Saturday, November 27, 2010

Señor Topocho



In Venezuela we were introduced to various types of bananas. From the cooking plantains to several varieties of eating bananas, the small 'manzano' to the 'topocho'.

We were delighted to discover a topocho banana plant in our yard. We found this banana which is short and a bit rounder than the more common ones, to be sweet and delicious. When the banana plant gave its fruit, a nice large bunch of bananas, we enjoyed them greatly and determined to keep the topocho plant alive so that we might enjoy its fruit yet again. ( Los que saben, ya están reindo!)

Unfortunately, the plant began to ...droop! We noticed it seemed to be wilting and drying out. So my husband decided to try to save the plant. He found some rope and tied the plants stalk up to a pipe. But it continued to droop, now in another direction. We were very concerned because we really wanted to save the plant so conveniently located in our own yard!

So Yekwnaman added another rope to pull the stalk in the opposite direction. This continued for a week or so. Each day we would notice the banana plant drooping in a new direction, so we would add a rope trying to support the plant. It seemed as if a drunken spider had spun a web in our yard, with ropes strung in every direction!

Finally, we asked for help. A friend who worked in gardens came by to see what was ailing our poor topocho banana plant. He stopped, looked at the plant being held up by rope, glanced at us with a bewildered look upon his face, and laughed !!! He laughed, and laughed and laughed!

He finally said,"Your topocho is dead!"

We sadly asked, "You mean, it can't be saved? We really wanted more topochos to eat!"

"No", he said "Once a banana plant gives fruit, it dies! You can't save it!"

"But... we liked the topochos! We want more!"

And then he proceeded to explain the mystery of the banana plant. Each plant gives fruit and then dies. BUT... not to worry! The plant has off shoots (hijoitos) which had already sprung up around the base of the dying stalk. These would provide a continuous supply of topochos for our eating pleasure.

oh...we didn't know ...

And from that day forth, my husband had the nickname of 'Topocho' in Venezuela! Even when called on the ham radio, people would ask to speak to ' Señor Topocho' much to his chagrin.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Jungle

Our first Thanksgiving in the jungle.

We had officially moved into the village in October and were living in a "borrowed" indian hut while trying to build our own. That was the time we all got our first taste of malaria and, thus, of quinine! It was my first time to hallucinate. First time I saw a corpse burned and then consumed by the family members, first time we built a coffin, first time I slept to the sound of indian drums.

I was reading aloud the Little House on the Prairie books to my children. I recall vividly their excitement when Laura and Pa listened all night to the indian drums  because we had been doing just that ourselves for over a week.

We were living much the same as Laura Ingalls and her family had over a century ago. We had no floors, no running water, we were using kerosene lanterns for light, and eating what was hunted or had grown in the gardens.

There were very few believers in the village yet, so the norm was for the tribe to "party" about every two months or so, with dancing, chanting, and drinking. This, of course, led to fighting and abusing of women, and abandoned hungry children.

All day, all night, the drums would BOOM! BOOM!BOOM! As the Ye'kwanas did their slow dancing shuffle, two steps forward, one step back. In a circle around the round house. Over and over until you passed out. This had been going on for 8 days, leading up to Thanksgiving.

The floor of the round house was covered in vomit. A white frothy foam on the ground, a terrible stench in the air, and roaches crawling all over everything! Little babies sitting on the ground crying amidst the vomit.

We had another elderly missionary couple fly out to spend the holiday with us. Dear friends who are like grand parents to my children. We were excited to speak English and to eat all the goodies they brought. One of the pilot's wife, Tracy, sent out home made banana bread! Yummo!

(My kitchen at the time)


We had no turkey, or even chicken. We had fresh tapir!



With yucca and canned corn.



I had brought out some dried apples and we made a pie. We also invited a christian Ye'kwana to come eat with us. The children called him "Squanto" all day! After tasting the pie, Antonio decided that Thanksgiving was a nice tradition!

The best part of that day was that the dancing finally stopped and we could sleep in our hammocks that night without the drums! Peaceful, quiet sleep.

We were truly thankful!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goombah

My daughter in law won the challenge with her Goombah carving,

I flew back to Paraguay and am just now getting caught up on sleep and around the house.

I;ll see you all soon and in  the meran time, Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Vernoy Pumpkin Carving Challenge


The annual event was founded and hosted by Naomy Vernoy. This year the competition was fierce!



The competitors would like for you to vote for your favorite pumpkin, please!


Goombah


Republican party




Tetris



Badtz Maru

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday to the USMC



Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share.
Ned Dolan

Monday, November 08, 2010

USA

I tried to go shopping at Target and was very overwhelmed. 
Walked out with a Candyland game, (shhhh! Don't tell the grand kids!)
kitty litter scooper ( you can tell the cat!)
and hand towels...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Where is Jungle Mom???

This is Junglemom's husband in Paraguay.
Rita was just delivered in a box to the
??th

(my daughter just told me that I am not supposed to say Pam's age is 50) 
birthday party for her sister in Arcadia Florida.




She travelled secretly this week with the help of a dear friend and surprised her.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Internet , Travels, and Elections

We are still having internet problems at the house and I have been unable to post regularly. We are also on a short trip to Asuncion to work on some paperwork we can only attend to here in the capitol city. We head home tomorrow but may still be without internet access.


In the mean time...

Two of our friends from many years ago were elected to office in the New Hampshire State Congress.
Congrats to State Senator Raymond White and State Representative Kevin Avard .
Always remember Pizza on Sunday nights!"

Monday, November 01, 2010

Nate Saint House Tour

I really enjoyed seeing the Saint House but it was even better to see and hear our friend Dan Whitehead on the video!


Nate Saint House Tour