March 30, 2012

Witches, Garbanzo Beans, and Piggyback Rides



The Malagasy Witch

While the Malagasy people are overwhelmingly Christian, their set of beliefs still retains aspects of their pre-Christian past.  They practice ancestor worship and traditional healing.  Their funereal ceremonies (havoriagne) seem to be devoid of anything Christian (I have attended havoriagne twice and will cover it in a separate post).  They also believe in witches.

The Malagasy witch is not the same as the green lady buzzing around on a broomstick of whom we are all very fond.  The Malagasy witch is an entirely different animal.  As it was explained to me on several occasions, witches here come out at night, generally between 11pm and 2am.  They wear no clothes and cover themselves in oil.  They capture their victims and ride them like horses throughout the night until their victims are utterly exhausted.  This is their purpose.  It’s just what they do.

As this was explained to me, I thought “Really?  So, let me get this straight: a naked woman covered in oil would ride me like a horse?”  I try to figure out what’s wrong with this scenario, and for a brief moment, I wonder if it’s possible to date a witch.  I’ve never dated a witch before (well, not in the Malagasy sense of the word), but it sounds like... uh... something that could interest me.

March 29, 2012

Cooking with Fire



My Morning Ritual

My mornings are routine: wake up, wash dishes from last night’s dinner, fetch water, and start a fire to light the charcoal. Then, boil water for coffee and fix breakfast while the coffee brews. Mornings are important to me. I have my routine of chores, and when I’m finished, I eat breakfast and drink my coffee. My coffee is the apex of my mornings. It’s like a little reward for finishing all my chores. All this is something I must do in absolute solitude. I get irritated if anyone intrudes on my morning ritual. My mornings are mine (unless I have a tutoring appointment).

As the reader can gather from above, my entire morning ritual depends on fire. I need to start a fire in the charcoal burner in order to light the charcoal, and then my day begins. Make food. Boil water. Make coffee. Sip coffee and cogitate. If I have trouble with my morning fire, my ritual falls apart. I get especially irritated when this happens. Most mornings I have no problem making fire, but every once in a while there’s a problem, and my ritual collapses.