Sunday, September 27, 2009

Armenia: It Takes a Village

It takes a village to make a meal.  A meal that started at 7pm and lasted until 2am.  The villagers waited and played backgammon in the front yard until it was over.  Until they could wish us well on our continued journey.  There were no flowers to deliver this time, since the meal came to us without warning. On their end, however, preparations began days before.  There was fruit to pick, honey to harvest, butter to make, vegetables to pull from the earth, fish to catch, animals to cook (which I declined as politely as possible). 

When we sat for the meal (all men on their side in keeping with tradition), there was only the common language of laughter and ongoing toasts (through an interpreter)...We toasted to our families - our parents, our children, all those who have come before us and those who have yet to be born, to our friends, to our countries, to peace, to good all the things that we as people share. And we ate, and ate, and ate.  We ate things I have never heard of and never seen. It looked like a green apple, but it was not.  It looked like a cherry, but it was not. It tasted like black licorice, but looked like salad, so it was not. 

Everything on that table (with the exception of drinks) was grown in that village, prepared by its people, and delivered with open hands.  No pesticides, antibiotics, additives, or preservatives; just food in its purest form.  Raw food, raw friendship, raw kindness - with only a simple thank you offered in return.

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