Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 10

Each morning we make bread for the day. Keren and I have had fun coming up with new and interesting flavors. Today: garlic, parsley, and a number of seeds.

Marcelo and his dad made this bread box, like the one his grandmother used to use to make bread in every morning. The great thing about it is that you both mix the dough in there and knead it too. The dough fills in the cracks and then hardens. You don't need to clean it, just knead it until any liquid is sopped up and flour it a bit!

Earlier this week Kimberly taught our first yoga class. She practices every day, I think, and teaches us twice a week (if we so desire). We were all excited to go, but we woke up too late! So, last night I woke up many times throughout the night, worried that I would miss it again. I could hear Rambo’s tongue and he licked, and the bushes as he walked through them and curled up below my (hammock)tent again. I was awake when I heard the bell ring, and I walked down to the shala in the gentle light of before dawn here. A candle was lit, and Kim was in child’s pose as I stretched my mat out on the floor. The air here is soft and humid, and this morning perfectly delicate, cool, but not cold. It felt so good to stretch, and I realized how much I have been needing this EVERY day! And not doing it. It was such a gentle way to come into the day. The sun rose around us as we moved through the flow of poses.

Kayla, our resident vegan, making tahini by hand in the mortar and pestle... such dedication!

It’s too wet today to sift dirt, and I am secretly glad. While it’s not a hard job, it’s somewhat deflating to spend so much time to get so little done. Instead we weeded the mandioca plants. I mistakenly pulled up some sweet potato (batata) shoots, but we re-planted them to make many more batatas. We harvested some mandioca root for lunch (mandioca is the same as yucca and cassava, where tapioca comes from)- the same ones that Jon planted in September, and Kim and I made a feast of pico de gallo (loads of red onion, tomato, lime juice, and salt), red beans from the garden and onions, guacamole, jalapeno, sour cream, and yogurt. Keren and I made a dessert for tonight- peach-apple crumble which is baking in the oven right now. The canela, which I pulverized by hand in the mortar and pestle, smells incredible as it all cooks.

A tiny egg shell I found lying in the grass this morning... the spots are a beautiful purple-brown.

In the heat, Marcos, another part-time intern who lives down the road and is very sweet, brings us two bricks of ice, frozen in narrow bags that can easily be emptied into thermoses. Marcelo makes us Tereré by squeezing three oranges and adding 2 tablespoons of sugar and enough water (probably enough to make a liter) to fill the thermos. He then puts a bombilla in a cup and fills the cup 2/3 full with toasted maté. Then he pours in the juice, and starts passing.

Drinking maté here is done almost religiously, and there are rules that one has to abide by. When you are passed the full maté cup, you drink it down to the bottom. Do not move the bombilla. When you are done, pass it back to whomever is serving and they will re-fill it and pass it on to the next person. This is done many times, each person sharing the same straw and cup. If you thank the server, that means you are done and don’t want any more. We pass the cup around (with the same mate leaves) until all of the juice in the thermos is gone. The taste of icy cold tereré, out in the garden or the field, or up the path near where we are working on the long-drop toilet- it’s one of my favorite things. I love the ceremony involved. I love the peace. I love taking a moment in the midst of our work to enjoy something cold and delicious and participate in this special, unique local custom. It makes me smile inside.

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