Saturday, October 22, 2011

Going nuts for coconuts...

I need to have one... Or two...

Every time I leave the ship I need to stop for some coconuts. Funny thing is, I didn't like coconuts before, but now that we can have them fresh every day, it quickly became my favourite drink. Locals can get them for 1000 SLL (0.20 USD), we need to pay the "Apoto price" (apoto means white person in a local dialect), which is usually 1500. The other day I saw a kid buying it for 400 right in front of my eyes, but when I asked for one, the guy said it costs 1500. Oh well...

The terms you need to know:
- young: the coconut has no white flesh, just lots of water.
- half 'n' half: it has some flesh, but mostly in a jelly form and some sweet water, my FAVOURITE!
- strong: it has a thick white flesh and barely any water, if there is some, it's usually fuzzy and bitter.

Coconut is sold from wheel barrels
Depending on your preference you order them and hope that the seller can really tell the difference before cutting it open. One guy showed me how to choose: just knock on it and the young ones full of water will sound deeper than the old. Or not... It's not an exact science... :)

I usually buy 1 strong one for the flesh (and dump the water) and 1 or 2 half 'n' half ones for the water. If you get lucky your coconut can hold up to 1 liter of fresh coconut water, and rest assured, this is the safest way of re-hydration in Africa! Not only that but the liquid contains important electrolytes and other minrerals your body needs - to put it bluntly it's better than drinking Gatorade. :)

Penny, me and Sam, our local driver enjoying some fresh coconut while stuck in traffic.

Because of the positive side effects coconut can be used as IV - it's a cheap and surprisingly safe way to treat patients with dehydration; they just hook them up on a coconut! :)

Today I took a short video of how it is done - enjoy! :)

"Make open" is Krio for "Would you be so kind as to cut it in half so that I can eat the flesh?"

PS. A few weeks ago a young boy was cutting it open for me after I drank the water but he missed the hard shell. He managed to hit his palm with the machete and almost chopped his finger off. :( Good thing is that you live on a hospital ship and always carry with you some wound cleaning stuff!

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