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Goat Head Soup Callalo (standard:travel stories, 761 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Dec 08 2010Views/Reads: 1661/836Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An experience to remember with an East Indian Sugarcane farmer on Clarendon Plains.
 



Goat Head Soup Callaloo 

Subba Rao 

The soils of Clarendon plains on the island are rich in nutrients. To
export sugar to Europe from the island, the English brought the farm 
laborers from India to work on the sugarcane farms in early 19th 
century. The descendents of the Indian laborers are now native 
islanders refer to as East Indians; some still farm the land growing 
sugarcane on Clarendon plains. 

Due to climate change, the rainfall pattern became erratic turning the
Clarendon plains into an arid land.  The farmers became dependent on 
the deep well water for irrigating crops. More they pumped from the 
deep wells, more sea water entered into the aquifer contaminating the 
fresh water with sea salt. The salt from the irrigation turned the 
soils into a hard pan. As the crop output fell, some farmers abandoned 
farming for factory jobs and few like Mr. Lakhan still toughing it out. 
Lakhan was a man of austerity. He was a cane farmer, growing sugarcane 
on a piece of family inherited land. 

“Well you are the soils expert, you tell me what we shall to do to
improve the crop yields,” asked Lakhan. 

“It took decades to arrive at this point and it takes at least that long
to get out of this situation you know,” “I am afraid there is no short 
term solution for this problem,” Juggernaut was not very helpful. “You 
can try drip irrigation rather than flooding the land to cut down the 
amount of well water.” 

“True, what else?” 

“Since the island in general receives good rainfall elsewhere, the
watershed areas have to be expanded to harness the rainwater runoff to 
replenish the groundwater.” 

“OK, I am inviting you and your family to attend a gathering at our home
this weekend to worship the Rain God,” Mr. Lakhan was kind. 

“We are honored to be invited.” 

Juggernaut attended the activities along with his niece Aruna visiting
the island on vacation.  Lakhan's small home was crowded with the 
people came to worship the rain god. The believers sang several 
devotional songs praising the virtues of rain god and begging him not 
to abandon his devotees in need of desperate rains. 

“As a guest of honor I invite Mr. Juggernaut to taste the soup made from
the sacrificial goat,” declared Mr. Lakhan as if he was offering a 
toast to the chief guest. 

Aruna also received a cup of goat soup. The thick soup with chunks of
goat meat and strong curry flavor was refreshingly delicious. “How you 
like the soup Miss? Inquired Mr. Lakhan. 

“I love it, particularly the shredded greens,” Aruna was thankful. 

“You mean the chopped Callaloo bush.” 

“What is Callaloo?” 

“It is kind of local spinach we use in soups and also cook as a green
vegetable.” 

“The soup has a strong meat flavor too.” Aruna was very descriptive. 

“Sure, the goat meat has a strong flavor you know, particularly the
brain.” 

“You mean you cooked the goat head?” 

“Yeah, using a machete, I crack opened the head and smashed it to get
the brains out along with meat,” “those pieces are from the brain,” 
“Let me get you one of the eye balls for you, you will love it,” Mr. 
Lakhan went inside the kitchen to bring the eye ball for the special 


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