Volunteer Spotlight: Class Trip to Cassava Factory

On our way back from the Bat Caves the class stopped at a town that specialized in the production of Gari, a food made from the processing of cassava root.  We arrived at the factory at around 3:30, the sun was still hot but it made for lighting that was quite dramatic.  The entire village was based around this factory, which did not look like your typical factory encapsulated in one building, but rather spread out throughout a section of the town.

Cassava Factory

We first saw a woman cutting the cassava root by removing the outside and revealing the white starchy inside.  Next, the starchy remains are fed through a pulverizer attached to a conveyer belt.  This crushed the root into a finer white powder.  The people who ran these machines would get covered in the white powder and it was a heat producing process contained in a small room. Inhaling the particles seemed inevitable.  The powder was then taken outside, water is added to it and it is packed into large bags to ferment.  The bags are then placed in a oversized vice where the water is pressed out of the cassava and it is left to dry in the sun.  This did not smell so good.

Cassava Factory - Raw Material Cassava Factory - Crushing Process Cassava Factory - Drying Process

After this process the product is sent to another woman who places the cassava on a large metal stove with fire underneath.  The woman moves the powder around with metal ladles to ensure the product is evenly toasted.  This section smelled like smartfood popcorn for some reason.

Cassava Factory - Mixing ProcessCassava Factory - Waste Pile

The mother of one of the students actually worked at the plant and so she stood as the children asked her many questions they had formulated during the tour.  The children did this for a solid half hour and were very interested in the production method.  Meanwhile our group had attracted a good deal of attention from the local townspeople.  Children huddled around our group and would stare at us.  It was quite the interesting experience.  The final product made was called Gari.  It is a traditional food of Ghana that they use to add to dishes to enhance flavor and increase thickness.

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