Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Gifts from Gran

My favorite thing here so far, which I may have already mentioned, is getting food made for me by Gran. Gran must have been quite the hottie in her day. She's got big saggy boobs, and a small frame that is now wrinkly and gray with age. She doesn't have any teeth left, but she always color coordinates her head scarf with her dress.

Since she doesn't have any teeth yet, it's super hard to understand what she says, and when I talk to her most of the time she either doesn't hear me (I haven't figured out yet if she's hard of hearing or not) or she shakes her head and does a half laugh and looks to Wilson for translation. In the morning when I see her and ask her how she slept, it's usually the same thing every time: Not so good, then she rubs her side or head or whatever body part that ached her. That's usually how it goes anyway.

Gran doesn't do all of the cooking anymore, but sometimes when Soulange is at the market or busy with something else, she takes the responsibility of sweeping the back, looking after the kids and making snacks.

Now, the last snack I got was this past Saturday when Soulange was at the market. I forget how is started, but I think Gran waved an ear of corn at me, said something and walked to the cooking hut. At some point, Wilson came and got me and showed me the three ears of corn sit on the flames in the hut. He picked them off as Gran came in with a couple more. She told me to go sit back down and handed me a plate of sliced avocado. I sat down with the plate. Benji was floating around so I gave him part of it and ate a piece myself. That's when she brought out the corn and was like no, no, no. Don't eat the avocado yet. She handed me the corn which was cooked and slightly charred. Eat it with the Kernels. Alix (grandpa) was sitting next to me, watching.

I picked up the corn knowing that eating it right off the cob was not the plan. But what I was supposed to do I wasn't sure. Wilson, Alix and Gran sort of made a twisting motion with their hands, so I followed. The kernels didn't come off, and when that happened, Alix laughed and started doing it for me. He said, "Blan's don't have to do any work!" We both laughed because it was so true.

With shed kernels and cut avocados, I was still at a loss. I started putting the kernels on top of the avocado, but Gran and Alix laughed again and said, no, no, no. Put a handful of kernels in your mouth and then take a bite of avocado. So, that's what I did. My jaw ached for how much chewing was required. I asked Gran and Alix if they wanted any. They said no, no, no. I offered one more time, and Alix was like, "We don't have any teeth." Ha. Right.

The only thing with the kernels is that Gran made two full ears of corn and I felt obligated to finish it since it was kind of like a present. So, I chewed, and chewed, and chewed, slightly against first instinct, until there were only a few left which I gave to the rooster near by. Good snack.

The next offering, I will keep brief. I bought coffee for the family. (Sidenote: Roasting and grinding is done by hand; roasting over their wood pit and grinding with a log-sized mortar and pestle.) I went to into town earlier in the morning, but when I got back Gran had a whole pot of coffee with cup and saucer waiting for me with 3 little pieces of bread. She had set it up in her bedroom, at her table! I felt so honored to sit in her room and drink like the 5 cups of coffee. The first cup she poured, and I drank some, and she kept pouring it until I was like, thanks! But it was pretty great sitting in her room drinking (super sugary) coffee. First (5) cup(s) of coffee in like 2 1/2 weeks, and for someone who drank it everyday, that's a long time. Thanks Gran.

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