The kamaleya from bamboos a cherished delicacy in Uganda
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Women selling their food stuffs including the Maleya at one of the trading centers in Bududa District of Eastern Uganda.[PHOTOS | Leonard Wamalwa | West Fm]
As much as many people especially here in Kenya know bamboos for different uses including construction and fencing of homes among others, the Bacisu or Bamasaba of Eastern Uganda know the same as a source of a major delicacy that one can hardly miss on his or her menu in any particular household.
Made from young bamboos and smoked before being used, the Kamaleya have been used by the Bacisu people for very many decades and has since been embraced by virtually all communities within Uganda.
Despite the challenges involved in the harvesting of the food from deep inside the Mt Elgon forest, the harvesters are determined and manage to brave the risks involved to dodge the forest rangers and wild animals to ensure that they deliver the food to their customers.
Sources privy to this said that the harvesters walk long distances to the forest during wee hours of the night to harvest the young bamboos and carry them to a different venue to have them smoked accordingly to take the right shape of being consumed before they can set off back to their homes to start selling them.
The delicacy is always prepared with smashed groundnuts and other ingredients including Kumunyu sieved from a certain form of ash to soften it and it is always used to eat Matoke or bananas and Ugali among other foods.
The writer of this story could also not resist the temptation to purchase the food to carry it all the way back home in Kenya.
However, despite Kamaleya being embraced by other diverse communities in Uganda, it has been established that the Bacisu or Bamasaba of Eastern Uganda are the only people who are vast with the experience of harvesting, smoking and even preparing the food across the country.
Many people in Eastern Uganda especially the landslide-prone Bududa area earn a living from harvesting and selling them which like tomatoes and onions are seen dominantly at market stalls at all centers and trading points in the region.
Therefore, it is high time Kenyans especially from Western part of Kenya to stop joking and seeing the Kamaleya as a fuss or something to use to crack jokes in conversations because elsewhere it is a serious business and a livelihood earner for many households.
They should also know that it is one of the main dishes that cannot miss on the menu of many Ugandans whether at home or in hotels.
Interestingly apart from the residents are good producers of other agricultural products including maize, beans, bananas and even coffee among others that contribute a lot to the economy of the region.