A Taste of Culture

Saturday morning church had just ended.  The Acci believers gather together on Saturday, Wednesday, and Sunday mornings, as well as Sunday night.  The teaching and singing lasted from about 8 to about 11, and ended with the testimonies and baptism of 3 teenagers.

Afterwards, it was time for some refreshment.  I walked past a line of people, sitting, ready to drink macaloba.  This is a staple in their diet, the first thing they consume in the morning, and what they offer to guests.  And I was about to try some.  It felt like a test, or a rite of passage, or a chance to prove that my first desire right now is to be here, to do life with these people, to learn their ways.  In my mind, it was a big moment.  In their eyes, maybe it was.  Maybe it wasn’t.  I might never know.

If it were a screenplay, some suspenseful, dramatic tribal music would have been playing in the background.  But in reality, the music coming out of a large boombox reminded me of upbeat, happy, foot-stomping music I have heard coming out of bars in Brazilian cities.  Oh well.  Not everything can be epic.

I wanted to sit on the empty stool at the end of the line, next to one of the ladies.  But knowing that a macaloba ritual has proper structure and etiquette, maybe even regarding order and seating, I played it safe and followed the missionaries.  So it was one of them who offered me a drink, not one of the villagers.  Again, not everything can be epic.

“But as the little newbie missionary Iifted the metal pitcher to her mouth, eagerly anticipating her first taste of real macaloba, her heart raced with the thrill of the moment.  And as previously expected, the drink sliding over her tongue and down her throat was delicious.  Of course.  She always knew she would like it.” 

This macaloba was made out of ground up corn.  It had sugar added to it, which was a surprise, since I had expected it to be salty.  Macaloba can also be made of manioc root, sweet potatoes, or banana.

(Heading back to the village in about 5 minutes, where I’ll hopefully get to try another type of macaloba after church today.  Will post a picture of me drinking macaloba tomorrow night)

4 thoughts on “A Taste of Culture

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