Yahya grew up in Gambia with his family and spent a lot of his time tending to cattle. His mother died, his father became violent and this was when he decided to leave. Travelling through many countries and finally boarding a dinghy he made the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean sea. Yahya was only 16 years old when he was rescued from a boat off the coast of Italy by the Italian Coastguards. He had left all his family behind in Gambia, had no money, was alone and feared for his future.
This is when Yahya's luck changed. With the help of Barbara Sidoti, a human rights activist who had set up a restaurant called 11Eleven (with the help of Oxfam and other partners), Yahya was given the opportunity along with other migrants to learn new skills and rebuild his life. Below is the recipe for Banku which is a West African dish served with stews and soup.
1 white onion
500g plum tomatoes
- Chop the onion and plum tomatoes. Put them in a bowl together with the cumin, paprika and sugar, then mix.
- Take the cornflour and add salt water as you mix. Continue until you have a smooth mix. The thickness of the mixture is up to you, but do not leave it as a dough or make it very watery.
- Place the banku mixture in an oven proof dish and bake for 20 minutes at 180°c.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes so that you can handle it.
- Mould the banku into balls and place on your plate.
- Cover with your tomato mixture, garnish with basil.
- Slice your mozzarella and add to your dish.
Every donation counts, no matter how small, to help Oxfam carry out providing the basic items that people need to live. Did you know that £2.50 can provide 25 water treatment sachets which in turn will make 500 litres of water safe, this would last a family 1 month. Oxfam need your help and support to carry on responding to emergencies, work on long term projects and help to make lives better for those suffering. May be you can offer hope and change another person's life. Visit Oxfam to find out the way you can help ensure that people don't live in poverty.
Photographs by Alessandro Rota.
This post is written in collaboration with Oxfam.