Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No neat way to finish a Mango

I love the mangoes here. Of all the new foods and prepared dishes I tried, the fruit was the very best. Pineapples so perfect you'd think they were soaked in syrup, and they're edible all the way through the core. Bananas so sweet that I'm sure you could make banana bread without a single lump of sugar. And mangoes... so large they're a meal in themselves. And so ripe and perfect the juice drips down your chin, neck, and forearm, but you're 100% oblivious because you're so focused on slurping up every last slice of the sunset-colored fruit.

When you get to the end of a sliced mango, there's one large, rectangular piece left and you know it holds the pit, but there's no stopping you now. You pick it up and go at it, first with your front two teeth and then with your bottom. Soon you're gnawing at it carnivorously, canines and incisors engaged. And it feels so right to be devoted to something so beautiful, unforgettable, and perfect. What's wonderful about a mango pit is that you can always flip it over again and find another section you haven't devoured. More sweet pulp to enjoy. Eventually, and long before you're ready, you realize it's time to stop; this mango is gone. Surveying the spattered juice remains of your delicious meal, you reluctantly dispose of the pit and swear that this mango is the best you've ever had.

There's no neat way to finish this blog. The loose ends, details, and additional stories of my journey have trickled down my chin, throat, wrists and forearms, and I'm sure I'll be licking them up for months and years to come. For now, I've finished this mango, and I'm returning home with a slimy but beautiful pit to examine and try to understand. In the meantime, I'm thinking about the immense blessing of this adventure. In terms of perspective—opening my eyes to a beautiful nation, different ways of life, and new friends from around the world—it's been priceless. In terms of my skills as a writer, gaining experience with a non-profit, and having opportunities to create and problem-solve—it's been perfect. And in terms of my future, this month has built my self-confidence and self-efficacy, and I feel so motivated and enabled to join an organization like Global Mamas and apply myself to the missions and goals that prioritize fair trade principles, empowerment, and social justice.

Thank you so much for your attention this month; I know that your readership, comments, emails, thoughts, and prayers, have kept me safe and encouraged. Writing is a unique form of expression because it is intensely private, yet it has powerful potential when shared. I love writing, and my positive experience with this blog gives me energy to continue to devote myself to writing as an artform, a tool, and a livelihood. So, yet again, thank you for coming with me.

Be well where you are and good luck finding a mango to sink your teeth into.

Until next time I remain,

Elizabeth Eva Lampman

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