We had a traditional Zambian dinner last night at the home of one of the orientation leaders. She has a fabulous home, filled with artifacts and art from Africa and all over the world. She has lived in Zambia for ten years, although I think she is originally from the UK.
There was a demonstration by a Zambian dance group. The music was that incredible close harmony you hear with songs from South Africa. That kind of singing makes my heart feel like bursting out of my chest and feels so….organic. Like music of the earth itself. Grounded.
Then there was a traditional dinner, with mieli-meal as a base (like a very thick corn porridge) prepared by two women in traditional dress over a coal fire. There were lots of “relishes” to scoop up. A relish is simply anything you put on the nsima (which is what the meal is called when it’s cooked.) You eat it with your hands – making a sort of round ball out of the nsima with an indentation in it and using that to scoop any relish you choose. We had individual plates, although I suppose to be truly traditional, we would all have eaten from the common pot.
There was stewed beef, beans, chicken, various kinds of greens, eggplant and deep-fried caterpillar. (I tried them…very chewy and crispy and they tasted kind of like…caterpillar.)
A wonderful evening and a great finish to our week of “new teacher” orientation.