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Nyantama Nkwanta

by Kylie (follow)


Preparing Kenke
Authors own image.


Itís 3 am, and Esi is up,
putting on the first batch of Kenke for the day
The maize is fermented, the smell is so strong
Itís not that bad, donít get me wrong.

I hear Esi starting to move about
Lighting the fire in the middle of night
There is no kitchen, all cooking happens outside
Esiís Kenke is known far and wide.

To cook for the market for people to buy
for breakfast, she must now begin
to ball up the maize, wrap it in leaves
Prepare to boil it until cooked and is pleased

To have enough for her daughter to take to the village
early in the morning, carrying a tray on her head
For the people who may have just got out of bed
And with money to pay for her goods.

The daughter comes home when the kenke is gone
It doesnít take long,
People are waiting, they know what they want
to break their fast, and Esiís reputation is strong.

In the meantime Esi is commencing another
batch of fermented maize to put on the fire
This is her 3 pm batch to sell for the evening meal
People will be queuing up, Esiís Kenke a steal.

In the meantime she is teaching me to cook for my man
Contembre, fried fish, waikye, plaintain and yam.
I have to prove I can feed him to be a good wife
On his move to a new country, oh my, what a life.

Esi has no idea of a life out of here
She is a second wife, she sees her husband rare
She had no complaints, she runs her own farm
With help only from her children, and a bucketful of charm.
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