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Women Making Attiéké

William Farrington | Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Cote D'Ivoire

A woman reaching into a bowl, during the making of attiéke in Yopougon, a suburb of Abidjan Cote'D'Ivoire.

Making attiéké is a communal effort said Danho Honorine, coordinating the efforts of a dozen or so women. Attiéké is a staple of Ivorian cuisine, accompanying main courses. Couscous-like in appearance, with a chewy texture and slightly tangy flavor. On a nearby side street, just off a bustling thoroughfare where cars stopped to purchase fish, the women worked amidst passersby. Cassava, the root vegetable, was peeled then boiled, pressed, grated, spread to dry on large woven discs in the sun and then sifted again before being steamed over a wood fire and sifted finally into three different sizes before spooned into plastic bags for sale. While several seated women tossed in bowls in unison creating a soothing rhythm a couple others took turns stoking wood fires under large pots boiling the cassava and steaming the attiéké before bagging it. 

In March 2016, I was in Abidjan photographing the MASA festival in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. On a free day, Roland Kingba introduced me to the market place on the shore of the Ébrié lagoon in Yopougon. Yopougon is a large suburb of Abidjan accessible by ferry from the city center, in a narrow strip between the shore and the main road, steps from the ferry landing, fisherman unload their catch, where it is purchased, butchered and much of it is smoked over wood fires. Women also were making attiéké from cassava. I found the attention and work it took make this humble dish captivating and thank the women for allowing me to photograph the process.

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