In the evening, we had arranged to stay with the royal family at Keleng palace. The king and his family oversee part of the surrounding Bamileke tribe. The language barrier was a bit difficult, but when we started to help prepare and cook dinner, it didn’t matter much. Ben and I cleaned and cut onions, helped cook potatoes in a pot over a fire, and helped prepare other dishes.
We noted their style of grinding garlic between a large flat stone and a smaller stone held in the hand, almost similar to a mortar and pestle but on a larger scale.
We had food cooking in the outside kitchen over a fire, and more food cooking inside over a small gas range, and we had to run back and forth to stir and check on the dishes. It was really a treat to eat with the family after all of the cooking efforts. Dinner consisted of an avocado/onion/tomato salad to begin, potatoes stewed with meat, peanut sauce served over rice, carrots and green beans, and pineapple for dessert. We were so thankful to have such great hosts and for them to welcome us into their home to be a part of their daily routine.
The next morning, the family was preparing food for an upcoming celebration. Part of this preparation included slaughtering four chickens to be eaten, and Ben was handed a knife and asked by the king to help the children in the task. It’s common in their culture to raise animals for both sacrificial slaughtering and for food. The night before, we watched a video of a day-long celebration in which they slaughtered two goats, two pigs, and a chicken. It’s nice to know that the animals are being used to feed people at the celebration and none of it goes to waste.
The king took us around his compound and through his agricultural plots. He grows bananas, cassava, corn, avocadoes, yams, and herbs. We also noticed a small patch of stevia growing as well. We received a fond farewell from the king and his first wife, and off we went, continuing our journey west.