A STORY ABOUT “NDIMU” aka LIME
A language barrier
As usual in the past years
we have spent our winter holiday at the South Coast of Mombasa (
We got the same room on the
first floor in one of several hotel blocks as in the past visits. From
balcony there is a splendid view of the white sandy beach below, the
and the reef some 500m away, after which it stretches to the wide
We have booked a half-board accommodation that suited us well as we could stay at the beach from breakfast until tea time. On the beach there were two newly opened bars where one can order drinks and light meals at lunchtimes. So we visited the one closer to our long chairs under a canopy and ordered pizzas, together with bottled mineral water (no gas!) and two pieces of lime cut into halves. Pizzas and water arrived, but we got lemons instead of limes. We complained to the head waiter, who explained that we should have asked for "limao" if we wanted lime instead of lemon. This sounded rather strange to me as "limao" in Portuguese means 'lemon'.
In the late afternoon we returned to our room but the substitute for the bottle of red wine had not arrived yet. During dinner, we ordered a bottle of water with limes cut in halves, but again we got lemon slices instead. The new waiters were somehow mystified, as none of them could understand our complaint. The head waiter we knew from previous visits told us that the kitchen and bars don't have limes as the new F&B-manager wouldn't buy them. On earlier visits we got any number of limes, either from the stores or from some staff members' gardens - clean fruit without any pesticide's treatment. By Jove, why couldn't we get the limes that grow in abundance along the coast here?
Next morning I complained at
the guests' relation desk, asking when we would get the lime fruit for
returned bottle of red wine. Later on the beach Ljiljana saw a woman
baskets with some fresh bananas, lemons, papayas, etc. She asked if she
bring a few "limao" later the same afternoon. In fact, the woman
brought some kind of green looking fruit with rough thick skin, which
guessed to be more a wild lemon or something unknown. Ljiljana took a
them, feeling that she was let down with "limao" for sure. She cut
the fruit's thick skin, more a buffalo hide than lime skin, and she
hardly squeeze any drops out of it. So "limao" is certainly not
"lime" in Swahili.
Another surprise for us was a bottle of "Roses" lime syrup that stood proudly on the room desk. If you ever tried this syrup you would know that it is very sweet and hardly has any taste of lime as such. It is used in cocktails and is certainly not meant to be diluted in drinking water as a fresh lime juice supplement. We both got rather upset so it was decided that I take the "Roses" bottle and go to complain at the guests' relation desk again. For the first time we were let down using fresh lime fruit juice for more than 40 years after we learned about its benefit and enjoyment.
Long ago, Ljiljana was
buying dozens of fresh lime fruits - green to yellowish with smooth,
In a bad temper I arrived at the guests' relation desk and was greeted by the smiling PR manager, a coastal man whom we knew well from our previous visits. He listened carefully to my exasperation about fresh limes and took the "Roses" bottle with obvious resentment. He promised that he would see that we had fresh limes at the dining table and that he would send some to the room too. He told me the Swahili name for lime is "ndimu", explaining that the new employees from Upcountry wouldn't know the lime fruit as such. Even if we had asked a new waiter from Upcountry to bring us "ndimu", he would not have known what we were talking about.
We met the new F&B
manager after dinner and in the conversation I asked why we couldn't
"ndimu" with the drinking water, getting lemon instead. Obviously the
gentleman didn't know what "ndimu" was, so another supervisor who
joined us resolved the mystery about the lime fruit, alias ndimu, for
got a firm promise that limes cut in halves would be served to us with
meal during the rest of our stay.
We had the permission to get any amount of fresh limes from any employee's garden as required for use at home later. Thus we became known as the guests nicknamed "rafiki ndimu" (friends of ndimu).
Our old ndimu suppliers were happy to provide Ljiljana with a considerable amount of lime fruits from their gardens. The fruit was fresh smelling nicely and full of juice and we took some 150 pieces home. Back home the fruit was washed in a manageable number, cut in halves and the juice pressed out, placed in small boxes and placed in a deep freeze afterwards. The remaining skins were kept in clear water for a while, then hand-squeezed for their aromatic oils and this concentrate was kept apart in the refrigerator for subsequent usage. One should add a little of this aromatic oily dilution into the lime juice mix with fresh water because the aromatic oils do taste a little bit bitter.
Our personal usage of lime: as treatment of cuts and scratches on coral rock (some are poisonous) and stops bleeding in a short time. A cut heals up in a few days leaving hardly any visible scar. One can use lime juice as a disinfectant due its large C-vitamin content in cases of throat or stomach ailments.
Explanations about various plants:
1. LIMAO alias LEMON
Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.; Syn. Citrus medico L. var. limon (L.) Osb.
Rue family - RUTACEAE
First information from
2. NDIMU alias LIME
Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle
Rue family - RUTACEAE
Lime has certain
similarities to the lemon and originates from Southeast of Asia. It is
cultivated in tropical regions and especially in
Literature: COLLINS' GUIDE to Tropical Plants by Wilhelm Loetschert & Gerhard Buse. Publisher: Collins,
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I have found more data about the Lime alias Citrus aurantiifolia in searching the Internet. I believe that it is good enough to be mentioned here too.
propagates itself from seeds. This evergreen tree is small, spiny and
irregularly branched and has small elliptic to oblong leaves are pale
The white flowers are also small and produced in auxiliary clusters.
is small, spherical or egg-shaped and thin-skinned having about 10
sections that contain greenish seed leaves. The juice is acid with a
distinctive flavor. Limes are gathered when fully grown, but still
shipped very soon after.
The seeds, usually collected separately in the factory, are rich in fat and should be mixed with the skins for feeding to cattle. Because of the toxic factors in the seeds, they should not be fed to poultry and should be fed to pigs with care as they tend to produce soft fat. Ruminants can tolerate them too. If lime skins are fed in large quantities to dairy cows, the morning milk may have a slight off-flavor and be opalescent. According to farmers who use them as need, lime seeds give animal fur a glossy shine and rid cattle of ticks.
According to <http://www.heilfastenkur.de/Limette.shtml> lime contains the following substances: Essential oils (Bergapten, Citral, Linaool, Linalylacetat, Pinen, Sabinen, and Turpentine); Minerals (Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Natrium, and Phosphor); Vitamins (Foal-acid, vitamins A & C & E, Retinol, and Tocopherol). The therapeutic qualities are: antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-rheumatic, anti-depressive, and contracting.
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
is presumably indigenous in
The lime is present on the
At last some common names in a selection of various languages
English: Key lime, lime, Mexican lime, West Indian lime
Fijian: laimi, moli kara, moli laimi
French: citron vert, limettier, limier
Niuean: sipolo fau ikiiki
Samoan: moli tipolo, tipolo, tipolo
Tahitian: taporo, te tumu taporo