Soroti, Uganda | URN | Residents of the hunger stricken areas in Teso region are now forced to eat termites due the current hunger crisis caused by last year and this year’s prolonged drought.
Florence Kulume a mother of nine and a resident of Atira sub county in Serere district goes early morning to look for grass, sort it straight before washing it with roots of a certain tree locally known as “Ekoboi” in Ateso which is sour and loved by termites.
“After soaking the grass, I leave it for about 40 minutes to dry before carrying it to an anthill,” Kulume explains. “I then dig some part of the anthill to get the route that termites use for fetching food for feeding their queen. When I push that grass inside the termites route, just within 2 seconds I pull the grass out and termites will be full on the grass, scrambling for that grass and there I just rub them off into my container.”
Beatrice Akiteng, another mother said some days she can chance to harvest up to two kilograms of termites, which is enough for lunch and supper with her children.
“I don’t have any other means of feeding my children apart from harvesting termites because all the crops that I had planted dried up last year and this year also, the rain delayed,” Akiteng said.
Goretti Amuron, another mother, said many families in parts of Teso now eat termites for lunch and supper.
“Right now getting a family where people eat two meals a day in Teso region is difficult apart from families of those who have jobs, but for us it’s terrible,” she said.
Termites are insects that live in the anthill, they feed on wood, frequently becoming pests of homes.
How they cook and eat termites
According to Kulume, the termites are first washed to remove the soil from them, then poured into a hot saucepan on fire as you continue stirring them for about five minutes before adding a little salt with water.
She added that after pouring salt, it supposed to be left on fire for one more minute to allow the salt enter. in them and later removed.
“When you finished frying them, you serve everybody in his or her plate, you eat while taking water and you get satisfied for that day until the next day,“ she explained.
Joseph Opit Okojo the former district chairperson Serere district said the hunger situation is getting worse adding that some families have even eaten the remaining seeds that they had stored.
A similar situation is also developing in Karamoja region where hunger has claimed 12 people while others on the verge of dying.
Jino Meri the Kaabong district chairperson said most families have crossed to Kenya to be registered as refuges in Kenyan camps so as to benefit from relief food Kenya government is distributing to its people.