While on a camping excursion with friends and neighbors sitting around the campfire on a warm August evening, for some strange reason, the discussion turned to protein foods. Some of us shivered with “Oohs,” “Awes,” and “Yucks” as a few recalled tasting unsavory insects in certain parts of Asia.
One of my neighbors, Chris, who bought our Anthology entitled Never the Same Again, said she had just read something interesting. She shared with the nine of us, from the story “Uncommon Meat” about the Boa Constrictor and the German Shepard. As she told the story from memory, line by line, the campfire audience listened intently. When she concluded telling us which creature was really eaten by the local Liberians, the discussion gravitated toward customs that vary around the world and importance of protein during hard times. I chimed in with another protein story from the Anthology, “Gonleyen the Bird Catcher.” Chris added some detail that I had forgotten. One of my neighbors asked Chris when she had been to Liberia. “Oh no, I haven’t been there, I just read these stories in Never the Same Again.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Chris had been transported to Liberia through those brief stories. She was able to tell them to a group with the takeaway message of each story being totally clear.
The art of storytelling is a gift FOL authors have given to the world and the messages they share. This was exactly what I had hoped for. To see it spontaneously happen before my eyes was so rewarding. These stories and poems can and will educate: ones that go beyond campfire chatter.
4 responses to “Beyond Campfire Chatter”
Congratulations on finishing your anthology on Liberia! I’m sure it was a work of love, very intense, but worth the effort. Appears you had a great turnout for its initial presentation.
After reading this piece about different “critter” foods, it reminded me of one of my early experiences in Liberia, where I watched women one evening trapping termites that flew to lanterns. Lured by the light, they became easy prey and once caught, were dropped into a kettle of hot cooking oil, to become “crispy critters” in a matter of seconds! A rare source of protein for Liberians. I never tried any; one indigenous food that didn’t quite appeal to me, although I liked most other local foods such as eddos, cassava rice, palm butter, etc.
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Thanks for reading. Here is a list of my recent blogs.
- “Letters Never Written”
- “Ripping Out the Seams”
- “The Concerned Women of Weamamuo”
- “Peace Corps Goals Liberian Ways”
- PEACE CORPS MAN