Little Attention To Cultivation Procures A Sufficiency Of Corn, The
Fields Afford A Rich Pasturage For Cattle, And The Natives Are
Plentifully Supplied With Excellent Fish, Both From The Gambia River
And The Walli Creek.
The grains which are chiefly cultivated are - Indian corn (zea mays);
two kinds of holcus spicatus, called by the natives soono and sanio;
holcus niger, and holcus bicolor, the former of which they have
named bassi woolima, and the latter bassiqui.
These, together with
rice, are raised in considerable quantities; besides which, the
inhabitants in the vicinity of the towns and villages have gardens
which produce onions, calavances, yams, cassavi, ground nuts,
pompions, gourds, water-melons, and some other esculent plants.
I observed likewise, near the towns, small patches of cotton and
indigo. The former of these articles supplies them with clothing,
and with the latter they dye their cloth of an excellent blue
colour, in a manner that will hereafter be described.
In preparing their corn for food, the natives use a large wooden
mortar called a paloon, in which they bruise the seed until it parts
with the outer covering, or husk, which is then separated from the
clean corn by exposing it to the wind, nearly in the same manner as
wheat is cleared from the chaff in England. The corn thus freed
from the husk is returned to the mortar and beaten into meal, which
is dressed variously in different countries; but the most common
preparation of it among the nations of the Gambia is a sort of
pudding which they call kouskous.
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