Whoever introduced the idea of hiring outside caterers did more harm than good to the folks in my village.
We were used to comunal cooking every time there was a function in any given homestead. It was a silent rule that every family would contribute some food and render some services at no cost every time somebody had a function. Failure to participate would create an invisible stigma for one’s family. Nobody would attend your functions, be it weddings or funerals. You would be isolated in a subtle way.
Families contributed their furniture, utensils, beddings, mention it, for the sake of the function’s success. People dragged their livestock to the slaughter house, roasted the beef and kept tasting it at every stage until it was finally ready. But the winds of change have forced these simple village folks to toe the line of the latest trends.
They no longer have to share their harvest because the function organisers are planning to hire service providers who do everything. I will never forget the first day they introduced outside catering services in my village. Our neighbour, an elderly man who was accustomed to being served at functions, got to learn that he had to serve himself with the new arrangement.
The thing about food providers is that they always place hard starchy foods first on your plate. They will put potatoes, millet, cassava, yams, posho, before the beef and chicken. The old man joined the queue and took every bit of food he came across. He had yams, cassava, millet, pumpkin, and before he knew it, the plate was overwhelmingly full.
He looked ahead and saw the beef, chicken, fish and sausages. He felt the urge to return what he had taken and start afresh, but couldn’t because there were people in the queue behind him. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough has to get going.
The old man decided to slide the cassava that was at the edge of his plate and kicked it under the table. He had created just enough space for the beef, but he also wanted the chicken. He used the same method and deleted the potato from his plate.
He wanted sausages but couldn’t let go of the yams since it had been ages since he last ate them. He decided to slip this into his jacket pocket and created space for the sausages. All seemed well until he saw chapatti at the end of the table. He didn’t know what to do yet he wanted the chapatti to death.
He couldn’t ask the guy next to him to help him carry it since he too seemed to be going through the same challenges. There is always a way where there is a will. He decided to place the chapatti under his plate like a table mat and moved on to pick the drink.
As it turned out, this elderly man wasn’t the only victim. The entire village was up in protest after the wedding and called for a local council meeting. They couldn’t understand why somebody had to ration their food in the name of outside catering, yet their food was rotting in their gardens. They vowed never to attend a wedding that was providing outside catering, even if it was the bishop wedding.
Source : The Observer