Friday, February 10, 2012

North Trip Part Five ~ African Hospitality

Zara's House
 One of the many strong aspects of African culture is their munificent hospitality.
When we are invited to share a meal they love inviting us to come early and cook the food together so they can teach us to cook their African dishes.  We brought some of the ingredients and sat together on the mat learning from Zara.  We were suppose to pick the leaves off the fulary stalks to be cooked into a "soup." As I picked though the greens I was suppressing countless urges to discard almost every leaf, ones that at home I would throw over the fence for sure.  I felt I was being pretty generous with the sad, wilted leaves I was allowing into the soup pot.  As I laid the remainders of one stalk, with  the leaves I had deemed just too far gone to make any possible excuse for, I watched Zara softly pick it up without missing a beat in her conversation and proceed to pluck every single undesirable leaf and add them to the pot.  I just had to smile to myself, and picked up the next stalk.
 Zara fell on hard times when her husband died and began working for the hospital for free as a translator for the local dialects of Fufuday and Moffa, because she had nowhere else to go.  When the last missionaries came and discovered she was working for free they made her position official (which gave her an income). 
 Audrey, Zara's youngest, who was named after the missionary doctor :) he became our fast pall throughout the evening.
 We each got to take a turn stirring the pot and trying all the different jobs, much harder work than cooking at home.
 After a good couple hours of preparation and visiting, the food was ready :)
 coos coos and fulary soup, it was SO GOOD, it's pretty much the north's equivalent of fufu and okra soup which is common in here in the southwest.
 creative little stoves.
 The Goats love to "help" in the kitchen! ;)

Hache's House
 Hache is one of Spencer's good friends and his family invited us over the last night we were in Koza
 This is "bwee" yes, in "German" we'd call it something like "bree" (with a good German rolled R) it's a mixture of rice, peanut butter, flour, and a little sugar, to make a nice slimy...drink? food?
We had it for breakfast every morning and it's really not that bad... but you can only eat so much...
Apparently, another part of the African hospitality culture is to eat until you almost cant walk, Hache proudly informed us that not only was the blue and brown bucket full, we had the whole red thermos too!
When we had eaten so much bwee that we could hardly stay in a sitting position, They brought out the salad!
I'm sure there were a couple heads of lettuce and about 10 tomatoes for each, plus about a gallon of "dressing" in that salad.  If you slowed up in your eating pace at all, Hatche would scold, "mange!" (EAT! in French).  I ate salad, with my hands, out of the community bowl, until I didn't think I could eat ever again.  Then Hache dug up a big spoon and started to scoop up the dressing on the bottom of the bowl.  Since I knew he couldn't understand anything I said in English I just said out loud, "There is no way I'm drinking that!" He offered me the first giant spoonful and I politely said, "no mercy, jai' suis plain" (no thank-you, I'm full).  And Spencer took the spoonful like a trooper.  Hache dug up another spoonful and offered to me again, I knew that there's just no such thing as turning down food in the African culture and I simply was not going to get away with denying this "salad dressing" plus, this spoonful wasn't QUITE as full as the last one, so I decided I'd better just get it over with.  I swallowed the dressing hoping it'd stay down, and Hache continued to give everyone one, then finished it off himself, all with the same spoon. 
When we were leaving their home we saw where our empty dishes had been set outside and the goats were happily cleaning out anything we had missed as well as drinking out of the bucket we had washed our hands in; and somehow, I have this feeling it wasn't the first time they had licked those cups.
 Hache's kids plus a few neighbors.  (it was about 100 degrees, with no exaggeration, but the little kids in the front still felt a need for a nice warm coat when the sun went down! haha). 

Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without knowing it!  Hebrews 13:2

Share with God's people who are in need, practice Hospitality.  Romans 12:13


Anonymous said...

Tabby, We sure miss you and can't wait till you come home but we are sure going to miss reading about your adventures and experiences. What generous and kind people showing their love through hospitality and putting others first just like Jesus wants us to do. You are all in our prayers. Thanks again for "bringing" Africa to us! Lyle and Becky :)

Anonymous said...

I am so in awe of all the life changing experiences you are having every day!! God has an amazing plan for your life and all these wonderful side trips are all stepping stones and little pictures pointing to the big picture of what He has planned for your life. Stay safe and enjoy each moment. Can't wait to hear the rest of the stories. LOVE YOU SO MUCH, mom

E.A said...

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