poitu varam

THE CHRONICLES OF A FLEDGLING MISSIONARY CALLED JOLLYBEGGAR "i still gaze fondly at all of the pictures, drink ginger beer, bunch my food, listen to punjabi dj tunes, play my dholki, wear my sarong (around the house only because in canada it is still really uncommon for a man to wear a wraparound skirt in public) and speak way too much of the differences between east and west..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

no maryann, but a whole lotta ginger

august 17: wednesday: day 8 (part 2)
the opportunity arose to go to a tea plantation or something because the trip to batticaloa was cancelled due to basic time constraints and the current 'state of national emergency' that was declared immediately following the assassination of the sri lankan foreign minister. a state of national emergency in sri lanka means (at this level, anyway) that loose curfews are imposed resulting in random police checks of any vehicle after dark. typically these were pretty mellow though, because the soldiers would take one look at these white (or in my case, red, of course) faces and say 'move along.'

still, because of all of this going on, travel to the east (through many army training camps, official spot checks etc) had slowed down drastically, and it was already a seven to eight-hour drive.

a typical spot check... are your papers in order?
thing is, i wasn't really interested in a holiday excursion- i wanted to do some work or, at the very least, see God's hand at work rather than to see what man had done to agriculturally develop this area, wonderful as the tea was.

when adam was placed in the garden to 'tend it,' he had not yet sinned, therefore one could argue that there was no farming to do (and let's not even bother with the notion that it was probably women who developed irrigation systems and farm implements, as the men were traditionally held to have been hunting- either food or each other- after the fall... that's not the point) i wonder if tending the garden simply meant to watch it; to gaze upon it; to enjoy it... or maybe this is just my subconscious saying that i don't like yard work...

lazarus discovers something unexpected in his food while daniel chows down.
notice how 'uncluttered' the place settings are...
at lunch, as i walked into the dining commons, i saw things with new eyes. i realized for the first time that the only table that had cutlery on it was the canadians' table. funny how even the simplest of experiences can lead you to be open to perceptions to which you were blind because of basic environmental and cultural screens. anyway, i ate with my hand in public at that meal (and, in fact, from then on.) doesn't sound like any big deal, but there was a real knack to it. i had been a total mess the night before, but did much better at lunch with a table.

this was an immersion experience, of sorts, after all.

ginger tea and ginger beer, i don't think i'll ever taste ginger again without thinking of sri lanka.


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