Instead of making lelenga (cassava pudding), we made kora today. It's a little bit like scalloped potatoes, local sweet potatoes (umalau) sliced thinly and layered with thick coconut cream. I bought the umalau earlier this week from a friend, and because we didn't go out to our garden to get cassava, I forgot to get the leaves we needed to put on top of the hot stones as insulation. Aaron started the fire to cook the kora while I delivered a some t-shirts. A couple of our friends are teachers at a university and sent 47 t-shirts for us to deliver to our neighbors. I've been going house to house delivering t-shirts for Christmas. I love how God worked out the exact right amount of t-shirts for the amount of houses in Marulaon!
Anyway, when I came home, the fire was burning brightly, and I remembered that I didn't have the leaves we needed. So, Aaron and Benjamin hustled off to the garden to get the leaves while the girls cleaned up for Evening Prayer. The guys came back with the leaves, and Aaron said they had a hard time finding as many leaves as we usually put on top of the stones. We went ahead and prepared the stones, leaves, and burlap bags. Then Aaron and I turned our attention to building a quick trellis for my tomatoes that are growing like crazy. As I headed back toward the house, Aaron said, "Do those bags look like they have new holes burned in them?" I agreed, so I hustled up to the house to get a bucket of water while he began to dismantle our carefully constructed oven. By the time I stepped in the door, I could see flames leaping up in our leaf kitchen outside. I grabbed the bucket of water and flew down the stairs to douse the burning bags.
When the crisis was over, Aaron and I looked at each other. We were in a bind. Our stones were hot, our huge tray of food was covered in stones and ready to cook, but we had no leaves and no bags to insulate the all-night oven. Just then, Dawa came around the corner and walked by our house on the path down toward his house. We called him over and explained our situation, and he said that Naris was just behind him. I ran to find her, quickly told her what I needed, and we both flew into action, running down the hill, grabbing banana leaves and her burlap bags, running back up the hill to the kitchen. She doused the edges of the rocks with water that hissed and steamed, and we covered the stones with leaves and bags again quick as a wink to capture the heat of the stones.
I truly believe that God sent my kind next door neighbor just at the right time to help me repair my mistake. Now I get a good story, and Naris's family gets a big plate of kora tomorrow!