Zoinks! Another year already? Things have been a bit busy and the blog/news area here on the website has been ignored for awhile. Anyhoo, MANIFESTO celebrates 19 years today! Yea! The traditional theme for a 19th anniversary is chili pepper. Yes, the hot stuff.
Chili peppers are hot because they contain capsaicin. When consumed, capsaicinoids bind with pain receptors in the mouth and throat that are responsible for sensing heat. Once activated, these receptors send a message to the brain that the person has consumed something hot. The brain responds to the burning sensation by raising the heart rate, increasing perspiration and releasing endorphins. Some like this sensation. Some do not.
Elephants fall into the latter group. Conflicts between farmers and elephants have long been widespread in Africa, where pachyderms nightly destroy crops, raid grain houses, and sometimes kill people. Farmers are now fighting back with chili peppers. By planting a few rows of the pungent fruit around valuable crops, farmers create a buffer zone through which the elephants are reluctant to pass. String fences that are slathered with chili-infused grease and mounted with cowbells that act as alarms when the fence is disturbed are also used.
And then there are Chili Dung Bombs. These are briquettes of crushed chili and animal dung. The bricks are burned, creating a noxious smoke that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers’ fields of maize, sorghum, and millet.
Chili peppers give farmers an economically feasible means for keeping elephants away from crops through nonlethal methods. It is self-sustaining, harms nothing, and also becomes another source of income for farmers growing this crop.
They also make food delicious. Happy anniversary, MANIFESTO. It’s time to celebrate with some Thai food!