…a meal is not just something that happens three times a day, but is a source of protein and energy as well as its ability to bring a family together to learn a lesson.

What’s for dinner?

At home, everyone is always talking about how to make meals faster and easier while at the same time cheaper and healthier. It is funny to me that everyone is trying to get what they don’t have but are not willing to give up the benefits they currently maintain.

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Kitchen fire. [photo: Mansell Ambrose]

In Haiti, meals often take a very long time to prepare and are acquired from hours of hard work, all with the intent of gaining the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. On Friday around 3 o’clock, during our visit at Lyonel’s house, him and his kids were shelling beans from their pea pods. Brooke joined them in picking out the beans as Hunter and I spoke with Lyonel about composition and some tricks to help him with his photographs. He then gave me permission to walk around his property and take some photographs. The kitchen being an interest of mine was my first target. I stepped in to the hut noticing the strength of the wood work, something that is consistent throughout Lyonels home. As most of the other kitchens I have seen, there was a small fire going with a pot of water placed above as the next meal was already beginning its preparation.
As we finished the photo talk, we got back to the beans and I asked if this was what would be for dinner. My question, which could have been answered simply back at home was a completely different question in Bois Jolie. Instead Lyonel told us how he had planted the beans on his farm earlier this year, then cared for them as they grew up the base of some of his banana trees. He then went out and collected some of the peas that had started to grow off of the winding stems. He and his four children worked to remove all of the beans from the pea pods today, so that he could then let them sit for the next two and a half months to dry out before they could be used to cook. So, yes these beans will be for dinner, but not for about three months.
 
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Lyonel shelling beans. [photo: Mansell Ambrose]

If we were willing to use the patience and hard work that goes into a meal like it does at Lyonels home, we would finally understand that a meal is not just something that happens three times a day, but is a source of protein and energy as well as its ability to bring a family together to learn a lesson. No more trying to speed it up, or lessen its value.

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