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Brian Hauser, West Africa, Burkina Faso, creation care

Creation care: Celebrating vital caterpillars in West Africa

Caterpillars for sale! It’s Shiitumu Festival time in West Africa, reports CMF team member Brian Hauser, and even though they “gross him out a little,” he respects these “wiggling masses of protein” for their role in God’s care of His creation.

Brian Hauser, West Africa, Burkina Faso, creation care
The shiitumu eat all the leaves of the shea tree during the height of the growing period, which allows light to reach corn or millet planted near the tree.

“These caterpillars are finger-sized and plump, and I’ve eaten some, but only when they are fried to a crisp,” said Brian. “But after some research, I’ve learned some amazing facts.”

  1. These caterpillars come out in immense numbers, providing abundant protein a couple months before harvest, in the leanest of times.
  2. They ONLY eat the leaves of the shea tree, which gives us shea butter for cooking oil and lotion, but only after the fruit of the tree has been harvested.
  3. The shiitumi eat ALL the leaves of the shea tree, but only the leaves of the shea tree, right in the middle of crop growing season.
  4. The lack of leaves in the height of the growing period favors crop production, allowing light to reach corn or millet planted near the tree.
  5. The voracious caterpillars also produce quite a bit of natural fertilizer, enriching the soil in both nitrogen and calcium.

“Isn’t God good?” concludes Brian. “Read Psalm 104 and celebrate how God made His creation so beautifully interdependent.”

Brian Hauser, Burkina Faso, creation care, West Africa

CMF International

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