Wow, we have gotten to do so much here in just these few days. Today, I got to be a part of working a mumu. In this case, a mumu is not an old lady’s nightgown! It is a big feast where you cook the food under the ground. Yesterday, BJ helped Enoch, a man in this tribe, find rope in the jungle to use to tie sticks together to build his house. Enoch’s whole family is helping him to build this house. It is custom to “Amamas”, or thank, all of the people who help you; so Enoch provides the food, and the women prepare it. Since BJ helped him find rope, and I helped the women prepare the mumu, we get to be a part of eating it!
So here’s how they work a mumu: First, the women clear a place to work the mumu. Next, they dig a hole and begin to build a large fire with hot stones. When I got there, I helped them peel sweet potatoes…lots and lots of sweet potatoes! When we were done peeling, it was time to remove the stones work the mumu. They started layering everything: first were banana leaves, then sweet potatoes, then more leaves, then some greens, then more leaves, then more sweet potatoes. They put one last layer of leaves, and then they covered the whole, huge pile with dirt so that no smoke escaped! They let it sit for a couple hours to cook. When it’s done cooking, they take all the dirt and leaves off and distribute the food to everyone! They don’t eat this way all the time. One woman told me that they work a mumu after they build a house to thank people, or after they clear a new garden to thank people, or to feed people when someone dies. So I was very thankful to get to be a part of this special occasion!