There is now a place in Boise to get bugs. The kind you eat. Known in Swahili as "tukumombo" and in Lingala as "mbizo" or "mbinzo," this Central African caterpillar is now found at the brand-new African Market on Orchard Street.
Martin and Josee Mpoyo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with a Somali friend, noticed the growth of the African population in Boise and the community's struggles to find traditional food locally. They opened African Market a few weeks ago to help meet this demand.
"I am open to new ideas and advice to make this market possible, and I am doing it to inspire other Africans with great ideas not to feel afraid of doing them, as change begins with us," said Martin, who works at the Meridian Post Office and at Micron Technology.
Josee Mpoyo, his wife, added that "with massive job losses and struggles with employment, it is better for Africans and other refugees to start thinking of other options they could do to keep surviving here. Things that would save other refugees and bring our culture to the American population."
The market is in its early stages but already has a variety of traditional African foods, from the African steppe cassava meal, or "fufu," to the most lovable central African vegetable, cassava leaves, or "sombe." The market sells red palm oil, which is a widely used cooking oil in Africa, called "mawesa" in Swahili. You can also find Halal meat, phone cards to call Africa and, of course, the variety of insects mentioned above, which can be soaked and then fried.
African Market is open Mon.-Thur. 10 a.m.- 8 p.m., Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. Noon-8 p.m.