This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cote d'Ivoire plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Ivorian culture. You can follow along with each country here, and find our introduction and schedule here.
With Cote d'Ivoire playing against Japan today, here are a few interesting facts about the country:
Ivory Coast had a very profitable trade in ivory during the 17th century, which is how it came about its name. The land in the area was once called the "teeth coast" due to this trade. This trade died out by the beginning of the 18th century because of the serious decline in elephants it brought about.
The most popular sport without a doubt in Cote d'Ivoire is football/soccer. It is played across the country, with a soccer field in almost every town and village, and at least one soccer club in every city. It's also played at the beach, in streets, and at school. There is a match to watch every Sunday in major cities. In fact kids, especially boys, are strongly encouraged to take up the sport from an early age, not just because of the national football fervor, but as a way to build their bodies, increase their stamina and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
|After school game of football.|
Photo Credit: Nestle
Their national team is nicknamed Les Elephants (The Elephants). This is their third time in the Fifa World Cup. In fact, they are widely regarded as Africa's strongest national team in recent years. Their qualification in 2006 helped bring about a truce during Cote d'Ivoire's first civil war and convinced their president at the time to restart peace talks. It was also a match played by The Elephants in the rebel capital in 2007 that brought bought the government army and rebel forces together peacefully for the first time.
Ivorians commonly snack on fresh fruit, a wide range of which is grown there, such as mangos, bananas, pineapples, passion fruit and coconuts. A popular snack is aloko, which are fried plantains served with onions and chilies, very similar to the recipe for kelewele we tried a few months ago.
Our World Cup posts about Cote d'Ivoire include books kids will enjoy, here, and a craft making Senufo animal art here.
Bissap is another popular, refreshing drink enjoyed throughout West Africa. It's sold by vendors everywhere: bus stations, markets, and streetside. They're most often found sold in plastic baggies, tied very tightly shut. Sometimes the knot is tied around a straw, and sometimes a corner of the bag is snipped to drink from it. It's made from hibiscus flowers, and you can see photos of the flowers being picked and processed for market here. We found dried hibiscus being sold at a tea shop. It's basically sweet hibiscus iced tea with a floral taste, and slightly tangy. Some make it spicy, some with ginger, and some, include mint. It's also commonly enjoyed with tropical fruit in Abidjan.
West African Bissap
Recipe adapted from Globe Grazers
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup dried hibiscus petals
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch mint, washed well
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
1. Bring the water to a boil. Add the hibiscus, mint and pineapple, and continue boiling for 10 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes. Take out the mint sprigs and discard. Take out the pineapple (they will have been died red) and put in a blende with 1/4 cup of tea and puree.
3. Add sugar to the hibiscus tea and stir until dissolved. Add the pineapple and vanilla, stir and let cool until you can refrigerate it. Refrigerate and chill thoroughly.
4. Serve with ice, a sprig of mint or a slice of lime.
We only refrigerated for about an hour before serving with ice, and enjoyed a new, West African iced tea!
You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups: