Guyanese Plait Bread

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In Guyana, weaving three strands of your hair together is not called a braid, it’s called a plait (pronounced like “flat” with a p).  The huge ropes that keep speedboats and ships from drifting away are not braided, they are plaited.  And when you bake a fresh loaf of bread that’s woven together, it’s called Plait Bread.

Plait Bread not only looks impressive, it tastes divine. Soft and fluffy, it is best served right out of the oven. Since it’s fresh, it only lasts about a day but that’s ok, because it gets devoured almost instantly.

I am not a food blogger, but sometimes, when I’m in my kitchen for 5+ hours a day, mincing garlic or chopping chicken (whole chicken, that is – bones and all!) I get this false sense self-confidence and start to feel like I could be a food blogger.  I think, “Wow, this curry turned out pretty good! I should post the recipe!”

And then, inevitably, I burn something, or overcook something, or slice a hot chilli pepper with bare hands and burn my fingers (true story).  And I then I think…

Better not.

But I have deep love for food bloggers.  The food blogs I’ve folllowed over the past few years have taught me so much when it comes to cooking, baking and stewing.  In addition to the tricks I’ve learned from the locals here (like grating garlic with a cheese grater instead of chopping it into tiny pieces – genius!), my virtual food blogger friends have given me what probably amounts to a year of free culinary school, all via their blogs.

This recipe for Plait Bread is from a food blogger I ♥ named Jehan.  She’s originally from Guyana and now lives in the states, but thankfully, she has not left her Guyo-Carribean heritage in the tropics; she has compiled some of her awesome Guyanese recipes on her blog,  jehancancook.  I love this blog and reference it frequently!  The recipe that I’m posting today is from Jehan.

 

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Publisher Profile: Rawl

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Rawl and his newborn son Joshua are the cover models for this edition of Publisher Profile!

Publisher Profile is a series on this blog whereby a member of the congregation is interviewed and photos of them “in action”  are featured – it’s basically a virtual high-five  and spotlight on them for their great work and example.  You may have read about Angie from the début installment of Publisher Profile – today Rawl takes center stage!

Rawl has been a part of our congregation since 2012 (and Joshua since birth in April 2014).  In August of 2013, both Rawl and his wife Samantha were baptized. Even before that, though, Rawl had been an integral part of the congregation.  He customarily arrived early to meetings, greeted everyone with a smile, and put his impressive height to good use by removing dust and bug carcasses from lofty and hard-to-reach corners of the hall. I sat down with Rawl recently to talk to him about the past few years.  Here’s the interview:

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Love is in the Air!

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Do you cry at weddings?  If not, you might have cried at this one.

Saturday, August 23rd Olivia & David were married!  This wedding was an honor to attend, for two reasons.  First, because Olivia is one of the most beautiful people you’ll ever meet, and her hubby David is a gem too.  Second, this wedding was the first of its kind in Bartica!

There are only 37 in our small congregation.  Of these, many were married in a legal civil ceremony, or married before becoming witnesses.  The rest are teenagers and babies, and therefore single (thank god). Thus, many in our congregation had never attended a witness wedding before. So to assemble in our new Kingdom Hall, hear a Bible based talk, and share in the celebration with David & Olivia was a privilege, and one I know I’ll remember for years to come!

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One of the things I love most about weddings is oooh-ing and ahh-ing over whatever bouquets and artistic floral arrangements the bride has chosen.  However, fresh flowers are woefully difficult to come by here in Bartica.  It’s nearly impossible to find anything other than artificial flowers for weddings, funerals, home decor, etc.  Since Isabella and I are unanimous in our adoration for the real thing, Olivia gave us the go-ahead to create a tropical bouquet for her.  We went to a local green house about two miles away from our place and scouted out some options.  Thanks to Isabella’s eye for floral design, this above photo is what we came up with.

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Wannabe Florists.

Wannabe Florists.

The ceremony took place at 2:00 in the afternoon.  Vows and rings were exchanged along with dozens of hugs afterward, and Roman gave the talk.

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Olivia & her Mom, Shoba

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David, Olivia and David’s mom Joy

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Christiano, dressed to impress! I love his wind-blown, hair-gelled look!

After the ceremony, we headed to Joy’s house for a reception. We dined on the traditional faves – Curry, Chow Mein, Fried Rice, and Cookup – and one of Joy’s bible student’s made a spectacular cake.

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So happy to have shared in the love and joy of this special day!

