Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Art of Eating with One's Hands

After preparing Lenga Lenga, Mchele and Kuku, Marie Bampamulolwa welcomed the visitors in three different languages: karibu in Kiswahili, kota in Lingala and welcome in English. She started introducing herself in Kiswahili while high-school intern, Rehema Divine, was interpreting. Later on, Marie told the visitors all the ingredients she used to prepare the food. Everyone took a plate but noticed there were no spoons available. The reason why spoons were not there is because we wanted to teach the Borderlinks participants a new technique of using one's hands to nourish the body, which is a common African tradition. Everyone was directed to wash his or her hands before eating. Marie told the visitors how important it is to use one's hands as eating utensils because it whets the appetite and connects people to their food directly.

DIvine and Jordan
Other reasons for using our hands are to communicate with food and earth, and to show our appreciation for the cook's efforts. Using our hands to eat is a symbol of love.

Following the introduction, everyone started practicing. Little by little they adapted to this system, which also saves time because you can put as much food as you want into your mouth when using your hands, as opposed to spoons or other utensils.

Would you like to try this? Come volunteer with Iskashitaa and make the human connection that is so important to newly arrived refugees. Contact volunteer@iskashitaa.org.

Food is one of the common denominators of all peoples. Iskashitaa has hosted Iraqi and Congolese refugees who revealed their culinary wisdom to Borderlinks groups. The next cooks will be a Bhutanese couple. Cooking for Borderlinks is a great way for our global friends to hone their presentation and demonstration skills while also sharing their culture through food. Contact us if you know of any refugees who may be interested in this opportunity.

Rehema Divine, DRC
Rincon High School

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