“Oh yeah, and DO NOT cook the meat with MSG or lemon, right?!” they reminded, handing Michael a raw hunk of wild pork.
Michael had just finished up an unexpected Tuesday.
That morning, he had walked to the village (about 1km) to study with the teachers and village leaders. When Michael got to the village, one of his close friends, a teacher, round-aboutly asked Michael if he would be willing to take him down the mountain to pick up a pig that he had shot, with his blowgun, the night before. Michael said yes, thinking “how far could it be?”…Plus, what an interesting cultural experience! Turns out that it was not “just at that bridge”, but “just at THAT bridge” QUITE far from here.
After readying the big old pig to be carried on the back of another friend’s motorbike, Michael brought the hunting party back up to the village. Michael came on home, quickly ate lunch, grabbed his camera, and asked G if he wanted to tag along. They got back to his friend’s house just in time to help butcher the beast.
And of course, they learned a few (of the MANY) beliefs surrounding the blowgun. One, don’t season meat taken with a blowgun with MSG (some say salt). Spices used on the meat can “kill” the poison making it ineffective. Also, certain people are gifted at “interpreting” the black mold spots on a blowgun. They know when it needs to “rest” and cannot be used for a few months. Right now we are chalking all of these up to “learning”. Who knows, maybe there is something to that last one. Could black mold spots signify that the blowgun needs to dry out? (we have been having LOTS of rain). But most of it sounds like pure animism (read: syncretism).
Then, Michael gratefully took the wild meat home, happy to have spent some time learning with friends.
If you are wondering, NO we didn’t cook the meat with lemon or MSG, we boiled it long and hard in coffee. Coffee is the best way to take away gamey, spent-a-long-time-baking-in-the-sun flavor.