Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The most adventurous 48hrs of eating

Our sweet and loving Aaron and Eslyn
More than a year ago, you may have remembered a blog post about our new Amerindian Host Family, Aaron, Eslyn and Moses. Of course that experience was shattered when my appendix decided it no longer liked where it lived and was looking to blow out of the place. 

This past weekend we returned for the first time in over a year to spend some time with our first set of host parents for the Amerindian Heritage Celebrations 2012 in St. Cuthbert's Mission. September is Amerindian Heritage month throughout which each Amerindian village has a celebration. St. Cuthbert's mission has the most noteworthy Amerindian celebration in Guyana every year and it is celebrated the last weekend of September. Soon we would find out why. 

We arrived on Thursday evening and hiked with our small back bags from Region 4 to Region 5 through a dried-up river, the same one we paddled our way out of on that dreadful day. We went over a makeshift log bridge to be not only greeted by the smiling faces of Aaron, Eslyn, Moses but three new additions, Yulani (Aaron and Eslyn's older daughter we had yet to meet), her husband, Owen and their new babygirl Amelia. Our first meal was the most organic locally-grown duck curry we will ever eat (since they mine their own Turkeys, Chickens, and Ducks) and oil roti. We stuffed  our faces, caught up with our family and hit the bed. The next morning preparations for the celebrations were on their way. 

The bridge we cross to get to our host families house.
Baby Amelia.

Piwaree, a local fermented drink from the Cassava root was bubbling and in need for a taste. Nate and I gladly dipped our cups into what could only be described as a bile-looking mixture in an old paint drum and took our first of many tastes. Pretty darn good. It had a smoky-like-white-bitter-wine-kinda-of-tatse.  All we know is that that stuff works, especially on a hot day. The next of our preparations was making festive jewelry out of tree seeds that we scavenged for in Aaron and Eslyn's yard/jungle. Nate bore holes into our little black and orange beads and we strung our beads and pieces of bamboo. Next we killed and prepared a form of "wild meat" that we cooked in coconut milk to sell the next day at the festivities. Unfortunately, due to some poaching laws we can't disclose what "wild meat" we ate. Let's just say we also ate the tripe, liver, eggs and limbs of this animal and it was surprisingly tasty. Next time Nate wants to try this animal in its shell. That night we ate chicken curry, again some of the most organically grown pieces of meat we will probably ever ingest. Later we went to the kick-off event, The Pageant, which was good, but if Nate and I never see a pageant again, it will be too soon. When we arrived back to the house, Aaron and Eslyn had a grand mid-night treat surprise for us-Tacoma worms or "beetle larvae." The tacoma worm used to be an Amerindian staple, especially for those who were hunters or in the timber industry because of their high fat content. The grubs are as large as your thumb and taste like very garlicky lard with a crunching head. We consumed a good amount of said "worm". Don't worry they were cooked. 

The awesomeness that is Piwaree.
Nate making holes into the bead seeds we gathered.
Tacoma worm.
Nate enjoying his worm with some rice, or rather trying to wash it down.
Our host dad, Aaron, holding one of the most poisonous snake in the Americas, The Labaria, like a bad-ass.
The next morning Nate was up by 4am, setting up the space back at the mission. We started our morning cleaning, cooking and prepping for the day of celebrations. We set out in the canoe with the remainder of supplies and the day of eating had begun. We started the day with said "wild meat", then moved onto our first of many bottles of Piwaree, then onto Iguana, and then onto chicken feet that they called "souz," which is a really salty broth with chicken feet in it. You suck on the knuckles, oh my how we have culturally integrated. After all the eating and cultural dances around us, the night party had began. Car lights, flood lights and flash lights covered the square and the Guyanese dancing went into the wee hours of the morning.

Nate sporting his festive hand-crafted jewelry.

Our "wild meat and eggs"

Iguana...can you see the skin still on the meat?


Next morning we were up again for the "wash down" of the festivities that occurs at the community landing. It felt like a giant tailgate party at the springs. Music and bbq smoke filled the air as people jumped into the water. Nate and I went with Yulani and Owen and Fiona (another daughter of Aaron and Eslyn we had yet to meet) to the landing and set-up our grill and began cooking chicken and potatoes fries that Owen and Yulani would sell for a small profit or really to pay for all the food and beer we had consumed throughout the weekend. Pretty smart. Work to party. After another full-day of eating, drinking, dancing and just hanging-out we arrived back at out host family's house to collapse from the exhaustion of the weekend. We spent a few more hours talking and reminiscing with our host family before we went to sleep only to be up a few hours later to catch our ridiculously early flight back to Mabaruma. 

Using an electric grill as a charcoal grill, hence the need for the logs.

Owen and Yulani.

"Wash Down" is no joke. We carried a stove from the house, through a river on a canoe and up a hill to cook fries! 
With Fiona.
Moses, our host brother.

Amerindian Heritage 2012 will forever be engrained in our minds as the most adventurous eating experience of our life thus far and the time we got to share with yet another group of people who have now become family.

Till next time.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome glad you guys had a wonderful experience in my home country.O BEAUTIFUL GUYANA