Saturday, February 19, 2011


Yesterday while I was playing volleyball, a young man came wanting to harvest some coconuts. There are tall coconut trees on either side of the court, loaded with coconuts. So, he set a ladder against the trunk to cover the first twelve or so feet, and then shinnied up the rest of the way. (The trunk did lean a little one way, so that should make it a little easier.) I'd guess the top was about 40 feet off the ground. As one who is scared of heights, I cringed.

He dropped 12-15 coconuts...there were many more, but they must not have been ready or he had what he wanted. He actually only took about 5, leaving the rest with us. When Indonesians have a chance to eat, everything else stops, so we had a snack in the middle of our game.

I was also able to bring a coconut home to enjoy with the family. Here I am opening it with a multi-purpose knife/machete. It took a lot of whacks (or else it would have burst open on falling from 40 feet).

Here I am finishing the delicate part - a little opening in the top without spilling the milk.

Here is the milk that we got out of the coconut (about a pint). Then, on the inner surface there's also some meat that is edible. So we sampled that. None of us were inspired by the flavor of the milk or meat, but we got a cultural lesson. Coconut is a prevalent food ingredient here and the milk is also used medicinally.
My dad ocassionally uses to use the English word "coconut" to refer to the human head, especially in the phrase "bump your coconut." In Indonesian the word for head is "kepala" and the word for coconut is "kelapa." Since they're so close, I often have fun intentionally mixing them up. Indonesians usually laugh, but they never use the word "kelapa" to refer to their "kepala".

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