_This is a continuing series of extracts from the diary of Grace, a Baby Boomer / Zoomer, who is living life to the fullest, to the benefit of the world around her in a remote area of Ecuador.
" When you are invited to a birthday party in Ecuador it is very different from Canada or the US. When we arrived in Cuellaje at 10:30 in the morning we had Colado Molata, which is thick sweet fruit and spice drink - into this you dip homemade buns.
We then went to get the pig in a pickup truck. He had been roasting in a brick oven just around the corner. The process for this is taking the live pig, which are all trained to walk on a leash, to the lady that will process it and get it ready for roasting the day before. He was done to a crisp when we arrived to pick him up. The grease was poured off him into a pail and the pig in his pan was placed in the pickup.
We returned to the village home and got a bushel of potatoes, a bushel of Yuka, two live chickens, and a hand of green plantains. With everything loaded we went to the house on the mountain for the preparation of the meal.
The children and a few adults walked down the mountain to the river
below. There the children played on a swinging bridge and took off their shoes to walk in the water. The rest of the adults started to prepare the meal.
The chickens were killed, cleaned and washed and put in a huge pot of water on an open fire. Next were the green plantains (a type of banana). Both ends are cut off and a slice made the length of the plantain. Then they are put in boiling waters for a few minutes. That loosens the green peel so you can get it off. The plantain is then broken into very small pieces and put into the pot with the chicken along with onions and garlic. After an hour or so the chicken is taken from the pot and all the meat is taken off and broken into small pieces and put back into the boiling soup.
Yuka and potatoes are peeled and put on the fire to boil. Big corn
kernels are also boiled until they pop and eaten like potatoes. The pig
was pulled apart into small pieces.
Everyone had a big bowl of soup with selentril added at the last minute, that was a meal in itself. Then came a huge plate of potatoes, yuka, corn and pulled pork.
The meal was wonderful, but more important it was a family get together, everyone working to prepare the meal, we were fortunate to be included with the family. There were so many little children laughing and playing. Playing close to a cliff that would terrify most mothers, but no one seemed to be concerned.
We cleaned up after the meal and headed back to the village home for birthday cake that the Canadians cooked the night before and brought to the party. The parents of the birthday boy, who was 62, came for cake. The son in law gave a lovely speech to his father in law and also thanked us for coming.
There was a red beverage served which was like unset jello, and was very good. Candles were lit and Happy Birthday sung. Then, as is customary after blowing out the candles, his head was pushed into the cake.
The grand finale was when papi made the rounds with his homemade hooch made from sugar cane.
Nine of us climbed into the pickup truck and headed back home to Guacshi. "
Grace has been working, now as project administrator, with a project called Touch The Jungle, focusing on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, for a period of 10 years. The project emphasizes environmental responsibility; helping communities improve their lives as they preserve and protect the world around them.
Information on the project Touch the Jungle can be found on the website www.touchthejungle.org/EnvironmentallyResponsible.shtml
Click RSS Icon to automatically follow Andre's Blog.
Follow Andre on Twitter