Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thoughts over Lunch

After a morning of work, there's nothing like a great lunch. Haitian food is wonderful: spicy, with lots of garlic and oil. Today we had mayi moulen and sos pwa - corn meal and bean sauce. (Corey calls mayi moulen, which she spells the French way, maïs moulin, "Haitian polenta," and here's her recipe for it. She also has a recipe for sos pwa here.) It was delicious. There was a long line of people at the Snack Shop to be fed; right now there is a lot of work being done on campus - painting, fixing, electrical work - and everyone who works, eats.

It's not possible to eat a delicious lunch, though, without thinking of those who aren't eating today. Or those who will eat, but only because they will spend most of the day trying to make that happen. Before the earthquake there were plenty of people in this city whose daily job was to make sure there was food for their family. I've always thought it was interesting that a frequently-used Kreyol expression for eating is jwenn manje, "find food." As in a conversation with a Haitian friend where we were talking about getting toddlers to eat, something mothers in all cultures talk about, I guess; she said it wasn't such a big deal for kids who find food every day, but for children who don't always, the mothers had to be really careful to make sure they ate properly when there was food.

Here are an article and video, called "City of Zombies," that describe a little bit about what it's like to go out each morning in search of food for that day. And it's not as though that is the only problem the people in the story are facing.

Give us each day our daily bread.

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