Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cultural Night: Food, Fire Dancers, and Fun!

We've been attending a branch of our church in the village of Dededo since we arrived on Guam. I like going to church here. The branch is small (maybe 80 people) but it feels big. There is so much culture. The people here are from so many different places and backgrounds. I have learned so much in the few weeks we have been here. We have been welcomed with open arms by everyone. We have made friends I know I will miss when I leave. The people here are so kind and generous. We have met people from Tonga, Samoa, Pohnpei, Chuuk, The Philippines, Fiji, Guam, Japan, Liberia, etc. These people have come from very different cultures, upbringings, and places from us, but we all share the same faith. It's strange to come from so far, and yet still have so much in common. The feelings I have about this are overwhelming. Its an amazing feeling. It’s amazing to me that I can have so much in common with someone who is so different from me.
Anyway, the church had a cultural night on Saturday. Basically it was a big party (they call them fiestas here) where people set up tables about the countries they were from, shared foods from their land, and told others about their culture.

There were also dances from many places. Above was a dance from the island of Pohnpei.This was a warrior dance.They taught dances to the whole crowd.A married couple also did a fire dance (in the rain). It was awesome.
Scotts favorite table was the Mexican table. He misses guacamole. The horchata they made was amazing!My favorite was the Guam table. They showed many things about the coconut tree.
These are the various stages coconuts grow in. The top center is the youngest stage, then they are laid out counterclockwise in stages of growth.The coconut is also just a big seed, and this shows how they sprout.Coconuts ready for drinking the juice (I declined).Woven coconut leaves.The brown coconuts they use for many things, but a favorite is "Coconut Candy".They use this handmade tool to grate the inside flesh of the coconut out.Then they mix it with sugar and cook it until it becomes a sweet treat. See recipe below. I liked it, but think it would be better as a topping on other things rather than all by itself.There was sooo much food.
I got to try breadfruit!
It wasn't nearly as exciting and delicious as I thought it would be. It tasted like potato. Above is bbq breadfruit, below is dried.One family made an imu (whole pig wrapped in leaves and cooked in a pit with hot rocks). They wove a case for it from coconut leaves. The meat was really good.One of my new favorite foods is lumpia (deep fried banana, its the thing that looks like an egg roll). Sooo good.
Desserts. Yellow= breadfruit. Pink=mochi. The dark brown thing was a brownie and the light brown thing was a Philippine dessert that sort of tasted like peanut buttery mochi. It was made from sweet rice.We had so much fun!! Going home will be hard.