be plucked or bought, it falls off the trees and you just pick it up and eat, saving none for tomorrow. But because it is seasonal, a tomorrow comes when we don’t see that beloved fruit no more, hence the need for processing and preservation, given that when it is in season it is so plentiful that a lot of it goes to waste.
Mango shares its season with fruits such as pear, lemons and, Sea almond fruit, mostly referred to as fruit or umbrella by many, but no doubt, Mango is the most popular.
It is said to have numerous health benefits which I cannot verify but I am dead sure of one thing- “Mango makes the heart of mortal man rejoice”
Do you love mangoes? Relate your mango harvesting experience.
Photo Credit: Sam74100 | Dreamstime.com