Calgary Serves Chira Island 2013: Day 3

Today, we were officially introduced to our host family. Although this was our first day to immerge in the local culture, our experience has already been unparalleled. Right after arriving in our family, we were immediately taken to a herd of cows, shown where milk came from, and squeezed hard as bright white milk came out. Then we watched the entire graphic process as a live pig was slaughtered and turned into fried pork with fat from its own body.

This first day has definitely been a different experience. I watched in deep horror mixed with a tinge of curiosity as the pig was smashed on the head with an axe, and its blood slowly drained as it struggles to take in its last breath. In Canada, this would be considered inhumane. However, considering the conditions on Chira Island, this way of killing is all the inhabitants have to obtain meat. Quickly I realized, it is our cultural background that shapes our opinions. What might seem inhumane in one culture could be essential to the survival of another.

Our host family has a total of five members. The mother Isabel works at La Amistad, the women’s cooperative that we stayed at yesterday. Her oldest 25 year-old son, Keneth, is a construction worker. Her daughter Karina, in her second year of high school, is a hard worker who spent a lot of her day studying and an amazing cook who prepared our first meal in the family. Brian is a 15 year-old boy who patiently taught us Spanish as our faces were filled with confusion. He is also a talented dancer who taught us a local dance. The youngest in the family is Axull, a sweet boy who greeted us with a great smile. Each one of the children has their own unique talents, and I am looking forward to learning their ways of life throughout this journey.

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