Nigerien Coolers

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(Photo Credit: Dad)

Traditionally, Nigeriens use a large, ceramic jar called a “Kanari” for storing water. These hand-painted jars keep well water cool. A round, woven mat balanced across the jar’s opening keeps out bugs and lizards. In some homes, you will see a kanari or two half-buried in the ground for insulation. The owners place a small calabash on the lid so thirsty visitors can get a refreshing sip. Usually, it is women who make the jars and pass on their craft to their daughters. In Boubon, a village famous for pottery making, women use clay from the nearby Niger River as well as broken bits of old kanari that have been crushed into a powder and incorporated into the clay. Although it is still possible to see these jars around Niamey, plastic coolers are quickly replacing them.

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