A Day in the Life, Part III

All our meals here are eaten outside – under the mango tree on a clear day, and under the house on a rainy one.  We sit in a circle on a blue tarp around a few pots of food which rest in the middle.

Namis, Ezikiel’s puppy (lice-ridden, but as lovable as any in the States), spends mealtimes in a bag that hangs off the side of the house, barking madly and trying his best to find a way out.

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The two family pigs keep their distance, but eye the food hungrily.  The small pig (whose name is so hard to say I forget it as often as I ask for it) trails a rope with a large piece of firewood on the end to prevent his roaming away.

Today’s lunch is two pineapples, a few dozen cooked bananas (which really taste more like potatoes), and a soup made of noodles, coconut oil, cabbage and carrots.  There’s not one bit of it I don’t like, but there’s still no chance of me finishing the gargantuan portion they serve me.  Ezikiel and I eat first, and when I say “Mi inap!” Martin takes my plate (spoon and all), and eats whatever’s left before serving himself some more.

No meals are eaten alone here.  At the very least, the whole family will show up for every meal.  On some occasions, a dozen or more will come together and share whatever plates and spoons they can find.  And on special days (New Years, for instance) sixty or seventy will sit down in small groups and eat from pots of food which never seem to end.

When lunch is finished, we stori again, let the food settle, and discuss the plans for the afternoon.  Today, I soon discover, Ezikiel will be taking me to his sister’s garden to karamapim bananas…. that is, to cover up a crop of bananas with dried leaves and rope.

The time soon comes and I’m told to grab a bush knife before we head into the forest.  Namis, the older family dog who curiously has the same name as the puppy, comes along.  The garden is only about a ten minute walk away, and when we arrive Ezikiel immediately begins cutting down old banana leaves and explaining the process of making “trousers” for the bananas.

As I listen to his instruction and start making my own trousers with dead banana leaves and banana bark, mosquitos merrily munch away at my legs.

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Ezikiel leans his homemade ladder against a tree and shows me how it’s done.  Now it’s my turn.

The next few minutes are a myriad of failed attempts to hold the leaves properly, wrap my leg around the trunk just the right way, or pass the rope in the acceptable direction.  But in the end, I’ve done the job and beam proudly as Alex takes pictures of me with my borrowed camera.  Next, Alex and Kaukisa insist on their own pictures, all of which I’ve preserved for you here:

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Here I am in the process of covering up one rope of bananas.  You can’t tell from the picture, but I’ve achieved a new record for waitskin altitude on a one sided ladder.

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Kaukisa and Alex climb the banana tree, posing in hopes of achieving world recognition.

4 thoughts on “A Day in the Life, Part III

  1. Love the Raised by Wolves shirt. Have your hosts questioned you on what it says? Also, you need to direct them to Betty’s (Rugby) website for Namis, Jr.. I hear she has a new department for pet products.
    I thought you were staying with the village Baker. No bread for lunch?

  2. Very interesting. Is this done to preserve the bananas from getting too ripe or to make them ripen faster- to keep animals from eating them or what? Inquiring minds want to know-no matter how stupid the question!!! Emily

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  3. Pa – Ha! Betty would probably make good business over here. As for the bakery situation, it’s true – I was supposed to live with the baker, but they moved me after I arrived.

    Emily – Great question. I actually asked Ezikiel the same question while we were working. “We do it to prevent the birds from eating the bananas, yes – but the main reason we do it is because it was the custom of our grandfathers.”

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