♥♥♥

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Voyage to Itabali

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I’ve often heard of a small riverside village approximately 15 minutes away – via boat – from Bartica.

We traveled here this past Wednesday, much to everyone’s delight, filling two speedboats and combing through one river to get to the next.  Destination: Itabali!

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An AtTRACTive Campaign

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Mid-way through the campaign and our congregation has been having a ball out in service!  A record-breaking TEN auxiliary pioneers and FIVE regular pioneers – an honorary 2 currently “outside” – have thus far made August a historical month for Bartica!  These stats are impressive because Bartica is just a little, tiny congregation of 37 publishers.  We are small but mighty. ♥

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Angie, Vivica, and Latoya – 3 of our auxiliary pioneers for August!

 

It’s been great to traverse the outlying areas of Bartica, where it’s very possible we’ll cross paths with a large Orangutan or Puma.

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Anything could be in these bushes.

 

Ok we have like 0% chance of seeing anything like that.  But onward we press!

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We are so not afraid of large Orangutans or Pumas! Just malaria.

 

Olivia knows how to Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

Olivia knows how to Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with Shoba, a wonderful sister in our hall who has lived in Bartica for ages and knows just about everyone.  Here she places a tract with a neighbor in central Bartica…

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…which he gladly receives!

We love working shoulder to shoulder with all of you during this month-long campaign!  ♥

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Plantain Poor-idge

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I only recently learned the beauty of Plantain Porridge.  So easy to make – and so cheap!

Plantain Porridge is eaten by adults and children alike, but it’s really the babes that eat it most. From infancy, little ones drink it from their bottles like their American counterparts drink formula. Since plantains are a staple and very cheap (about .60/lb), it’s a common way for families to feed their babies.  And seeing that it’s a dense and filling meal, high in calories and carbs, it’s no surprise that infants here are plump butterballs;  indeed, Guyana is full of giant babies, and plantain porridge is the likely culprit.

He’s Hungry.

When Amber was visiting, she learned the recipe for plantain porridge and created a magnificent pot of it for all of us one day.  It’s gluten-free, organic, local & simple and thus earned a regular place in our breakfast rotation.  Best of all, it’s a supercheap breakfast, since you really only need 1 plantain to yield a decent pot. Plantain Poor-idge: it’s the go-to meal when you’re poor.

Plantain Porridge

Yield: 4 servings

1 large green (unripe) plantain

1 1/2 C water

3 T Sugar

1/2 t Vanilla

1/2 T Butter

Directions:

Heat 3/4 C water in a small pot on the stove.  Peel the skin off of the plantain and cut into 4 or 5 small pieces.  Add to blender along with 3/4 C water.  Blend for about 45 seconds or until you have a nice purée.  Add blended plantain to hot water and stir.  The porridge will thicken.  Add butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve. ♥

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The Convention @ National Park

 

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Our Regional Convention was held this past weekend in Georgetown, Guyana. It was a history-making convention because 3 – THREE- from the Bartica congregation were baptized, and simultaneously at that!  Literally, they were all submerged at the same time, making things diff for those of us on the photographer’s end. So now they can forever boast that the three of them were baptized together, and mean it to the fullest extent.  Managed a couple individual shots of each:

Latoya

Latoya

 

Sharda

Sharda

 

Vivica

Vivica

So a triple baptism was a definite highlight, and another was the proliferation of sari-clad sisters!  I was sari-eyed at the array of color, the jewels, the graceful flow of the fabric.  If you weren’t wearing a sari, I feel sari for you! ;)

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The weather was mild and overcast for the first two days, the perfect climate to set up a blanket in the grass and feed your hungry baby.

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Samantha & Joshua

 

It was, as always, great to see those serving in the far-flung corners of Guyana and converge with them for 3 days.  Below are sisters Diane & JoAnne…

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…and Sabrina, who serves in a remote area of the country called Mabaruma.

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Sabrina & Isabella, or Isabrinella

We had to have a little Bartica reunion whilst mingling…

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And yes, be it 90 degrees or higher, we don’t forsake our morning coffee!  This picture didn’t capture our to-go cups, but we clutched them in hand as the morning sesh began.

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We are so delighted to have 3 new sisters at our hall, two of whom I have had the privilege of studying with for just over 2 years.

 

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We couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a family photo.  This one was snapped right after we bought plantain chips. Yum.

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Regional Convention – Georgetown, Guyana – July 11-13, 2014

 

 

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