I have learned a thing or two about mangos as I have been around them all day, almost everyday since I arrived. First, I have learned a few different kinds of mangos and how you eat different kinds in different ways. For most mangos, like fransic and blancs, you can peel the skin off and eat the meat, but with mango fil you start off by mushing the mango with your fingers. After you think you have squeezed the mango enough so that the inside has reached a nice liquid consistency, you then bite a little hole at one end of the mango and with your hands squeeze the mango and drink the juice. I like this eating tactic the best, because it is an all-natural juice box that is a perfect thirst quencher after a long days work. I also learned, the hard way, side effects of eating too many mangos. After a mango binge, my lips started to itch uncontrollably and then they became chapped.
One of the main goals that Sega, Linnea, and myself had to complete was collecting mango seeds, thousand of them. In order to get the seed we had to collect mangos. The mangos that we found on the ground ranged from being hard and not fully ripe, soft and ripe, and hot and rotten. After collecting the mangos we then peeled the skin and meat off of the seed, this was easier said then done. Linnea squeegeed the mango to get the skin and most of the juices off of the seed. She then would give it to Sega or myself. We used our knives and cut the fibers off of the seed. This does not sounds too bad, but I forgot to mention one thing. There were maggots, flies, larvae, and other such squirmy creatures that have made a living in the hot, slimy mangos. Even though it was a simple task, it was a gross and messy task that deterred some of us away from eating mangos for a few weeks. I can still say today that I was not fully deterred from eating mangos, but I was a little scared from the event and hope not to touch a rotten, hot mango that moves under your grip due to the infestation of insects.
After finishing the messy experience of peeling mangos, we brought the thousand mango seeds up to Bois Jolie. There we worked with the farmers to remove the external shell of the seed. Once again, like all mango experiences we have had on this trip, this was a messy and smelly task. The mango seeds have been basking in the Haiti sun for a few days. After a few seconds of mental preparation the Haitian farmers and the Sewanee interns dug in and removed the external shell from one thousand mango seeds. The seeds were finally ready for planting, and that is exactly what happened.
I am now happy to say that within two weeks of planting the mango seeds we have already seen mango seeds germination and sprouting!