March 3, 2012

Boys' Day (Ifishimu)

We are the original badasses.

This is the ending thought to today, boys' day. I began the morning with porridge as my host father yolked the cattle and brought them to the field. I continued work on a garden fence, an only partially haphazard combine of logs, sticks, straw, twine, and nails. I am the original construction worker. Steven helps me, holding up sticks as I tie them together. I am able to set a few poles before my palms are demolished by the Iron Age tool I borrowed, its hilt constructed from coarse wood.

Steven, on his own, starts peeling and slicing sweet potatoes and "Irish" potatoes. Before I know it, he starts making french fries, submerging the pieces in hot oil. We eat them, a respite from work.

More boys come, another Steven as well. As they play, I wander around with the hoe, looking for ideas. A tree is teeming with caterpillars. Black, furry, and yellow spotted with coarse white spines. I confirm with the boys that these are edible, and I ask them to show me how to cook them. Here is their recipe:
  • Pluck the caterpillars (ifishimu) from tree branches. Climb the tree if necessary.
  • Squeeze ingested plant juices from them. Discard.
  • Boil the limp masses until the water is finished.
  • Fry with oil. Add desired species, and serve with appropriate relishes.
We make a movie about this (see above). We are the original lords of the flies. I invent work to do so I can have some respite.

This was boys' day.

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