Mid-summer in the Sonoran Desert is harvest time for the fruits of the saguaro cactus!
On June 16th and 17th, the Gu Vo Youth Council organized an overnight camp at the village of Ku:Kaj in Gu Vo District. Youth from NAAF's After School program and the Bahidaj harvesters spent the night in tents, cooked outdoors and explored nature. Even though the desert temperatures heated up to 117 degrees, the students had a great time harvesting the saguaro fruits.
River Lewis, Jaeney Manuel, Verland Mendez, and Dylan Luna from the Youth Council facilitated the event as part of a community cultural outreach activity. With volunteer help from parents, as well as cooks Lillian, Sonya and Selina from NAAF, a total of 27 youth attended. They made the traditional harvesting tool called a Ku'ipa:d out of saguaro ribs. The gathered fruits can be eaten raw or boiled and strained to make jam and syrup.
Here at NAAF we are really looking forward to more activities like this, where we can continue the traditions of our ancestors.