The onset of rainy season brings about a three-month long frenzy in which residents are determined to harvest mukauw’u. Irene Mwikali is one such enthusiast, who has seen her consumption decline thanks not only because it’s hard for people outside the region border Chyullu Hills National Park where they grow this vegetable but also due an intense pressure from stereotypes and competition with other vegetables exotic alike – all while fenced off within your own backyard.
In a bid to reverse the trend and prevent eminent outage of the popular vegetable, residents in the region have embarked on domesticating the deciduous liana known scientifically as Kedrostis Pseudogijef even as scientists list the plant among hardy indigenous vegetables which hold the key to managing the adverse impacts of climate change.
“Mukauw’u is our favourite vegetable. We no longer go far to access it,” Ms Mwikali said while filling her basket from a giant shrub planted by her grandmother three years ago. The vegetable is known for emitting a pungent smell during cooking. “However, we discard the water we use to boil mukauw’u to clear the strong smell. The vegetable is irresistibly tasty even when it is not fried. We eat it with ugali and mash with githeri,” Ms Mwikali added.