21 April 2008

We're Eating WHAT for Dinner!?

Tomorrow is the day of our final presentations and then in two days we have our final language test. Then, granted we pass, we finally get to be sworn in as volunteers. So the whole last week has been either studying language or stressing out about language, though I actually feel pretty good about things. My final presentation is a game about beekeeping and I am pretty excited about it. All of our host families will come tomorrow and we will give our 15 minute presentations in ‘Gasy. Making it interactive, aside from any pedagogical benefits, means I have to speak less, which definitely has its peace-of-mind benefits for me.

So guess what my family had for dinner tonight? I got to eat the usual, but my family’s laoka, or side-dish (you know, everything other than rice) was a bowl of invertebrates, mostly small black shrimpy things, that my host-mom sieved out of the rice paddy mud. Among other creepy-crawlies, Tslavina, my 7-year-old brother, got a giant water boatman about the size of a quarter; he relished biting its head off and sucking out the juices. This coming from a kid who cries (throws a fit, really) if carrot salad even touches his plate! So while I have been pondering eating meat, I can definitely say that I was not the least bit tempted, nor expected, thankfully, to join in this culinary adventure. I felt like someone inserted a clip of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom into my Madagascar documentary. Though really, it is a good source of protein that, as a rice growing culture, is readily available, so it makes perfect sense to eat it.