Bakar Batu…

Every part of the world has its own Christmas traditions.  Here in Papua it is traditional to have a bakar (bake) batu (rocks) on the day before Christmas.  The church near our home had one and I went down to check it out.  When I arrived in the morning they were still in the preparation phase.  The pigs had been butchered already (thankfully didn’t have to watch that) and the ladies were taking the stomachs and intestines and cleaning them in a very sterile environment (NOT!!).  All the vegetables had been either gathered from gardens or purchased, and the rocks were busy being heated up by fire.  A couple of men were digging holes into the ground.  I left at that point as I had a prior engagement.  When I returned a few hours later, they were just emptying the cooked food from the pits.  So basically, the holes are lined with banana leaves, hot rocks are dumped in, then more leaves, then vegetables then more leaves and rocks and then the meat (pig and chicken) and then more leaves and rocks on top.  The whole lot cooks for about half an hour and then they open it up.  They take out the hot rocks using split branches.  Then the food is divided amongst the people and they sit in groups and eat off banana leaves and wash it all down with cans of pop.  This was my first time actually trying some of the pig meat.  It was surprisingly good!  The corn was a little tough though…  But the three little girls sitting by me didn’t think so…  Such a neat tradition!

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About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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