termites

A plate of termites (a delicacy among members of my community)

Where I come from, the act of worshiping in churches involves beating and dancing to the tune of drums. Such drum sounds have become synchronized in our minds that whenever one hears them quickly links them to some church. During my visit to the village during the December holidays, one would have forgiven me for thinking that there were many church services going on due to the drum-like sounds and echoes coming from all directions. Instead`of coming from the church, the noise was coming from a different source this time. It was all from the young boys and women beating the ground with thick sticks to produce the sound of rain in order to attract termites from the ground. I learnt termites are a delicacy in the region and they usually come out during the rains but since no one wants to venture out in the rains, they opt for this short cut to artificially create the sound of rain which closely resembles that of church drums. It is in this pretext that my thinking would have been forgiven.
Increased burden on women to provide for their families has conscripted many of them to seek alternatives in the face of scarcity. The collection and sale of termites provide business opportunities to these people. The landless poor can collect termites from forests and sell them to eke a living. These termites are not only sold but also are consumed for super or lunch. They help in improving the families’ food security. There are even plans to domesticate these insects due to their importance.
The next time I hear drum sounds, I will think twice before concluding its church service.

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