‘Where do all the tomatoes come from?”
During the earlier part of our run we have seen an ever growing stream of tomatoes in the villages and towns we passed. Out in the dessert we would come across a small farming hamlet and there would be a barrow being pushed by an old farmer into the town, laden with ripe red tomatoes, further down and ox pulling a cart laden with the same sun ripe red fruit, then a donkey cart, all heading into the village. They would all deliver to a central point. Crate upon crate would lie in the baking sun; the stench of these collection areas is unbearable, juice oozing into the parched sand around.
In would move the next mode of transport, the 3 wheel scooter truck. These looked like ancient creatures that have been enslaved as cart horses. Their distinct single stoke diesel engine thud can be heard from miles around as they thud, thud into the distance with their load of red fruit, bellowing plumes of black diesel smoke into the dessert air. Moving like ants along the dusty roads to the next larger village. Approaching the village the thud, thud can be heard from all sides these busy three wheelers laboring with their load, once again meeting at a central delivery point. The tomatoes are then loaded into trucks and larger 3 wheelers, as we journey on so we pass the massive lines moving the produce toward the bigger city. Arriving at the edge of the city we finally see the final quest of the tomato army. Massive chimney stacks with steam hissing into afternoon sky, the hum of machinery and a massive set of snakes and ladders of pipes and tanks, waiting to receive the continuous line of now well traveled ripe “Pap” tomatoes. Each time you pass a truck the stench is unbearable, a trail of watery pulp juice is left behind in the dust, (we have omitted this from our daily intake at mealtimes) But , where do all the tomatoes come from, after traveling through the NW we have yet to see a tomato plant.