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Abundant Red Fruit in the Red City


N. B. Andrews

December 15, 2016



At present there is an abundance of pomegranates on the streets of Mkch.

At street corners throughout the Red City, you will encounter young men standing by wooden carts filled with this dark red succulent fruit. Often, they will display several of them cut open to show the numerous seeds lodged within the pulpy interior.

No wonder! Pomegranate in medieval Latin means "seeded apple".

Many tourists and locals stop at these carts to buy the fruit.

There and then, the vendors extract the vermillion colored juice for the buyers to drink. For millenia the fruit has been regarded as a symbol of abundance, fertility and good luck.

My first close encounter with the pomegranate was over 25 years ago in Brooklyn. I had a Russian patient with a brain tumor that sadly was a metastatic tumor which had its origin from a skin tumor.

The skin tumor had been removed years earlier from his upper back.

I will always remember this patient for two reasons.

First, he was accompanied by a blond Russian witch ( the patient's words- not mine! ), who spent his entire post operative period alone with him in his hospital room. He assured us that her ministrations were essential to his well-being.

Second, because on his discharge he presented me with a painting he had executed. This painting showed a black blob coming out of a box and pomegranates. He intimated that the black blob represented his brain tumor and the pomegranate his hope for a cure.

Well, the pomegranate in the Northern Hemisphere is in season between Sept- Feb. The Moors (our African Berber Islamic brethren) when they controlled Granada in Spain, even renamed the city after the fruit.

Pomegranates are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as one of the fruits that will be found in paradise.

Over 3500 years ago in ancient Egypt, the pomegranate is mentioned in the medical treatise, the Ebers Papyrus as a cure for tapeworm.

The ancient Greeks called it "the fruit of the dead"; it was supposed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis. Furthermore, Orion- the primal hunter got married to Side ( a word that translates to pomegranate).

The pillars at the porch way or entrance to King Solomons Temple at Jerusalem were described ( in the Book of Kings- Old Testament) as being decorated with pomegranates.

In addition, the mystical experience in the Jewish Kaballah is described as "entering the garden of pomegranates". The 613 seeds in each fruit are said to correspond to the 613 commandments in the Torah.

Within the Christian tradition, pomegranates appear on priestly clothing. Numerous artworks by da Vinci, Botocelli and even the oldest mosaic showing Christ and the Virgin depict the fruit- sometimes held in their hands.

For Christians, it represents the fullness of Christ's suffering and his resurrection.

Hipsters make many health claims for the fruit (as they do for almost everything) but these claims are largely unsubstantiated by scientific evidence.

Now, wait till you hear the claims from MY people!

It will rival Moringa and Atadzwe, not so?

Have I tried a drink yet from the street vendors? No, not yet simply because as a rule I do not drink fresh juice off the street, and neither does the roommate.

But we can tell you that the fruits and vegetables here look absolutely gorgeous and they cost 30% of what they cost in Ogyakrom.

And we shall leave it at that for now except to ask that you send our love to Akua Donkor....tell her to keep it real.

Asalaam Aleikum.





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