I Ate A Termite

costa-rica-fruit

“I ate a termite.”

Those were one of the first sentences that I said to my wife after returning from Costa Rica.

While I was away, my wife had been attending a conference related to her job. The experiences that we each had during the same period of time could not have been more dichotomous.

She had been staying at a hotel.

I had been sleeping on a camping mat in a church pew.

She had waiters delivering meals.

I washed my own dishes.

She sat in air-conditioned rooms talking about serious things.

I mixed concrete in temperatures so high that I drank five Nalgene’s of water in one morning alone.

As we were sharing experiences, she was telling me about a meal that they ate, and the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres that were served. I blurted out “I ate a termite.”

We had really different experiences.

But neither of us would have changed a thing.

Cocoa hanging in the trees.

Last week I shared a serious experience from our time in Costa Rica. This week I wanted to share the lighter side. I love hiking and spending time in the woods. However, here in Michigan, if you want to find food in the woods, you need to know specifically what you are looking for. In Costa Rica a short walk into the jungle revealed a smorgasbord hanging from the trees. One of our team leaders, a man named Roberto who has a Hispanic sounding name and complexion but who grew up in New Jersey, took us back into the woods one afternoon to look for local delicacies.

Cocoa seeds in their gooey home.

First up was cocao. Yellow fruit with deep ribs hung from trees. When picked and opened, neat rows of seeds are exposed covered in a milky white goo. These seeds are the source of chocolate. If you dry them, crush them, and mix them with other ingredients you have chocolaty goodness. However, straight from the tree they are a different story. You can grab the goo-covered seeds, and suck on them. Flavor explodes on your tongue in a tangy sweetness that is unlike anything else I have eaten. When you have sucked the flavor off of the covering you spit the seed out on the ground.

Sorry, the pic is blurry. Those termites were fast. Brings new meaning to “fast food.”

Then came the termites. Seriously. Did you think I was joking? Roberto came to a tree where a line of termites was making it’s way back and forth to a nest. “Do you like carrots?” he asked. He then informed us that they tasted like carrots as he used a stick to pick up one of the small bugs and pop it in his mouth.

I have eaten strange things in other countries before; shark, and squid, and cow tongue are at the top of the list, but my general rule is that something needs to be dead before I put it in my mouth. Not these guys, you crunch on them once they get in there but the bugs are very much alive when they pass between your lips.

Something inside of me said, why not? I’m not sure where that voice came from. But I found myself grabbing a stick, getting two termites on it, and popping them in my mouth. A quick crunch and swallow and it was all over. They did taste a little like carrots.

(For the record, eating the termite was totally voluntary!) :)

Guava

From there we found guava, which I had tasted before in it’s processed form but never from the tree. The fruit opens to reveal small seeds in a pool of a gooey pink substance. It’s not as sweet as I thought it would be, but was still yummy.

Finally we came to what we were looking for, a coconut tree. Using a piece of bamboo with a machete strapped to it we knocked the fruits down. Cutting off the top reveals a cup of coconut milk just waiting to be swallowed.

Knocking down coconuts.

That whole experience goes in one of my top ten life experiences. I was blown away by the creativity of our creator as we encountered fruit after fruit, (and bug…), each unique and tasty is it’s own way. Psalm 34:8 kept coming to my mind:

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

In chapter 2 of Completely Reckless I spent some time talking about the seeds of God’s love, and how some of them are “Just Because” seeds. These are expressions of love that have no practical purpose other than for us to find delight in something. That walk was an hour of discovering, in a new way some of those “Just Because” seeds.

What Just Because seeds of God’s love have you experienced this summer?

Blessings,