Thursday, 28 April 2011

My Culture Days By Chloe Grandidge

Once a month the volunteers get to take part in a culture day. Culture day is a day set aside, where we go to Eddie's house (Eddie is our translator) and spend the day with our family.

We start the day off with 'market challenge'. We each get given a list of ingredients to go and buy at the market and a certain amount of money to spend. It's a race, so the fasted market shopper gets a prize. Due to the language barrier it can be tough actually buying the right things, but it is still fun trying to find your way around. There are also always plenty of people willing to help. Not that this always works because I managed to buy the wrong things in my first challenge even though I had a lot of help, which is ironic. The second time though I didn't get any help and won! My reward was a box of bicuits and a chocolate ha ha!

We then go to Eddie's house and help cook the local dish 'matapa'. We get to try all the traditional methods of cooking, from scrapping out coconuts, using a paladori (basically a special stool with a circular grater attached) to crushing the peanuts and molhos de matapa (in English= matapa leaves), using a Gadoo. This is definitely not how you spell it! It's official name is mossi and churi, which is basically a large pestle and mortar.

Unfortunately I can't eat matapa because of the peanuts, so Eddie's wife and neices made a special rice dish, which was really tasty.

I found it really interesting to see how sociable a thing cooking is here. We cooked on two open fires, outside under a tree and everyone helps out. Many people walk in and out just to see what's happening. They find it really funny watching us attempt the different cooking methods. they openly laugh at us, which I think is hilarious.

Whilst dinner is cooking we get the chance to play with Eddie's six children and their freiends. We take a box of games for them to play with, which they enjoy. Although, children being children, they usually find something else to play with. Maybe a stick or a plant ha ha!

Eddie has a huge garden and he grows alot of his own food. He showed us how and when to pick certain foods like sweetcorn and peanuts. I tried alot of different foods, which I really enjoyed. For example: cassava (the root of the matapa plant), sour fruit from the tree, coconut and coconut milk.

I have been lucky enough to experience two culture days and both have been just as good as each other!

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