What is everyday life like in Burkina Faso?
The families in Burkina Faso are big. Each woman has on average more than four children. That is why there are many more children and young people than here. More than half of the population is under 18 years of age. By the age of 18, more than half of the girls in Burkina Faso (52 out of 100 18-year-olds) are married.
Most of the Burkinabé, 70 out of 100, live in the countryside. Many families have a little land. There they grow fruits and vegetables. The children have to help. Girls support their mothers in the household from an early age. They take care of younger siblings, cook or wash the dishes and laundry. They fetch water from the well or they collect firewood. Babies and small children are carried around on their backs, by the mother, but also by the older girls.
Where do the children live? The houses in the villages are made of clay. The earth is mixed with water and adobe bricks are made from it. Mostly they are round huts covered with straw. In the Mossi families, several such huts are connected by a mud wall. A man can have multiple wives – up to four. Each lives with their children in a hut. Sometimes there is another square building in the courtyard where the man lives. Every village has a chief, the naaba.
In the city, for example in Ouagadougou, the houses are built of stone. There are many two story houses. While there is running water almost everywhere in the city, it is rare in the country. Water has to be fetched from the well – for cooking, washing, cleaning. There is usually no electricity in the country either.
Most of the children in Burkinabe don’t have toys. As in all of Africa, football is very popular with the young. Otherwise, everything that can be found outside is played with. Dancing and singing are also popular. Life mostly takes place outside anyway. It’s way too warm inside anyway. Cooking is also mostly done outside, on an open fire. Animals roam free everywhere.
Bicycles and motorcycles dominate the streets more than cars do. Donkey carts can also be seen again and again.
Eating in Burkina Faso
What do you eat in Burkina Faso?
In Burkina Faso, rice, corn and millet are the staple foods. They are eaten as a porridge with a hot sauce. Millet or corn porridge is called Tô in Burkina Faso. This is pronounced like the English word “toe”. The Mossi also call it Saghbo. The sauce is cooked with okra pods (a vegetable that makes sauces thick) or with peanut butter. To get more information on Burkina Faso and Africa, check youremailverifier.
Season with soumbala
It becomes spicy by adding chilli and allspice. A typical spice in Burkina Faso is soumbala. It is made from the seeds of the Néré tree. Soumbala look like little black balls. They are very nutritious because they are high in protein and high in minerals. They smell quite strong and give off their typical smell in the markets.
As everywhere in West Africa, industrially produced bouillon cubes are also popular. In part, they have replaced soumbala as a condiment because they are cheaper. You can find “Maggi cubes” in almost every recipe.
Eating with the right hand
The porridge is eaten with the right hand, which forms a ball from it, into which a dent is pressed, with which the sauce is then absorbed. This is typical for all of West Africa. By the way, the porridge is eaten in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
What else do you eat?
Root vegetables such as yams, cassava and sweet potatoes are also part of the kitchen. Beans, eggplants and plantains are eaten a lot. Plantains are fried, they are called Alloco and are eaten as a side dish. Other vegetables are cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes and pumpkin.
Those who can afford it also like to eat meat with it. That goes into the sauce. Chicken, lamb, goat, and beef are most commonly eaten. In the small restaurants, the maquis, you can get a specialty, the bicycle chicken. Yes, they really are called that. In French: Chicken bicyclette. It’s a grilled chicken. Guinea fowl is also popular. Fish is also very popular. In the south where lessMuslims live, pork is also eaten.
Typical dishes are babenda with spinach and rice and riz gras, which is cooked from rice, tomatoes and meat. By the way, one also likes to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce. There is plenty of fruit, for example mangoes, bananas, papaya and pineapples grow here.
What to drink
Mainly water is drunk, but also bissap, a juice made from hibiscus flowers. You can cook Bissap, take a look at our tip ! With a little sugar, tamarind or lemon juice, millet flour and water are used to make Zoom-Koom, which translates as flour water.