Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nevis Branch Activity

Come, come ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear, but with Joy wend your way.
August 13, 2013 Tuesday, 1830 hrs, at the Church/apartment

Tonight was our first Nevis Group Activity Night function.  We met at the meeting place. 
Perla and her Mom
There were 12 people present including three not members of the church:  Elder and Sister Patterson, Br and Sister and Evanson Allen, Amparo and Perla Gumbs, Francisca Vasquez, Precious Edosomwan, two adult friends and one 4-month old baby girl. 
Gaye doing what she loves most
 Everyone brought food to share with each other.  We played dominoes
 and other group games that brought everybody into the action.  As I drove the Allen family back to their home, I asked if everyone had fun.  “Yes!” exclaimed Sister Allen. I think she was right.
When the Family gets together...
One of the most interesting things for the evening for us not of this area was some of the food dishes brought by Precious.  She said her people in Nigeria ate it often, and that the people here in the Caribbean also eat and enjoy it.  So I will try to describe what we had.
Even Brother Allen had fun
On Sunday after our meetings Precious asked if she could get a ride to the local abattoir  (slaughter house) on Monday.  I told her I could help but I didn’t know where that is.  Br Allen said he would show me when I took them back home.  It was just off the main road back to Gingerland.  So on Monday morning Gaye and I drove Precious out to the place.  I had asked Br Allen what it was that Precious had wanted.  He told me it would be a piece of cow skin.  I asked what she would do with it.  He said she would scrape the inside of the skin and remove the material there.  “It is very gooey,” he said.

I asked what she would do with it.  He said she would mix it with spices and cook it to eat.  He said it was very good.  The conversation brought some vivid memories to the front of my mind.  

Dad told me of a time on his mission when he and his companion were invited over to the home of a family for dinner.  When he was served the bowl of stew that had been prepare he saw to his horror that the head of a chicken was right in the middle of the bowl, staring back at him.  He said he was trying to figure out how he was going to handle that situation when the sweet lady of the house said, “Oh, Elder Patterson, if you don’t mind, may I have that piece? It is my favorite!”  Dad said he smiled and said he didn’t mind.

When I was in Carletonville, West Rand, South Africa, one evening I stopped in to chat with the landlady and tell her that we would not be there for dinner that night.  She was busy scraping the inside of the skin removed from a sheep’s skull.  There in the sink was the naked skull, teeth, eyeballs, and all.  i asked what she had planned for dinner.  She said, “Skaap kop (sheep head).  But you don’t get any.  You were going to have spaghetti instead.”  I was thankful for her hospitality, and that we were eating with one of the member families in the branch.

So I was curious what Precious would bring to the potluck dinner.  
Precious. The smile is infectious.
She was a few minutes late, but she came loaded with goodies.  There was a salad made of breadfruit, spices, beans, and other stuff.  It looked like potato salad, and it tasted better.  
Breadfruit salad
The breadfruit is quite starchy but not as strongly as the potatoes.  It was very good.  She also brought a salad made of shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and raisins.  It was also quite tasty.  This all went well with what others brought--beans and rice brought by Francisca, another salad, and the chicken that we brought.  We had also purchased a small charcoal grill that I was busy cooking the chicken on.  Amparo was the first to arrive and she quickly stepped in and cooked the chicken, smothering it in Bar-B-Que sauce.  
Amparo cooking on the back balcony
Perla brought a “box cake” she had prepared.  It was a little over done on the bottom of the cake but otherwise quite good.
Dessert time
Precious was really excited and proud to show us the special dish that she had brought.  When I asked her what it was she told me that was what I had taken her to the abattoir for.  She had two Tupperware containers with some brownish material smothered in a clear brown sauce. 
That's the cow's skin on the fork.
 I asked her what she called it.  She said it was called cow’s skin.  It looked like pieces of firm translucent gelatin about 2 X 3 inches by 3/8 inch thick.  She had brought half of what she had prepared for us, Sister Patterson and me.  The rest was for the others in attendance. I knew that I would not be able to eat all of that, and that Gaye would be lucky if she could get a piece of it to stay in her mouth. She had not seen it in the container.  

Precious stuck it in the microwave oven for a minute to heat it back up and told me I should have some.  I sliced a piece about 1/4 inch wide off the piece of stuff and popped it into my mouth.  It was very spicy and the texture was very smooth.  It was not slimy, but it was also not far removed from being slimy and gooey.  I got it down with no problem and gave a piece to Gaye.  She cautiously slid it into her mouth and sort of smiled and said it was interesting. Later she said she chewed it for a few seconds and she knew she would not be able to swallow it so she quietly slid into the bathroom and spit it into the garbage.  Nobody knew.  Precious said she prepared one of the containers for us.  I told her that was very thoughtful of her but that I would like to share it with everyone.  She agreed (whew!).

The other treat she prepared for us was a little more exotic. (No photo of this. Sorry.)  I noticed something that looked like some very small ribs, all white and curved and firm.  She said that is cow’s trachea.  The Nigerians like to eat it because it makes a noise when it is chewed.  Okay, this will take a little more effort on my part, and I am not sure Gaye can get through this.  Precious wanted me to take all eight rings of cartilage.  I must say that it looked exactly like cow’s trachea, firm and white and round.  It even had some of the major blood vessels still attached to it.  Again my generosity saved the day.  I told her that I didn’t feel right taking it all, but I would take one piece.  I cut one ring off and cut that into quarters, each piece being about 3/4 inch long, 1/4 inch thick.  Precious was right, it did make a lot of noise as I was chewing it. It really didn’t taste bad either, except that I knew what it was.  Gaye didn’t do as well.  She quickly and quietly went back into the bathroom and spit it out before she started dry heaving.  It is quite funny now when we talk about it.

These are great people.  They are kind and loving and fun to be around.  They really enjoy playing dominoes and they would probably do it for hours without any problem.  I have only a double-six set.  If we could find a double-nine set we would really be popular.

We also played several Minute-to-win-it games.  Everybody got a big kick out of trying to stack 5 apples up.  When it looked like somebody was going to make it, someone else would throw something at the stack and it would fall.  Then everybody would laugh and laugh.
Stacking apples
The best game of the night was the one with several people sitting around the table with a cup, a straw, a pair of dice, and a bowl of Skittles.  
Sucking Skittles
We had a heck of a time finding a pair of dice, but we did it.  The object is to pick up Skittles by sucking on a straw
Rolling dice
while the next person is rolling the dice.  When a pair of anything is rolled, then everything shifts to the left and start again.  They loved eating the Skittles, too.

I saw a monkey while I was out walking.  
See the Green Vervet Monkey?
This is a really fun place, for the end of the earth.
Some donkeys on my morning walk


  1. This post is awesome. Remember all the times you and mom made me eat all my dinner saying I would have to learn to eat nasty stuff on my mission? Haha. I'm proud of mom for putting it in her mouth. And you are such a generous guy!

  2. I have no idea how you were able to eat those things let alone write about them. I have been served some pretty interesting things over the years, but I hope I never get the opportunity to taste anything you described in this post (except maybe the skittles).