Saturday, November 24, 2007
Protein, catch as you can
Third Culture Kids celebrate American Thanksgiving, but consider it normal to actually kill the turkey and certainly don’t miss the opportunity to collect its feathers. Sometimes I think my kids are pretty insulated from Kibwisi culture, but when I saw them take the turkey feathers and sticks and turn them into the kind of staff one would see a traditional dancer carry, I realize something is percolating in there. . . Then the day after Thanksgiving Caleb came back from his cross-country practice with pockets full of grasshoppers. They had run to the airstrip, where the vast expanse of grass has become the central hunting ground for grasshoppers, newly in season. The team spent a long break collecting as many as they could, removing their wings to carry them back live for a nutritious snack. Caleb fried his in oil, and we all crunched them, sort of like a shrimp tail . . .Earlier that morning I had seen one of our kwashiorkor patients with a handful, so thought this could be a great way to get a little free protein. So after dinner we snagged Scott Will and the kids and drove back to the airstrip in the dark, on the theory that the grasshoppers would swarm in front of our headlights and be easy prey. Not so, they dove down into the grass when they saw us coming. It was still fun to be out in the dark (unusual and no doubt frowned upon by the security men), full moon, breeze from the motion of the car, laughing and jumping out to trap as many as we could. The take was not nearly enough to bring to the crowded ward, so we fried up this batch too, for desert.
In what is now becoming a tradition, the kids wrote Thanksgiving poems. I can’t find Julia’s right now, but here’s Jack’s, which is also along the theme of protein, but from a unique angle. I guess part of being a third culture person is being able to identify with others, even the main course!
The day was here, turkey’s doom.
I was to be taken away very soon.
They came for me on a big red horse,
Then the man took out is purse.
He handed my owner the money for me,
And when I called out they ignored my plea.
Then everything whirled around like a tornado
And I fainted right then and there don’t you know.
When I awoke I was with a mad beast
Soon to be killed for a great feast.
Alas the killing of me came time
And they chopped off my head with an axe so fine.
There my poor life came to a stop,
But at least I was enjoyed with the season’s crop.