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My Scholarship entry - Understanding a Culture through Food

MADAGASCAR | Monday, 23 April 2012 | Views [253] | Scholarship Entry

I walked down the streets of Ambositra; a quaint colonial town of stone and fields located in Madagascar’s highlands. The early morning tropical air wafted by, just as boys bicycled lazily past, down dirt roads delivering fresh baguettes in burlap sacks to the different purveyors. I was on my way to the convent further down the street where I would hopefully procure cheese from the nuns who make it fresh. On my way I broke my short journey at a hotely for a little breakfast.
The smell of coffee beans growing alongside vanilla, the two vines wrapping around each other like they were meant to be, filled the air as I sipped my own small steal mug filled with coffee and condensed milk. I stood outside, enjoying the cool morning weather, when a small hunched old woman slowly walked toward me.
The Malagasy tend to look either of Malaysian descent, like the Marina of central Madagascar, or of African descent; as this woman did. She wore a red shawl around her hair and had another wrapped underneath her arms that fell like a dress. I stepped aside while she ordered tea and soup, staring at her feet as she did so. Almost too quickly a bowl of soupe-chinoise was placed where her gaze should have been. I watched as the woman plopped spoonful after spoonful of vinegary chilli into her bowl from the ceramic mug sitting near the window. Finally content, she began to slowly mix her morning meal. Slurping the noodles – yes, she slurped! - with chopsticks and a large spoon, she ate until her broth, now bright red with chilli paste, was all that remained.
Finished, the woman paid and carried away with her two baguettes, presumably for the
road.
Skin the color of fresh vanilla beans, a beautiful French accent and African shawls coupled with Chinese noodle soup and fresh baguette was just another morning in the life of a Malagasy grandmother.

Tags: africa, breakfast, cheese, madagascar, travel writing scholarship 2012, trekking, wandering

 

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