Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Spoon God Gave to Us

During the LCE Distance Teacher Education Program workshop, lunch is delivered… several hours late. It is gristled meat, canned peas, and hardened papa [the corn meal dish that is traditional and served at most meals]. No one is pleased with this meal, but we are hungry.

One lecturer comes in after his class and begins to eat hungrily. The flimsy white plastic spoon cracks on the papa. He takes another spoon, and within minutes it has also cracked. He looks at us, bewildered, and casts the useless plastic aside, “Forget this one.” He laments that in Ghana, his native country, there is one bowl and the family eats together. The other lecturers in the small office begin to nod in agreement, and one offers, “The Basotho ate like this not so long ago.” Another supports him, “Yes, it indicates commonality, one ness.”

The Ghanaian holds up his hand, crumbs of papa clinging to his finger tips, and touches each finger to his thumb to recite, “S… P… O… O… N. Spoon. God made us each a spoon, gave a spoon for us, and there’s no need to use this one.” He swats at the air as if telling the utensils to leave, to go away and leave him to nourish himself. Nourishment is not an insufficient utensil that barely holds a precariously balanced mouthful for a single individual.

1 comment:

  1. I have a spork. High school home ec accident. I consider myself to be lucky- I would have a spatula if it wasn't for the heroic sacrifice of the assistant principal. On an unrelated note, I was feeding papa to my pets today. My cats would bat a ball of it around the floor for a few minutes, and when they got bored, the dog would eat it. Everybody wins!