I toured the garden while I was in Niger just a few weeks ago, and I learned a lot about “les arbres” in Niger! Originally, I thought that we would provide only lime, lemon, papaya and mango trees with the funds raised during the Rally for Niger. As it turns out, in addition to those trees there are many more varieties that are needed and utilized.
For example, the leaves of the Moringa Tree are used like spinach in sauces and are often brewed like tea. Isti, the director of the school told me that the leaves of the Moringa tree provide more calcium than milk, more protein than bananas and more Vitamin C than oranges!
The Baobab Tree is amazing! You may remember it from The Little Prince. It’s the tree that grows on the Prince’s asteroid. It starts out small like a shrub, but it matures into an enormous tree. The cooks at the school put the leaves and fruit in sauces. A great feature is that both the fruit and leaves can be dried and stored for later use. Also, the seeds of the fruit are ground to make oil. Like the Moringa Tree, the Baobab Tree has a lot of nutritional benefits!