One day, one a bike ride, my friend and I met these girls picking Shea fruit in the orchards hidden in the hills behind the sleepy village of Tolon. The girls had buckets filled with small, green fruit and were quick to offer us some. Having heard how delicious Shea fruit is, I was quick to accept and found the fruit sweet and moreish. The girls kept the nuts from the centre and told us that they were picking fruit for their mothers to sell at the market. Both the fruit and the nuts are valuable as the nuts can be made into Shea nut butter.
The girls were happy and playful, chasing us on our bikes and insisting on posing for pictures, individual photos and group ones. The girl on the far right even jumped on to my friend’s bike as he cycled at speed downhill, bucket still gracefully balanced on her head.
We eventually managed to drop her off at the bottom of the hill, after which she gleefully chased us to the main road before turning back to run uphill to join her friends – without losing a single Shea fruit.