Day 7: Cashews and Cage Matches…

It’s 10:40 pm. I just ate a peanut butter and mango jam sandwich using jam made from the mangos here in the village. The consistency of the jam is that of apple butter and it’s good stuff.

1st thing this morning I wandered out to the area where the building is being built and found Nunu and all the guys moving yet more blocks to strategic locations in and around the structure so that they could keep things moving without needing to carry the blocks across the property throughout the day. I jumped in and together we got about 200 blocks moved. Cade [ka-dee], the lead builder told Nunu he needed wood for the trusses so we hopped in the car and headed over to the guys that Nunu buys wood from. We needed 24 boards 12″ wide and 8″ long. Guy wanted 4200 mets (70.00 usd). Nunu started doing what he does and finally agreed on 3650 mets  (60.00 usd). We loaded it up and headed back to unload and get moving toward our adventure for the day.

 

 

Amanda and Nunu’s friends from the village, Benti and Mr. B invited us to come visit so we took the opportunity to walk through the village and meet several of the families that are served by the ministry along the way. Nunu has a joyful way about him and people are happy to see his face as we move down the dirt roads and paths leading to Mr. B’s house.

 

When we arrived at Mr. B’s house we were greeting warmly and invited to sit in the shade using chairs that were brought out from inside. We greeted everyone and sat around relaxing a swapping English, Portuguese, and Emakhuwa. Amanda brought a bag full of cashews so Benti could show us how to roast and hull them. For the roasting, Benti brought some hot coals from her outdoor “kitchen” and placed rocks around them. Next she took an old piece of tin roofing material and placed it on top to use as a roasting tray. Once it was hot, she dumped the raw nuts onto the tray and spread them out evenly using a stick. Initially they simply smoked, billowing a soft grey smoke and filling the air with a delicious aroma and then suddenly, the nuts began flaming and the smoke got heavy and black. She continued to let them roast like that for a few minutes, moving them around with her stick. As if a buzzer went off in her head, she dumped the tray of black nuts out into the dirt and covered them to let them cool. I now understand why cashews are so expensive and also why whole cashews are much more expensive than pieces and halves. It’s incredibly hard to get the nut out of the shell and even more difficult to get the meat out whole. As I type this, my thumbs are aching from whacking them a million times while trying to hit the shells just right, trying to crack them enough to open them up without shattering it and consequently shattering the nut inside. Everyone got involved, the adults and kids alike. Benti gathered sticks for us to use and and worked right alongside us so we could see exactly how to do it. The boys are surely better at talking with action rather than words that we are. At one point and said, “hey Indiana it sure seems like you and Silva are getting along pretty good even though you don’t speak the same language.” He looks up from hulling nuts and says, “Actually, I’m pretty sure he understands me!” I think he’s right. As we roll up our sleeves and really engage with people that aren’t like us, we do begin to understand what the other person is “saying”.

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When we got back to the house, Nunu and I were asked by Cade to go and get some nails. Cade and the other 3 men that are building the school don’t drive so they take the bus. Nunu procures all the building materials and provides lunch for the men each day. It’s remarkable seeing these guys do their thing. Admittedly, I was hoping that the boys and I would be more useful as it relates to the construction but the reality it, we’re more in the way than anything else. These guys have a system and I can’t believe how much progress they make each day. Cade thinks they’ll be completely finished in less than a month! Anyhow, we ran out to get the nails and hunt for some fresh crabs for sale at the roadside market but no such luck, maybe tomorrow:)

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As soon as Nunu and I got back to the house, Rebecca and Amanda headed out to do some shopping. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to venture out with the boys and see if there were some friends to make. We opened the gate and headed out of the property and onto the dirt road that winds through the village. The boys were kicking a soccer ball as we made our way. Not more than 100 yards into our journey, local kids began coming out to curiously see what we were up to. “Indiana, kick the ball to the kid with the red pants so he knows we want to play.” And the rest is history, my boys and about a dozen local kids started kicking the ball to one another in a big circle. After about 10 minutes of this, Indiana started getting fiesty and tickled a kid that was trying to steal the ball from him. The kid took that as an invitation to wrestle and briskly took Indy to the ground. I didn’t know what to think so I started walking over to break it up but by the time I got over there it was plain to see that they were both laughing hysterically! This changed the whole thing,there was more laughing and shoving mixed in to their soccer game now and then a few minutes later I hear Eli holler, “Indy, get over here!” Indy and his entourage dart around behind a mud house to find Eli standing at the edge of a swimming pool sized, 5 ft deep hole in the ground, smiling ear to ear. As if they’d rehearsed it prior, they all just started running and jumping off the ledge, wrestling around and even pushing each other into the pit! Adults began walking out of their mud houses to see what was going on, I’d make eye contact and sort of shrug my shoulders and smile and then they smile and we just watched our kids get lost in play together. Again, here we all were, parents, children, foreign, local…with no words at all, save the screams and giggles coming from the pit, understanding one another perfectly.

See you tomorrow friends:)

 

John

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