A snack is defined as a small portion of food or drink or a light meal, especially one eaten between regular meals. In our minds, the emphasis is on small. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged and processed foods and items made from fresh ingredients at home.
In the world around us snacks can be dumplings, noodles, meatballs, fritters, omelettes, (banana, plantain, and cassava) chips, grilled meats, fish, corn, and any sweet or savory food or that satisfies between meals urges to eat.
In Europe, instead of dumplings, we think of chocolates, biscuits and crisps. If you in Switzerland where I live, “snack” in German is translated as “imbiss”, or “Zwischenmahlzeit” which means “between meals.” Most say they eat fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) or yogurt.
There are special occasions where other types of snacks are indulged in. See my blog: http://aromaproductions.blogspot.ch/2014/03/snacking-in-switzerland.html
While attending the 2014 Kistrech International Poetry Festival in Kissi, Kenya, our host, Christopher Okemwa, told us that were going to visit a Kisii village and that they had invited us for snacks.
The trip to a Kisii village was greatly anticipated.
Upon arriving in the Kisii University bus, the village women, dancing and singing, greeted and led us to their compound where they provided us chairs.
The children were excited to see us too.
While the women were preparing the snacks, we got better acquainted with each and admired our surroundings.
Snacking was preceded by hand-washing and prayers.
After that, the women presented us with snacks of roasted sweet potatoes and a variety of bananas in large plastic bowls.
The snacks were accompanied by a millet drink,
a kind of light porridge.
Dessert, in the form of sugar cane, was later placed before us. A Kisii university lecturer showed us the art of peeling and eating sugar cane.
However, coming from the Caribbean none of the snacks were strange to me. I knew how to peel and eat sugarcane. I felt at home.
The millet drink, however, was a new experience. The drink had a subtle, sweet pleasant taste. I was happy it was not fresh cow’s blood as I had seen in documentaries. Of course, that would have been silly. They were Kisii people; not the Massai.
After the snacks, and more entertainment led by a traditional poet, we followed the villagers along a dirt road.
We passed locals at work near their homes before we entered a nearby forest where visiting poets, university students and professors were greeted enthusiastically by villagers.
As soon as we were seated and settled, (the villagers, old and young, sat on the grass), we were introduced to a traditional beverage, a very mild alcoholic millet drink.
It was the beginning of an afternoon of recited traditional poetry, tales and music played on local instruments.
The looks of joy as the villagers responded to the entertainment were priceless.
Here in the Kisii village, snacks were neither light, small nor some sort of processed food—the sweet potatoes, bananas were freshly harvested from the village’s fields.
Back in Your Arms Again
(tribute to Kisi villagers)
Every day you walk in dirt and dust
live on the land, live in the warmth
of earth’s bosom, smell daily
her dewy breath as you dig
into her fertile sod.
You share the joys of earth’s giving.
They are the fruit of the seed,
The fruit of the roots you planted.
They are placed before us,
strangers on your soil.
You give us all you have--
plump, roasted, sweet potatoes,
bananas, long, fat, and short,
succulent sugarcane stalks
and cups of millet porridge.
You dance and sing for us.
The joy you spread is measured
by the bounce in our walk,
the loudness of our laughter.
What we have seen, shared,
what we take with us
is more than postcard memories.
© Althea Romeo-Mark 08.08.2014