Zekoula Panga means “unity is strength” and Aliguetou chose to be part of this cooperative in 2014, when she was 36, because she wanted to put her experience at the service of the community and, at the same time, increase her knowledge and skills, sharing and receiving ideas, experiences and working methods.
Aliguetou lives in Bittou where, with her colleagues from Zekoula Panga, she takes care of the rice étuvage, that is, a pre-cooking of steamed rice, which maintains the nutritional properties of the raw material. Their rice, says Aliguetou, is the best, because they take their work very seriously and use quality rice, from agroecological production, without pesticides for the well-being of the consumer and the environment, and selected and clean so as not to have impurities.
Aliguetou then offers us her favorite rice-based dish (which is also among the favorites of the project manager, who however says so of all the dishes, so perhaps it doesn’t really matter): fish riz gras. To prepare it, first of all you need to cut the “condiments”, that is all the vegetables and spices that will give flavor and color to the dish (onions, cabbage, sweet peppers, purple aubergines and local aubergines – similar to a beefsteak tomato in appearance), after which the vegetables are cooked for 5 minutes in abundant oil (otherwise the rice is not enough “gras”!) and then water is added (quantity to be defined based on how much rice you want to obtain: here you never have less than one couple of kg at a time), soumbala and dried or fried fish. Let it boil for about half an hour and add the étuvé rice, letting it cook for about twenty minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and leave for another 5-10 minutes before serving on the plate, still hot. A cuddle for special occasions!
Aliguetou laughs when we ask her to explain the recipe, because it seems impossible that there is still someone in the world who has not tried it. So now we all have to work hard to satisfy her and taste it!
Aliguetou also tells us that she is very proud because thanks to the “Enterprises” project she has learned, just like her colleagues, to read and write in the local language and this literacy now allows her to manage the material and financial assets of the cooperative with full knowledge of the facts. .
Aliguetou also hopes that Zekoula Panga will become a huge cooperative that can conquer many markets and in this sense, thanks to the contribution of the ACRA Foundation and the social enterprise Ke du Burkinabé, studies and analyzes of the cooperative’s products, red rice in particular, are being carried out, to try to find a marketing channel in the capital market. More in the short term, however, the desire would be to enlarge the site which, thanks to the project, has been equipped with numerous materials such as the water pump and the rice huller that you can see in the photos below.