Backyard Mangos

During spring and early summer, Father Fanuel – my host father – and I often went in the back garden together to check on the mangos as they developed, pulling back the springy branches to see the young fruits nestled within the tree’s waxy leaves. Always pleased with their progress, Father Fanuel would declare solemnly, “No, Thabo, it’s fine,” then break into a hearty chuckle and a wide, honest smile.

Excellent mangos grow here in Reedview’s subtropical climate, with its rainy summer and relatively mild winter. Many families have a mango tree or two in their yard. Ours grows right outside my bedroom window, between the peach tree and the pomegranate tree. Green, mangos can be pickled with peri-peri and oil to make atchaar, a spicy relish di monate with braii chicken and bogobe, and just about everything else. Ripe, they make a delightful snack in the heat of the afternoon, their orange flesh sweet and succelent, bursting with juice. There’s really only one way to eat a mango, and it is rather undignified: leaning directly over the kitch basin, so that it – rather than your shirt – catches the syrupy liquid dribbling from your chin.

Now summer draws to a close, and with it mango season. Though the days are as hot as ever, the warm, worn yellows of autumn have begun to replace the lush greens of midsummer. It will be months before we pick another mango. In the mean time Father Fanuel and I will keep a close watch on the little mango tree in the back garden.


7 responses to “Backyard Mangos

  1. How very generous of your family to share their mangos. Did ya’ll have a crop of pears and pomegranates, too. What a special treat to have fresh fruit from the yard. Is atchaar like chutney or relish?

  2. Howler,
    Your mangos may be on the wane, but our fruit is just starting to bud. We have had a very mild winter which is worrysome as we may not have had enough cold days below 40 which helps the sweetness. We have 3-4 interns starting in the Organic operation in a few weeks. When you come back you should apply. Pay is about the same as you are getting now so you wouldn’t have to take a pay cut. You would also be closer to home which I know your Mama would like. Given your considerable writing skills you could also take over the hunt club letter.
    Thanks for sending me your blog, or whatever you call it. You are a good man. I hope the local folk appreciate your commitment and don’t get too restless. Sandy Morehouse

    • Sandy, I think pretty highly of my writing, but I don’t think I could do the hunt club letter justice! Mama sent December’s edition and I loved reading it. I had forgotten how funny it was. I might be taking you up on the organic farming offer. Who better than a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer to add a streak of hippie authenticity to tour organic farming operation. I’ll even promise to show up with and Sierra Club stickers plastered to my MacBook….kidding!

      Good luck with the spring growing season. Keep me updated on the organic farm and other activities at Burge! Thanks for being a part of my readership.


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