Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: Coconut Delight
By Gloria Pierre Dean
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“Hurry. Hurry” squealed Evita when they heard the watchman’s calls in the distance. They had to keep out of his sight because he would take the coconuts away.
The rule of the estate was that if the nuts were under the trees then landless islanders could take what they could carry but the watchman was a mean spirited man.
Coconuts grew unhindered in the valley. Not many people used them. The focus of the island’s export had changed from coconut production to sugar cane. Sugar cane was made into molasses and sugar.
Wearily they climbed the last few yards to the main road. They were relieved to leave that valley behind. Soon they were within sight of their village and home.
It was still daylight when they arrived home so they had time to help older sister Lucy prepare the nuts for grating tomorrow.
They made oil by boiling the grated flesh in cast iron pots on charcoal fires.
This valuable oil was their chief source of income. “I hate grating. My hands hurt so much” they often said to each other. Mama worked very hard as a roadworks laborer or ‘travaux’, so they had to do all they could to help. Papa had left the family years ago to work as an overseer of a distant sugarcane estate. They rarely saw him.
The next day the girls worked hard. They grated the coconut flesh, boiled it and produced the oil that they would sell to customers. As was the custom, older sister Lucy had gone to the local stores to collect unwanted used glass bottles which they washed thoroughly. Once clean and shiny they would fill them with oil.
This weekly ritual was part of their lives.
As they settled down to eat dinner that evening Mama smiled at the girls, gave them a shilling and said
“You are good girls. Go to the shop and buy something nice.” Mama was small, Asiatic and so beautiful.
“Let us get a soda this time and get some extra sugar” added Evita. “With the small remnant of raw coconut, we could make candy” Irene added. “Oh yes. Eat a few and sell the rest!” she giggled. They laughed happily as they ran off to the store. The girls did not see themselves as poor despite what some neighbors said to them. In their hearts, as long as they had Mama they were rich and happy.
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