Culture and language study can be as easy as going to a neighbor’s wedding, cooking rice with a friend or weaving a basket, but sometimes you’ve got to go where the culture is.
Missionary Naomi Christenson and her co-laborer, Cori Gervasi, hiked an arduous trail to attend a friend’s house dedication.
“When a new house is finished it is typical for the family to kill a pig, cook vast amounts of rice and veggies and celebrate with their friends and family,” wrote Naomi. “We were certainly excited to be invited to this event. It was especially neat because though it was in a neighboring village, many of our friends from our own village were there, so it was very easy to feel comfortable and at home.”
They arrived at the village in the evening and were treated to a delicious rice and eggplant supper which they ate sitting on the floor.
Most of the guests slept on flat woven mats on the floor.
“To say we slept would be a sweet exaggeration, more like we pillowed our heads on backpacks or rolled up clothes and tried in vain to find a position in which our bones would not ache and our muscles would not immediately go numb,” wrote Naomi.
Their sleep was further interrupted when the men got up at 1 a.m. to kill the pig. The men then brought the pig parts into the makeshift bedroom and began chopping. Someone suggested they try to sleep in the next room, which they did, but at 2 a.m. they woke along with everyone else to try a taste of newly fire-roasted pig pieces.
Finally, the night ended at 5:30 a.m. when the household got up. Naomi and Cori “helped” the ladies cook.
“My favorite part is making pulut – sticky rice mixed with pig fat, stuffed in tubes of bamboo and then cooked over an open fire. Oh the deliciousness,” Naomi wrote.
After a worship service, thanking God for the new home, they sat down to eat the prepared meal. At the end of the day they hiked 45 minutes home. “It was a fun, rewarding time, exhausting, yes, but we clocked 21 hours of language and culture study,” wrote Naomi.