Goat Head Callalo Soup
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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 guest.
Aruna ran into the backyard to throw
up to empty her stomach as she learnt about the brains and eye
Mr. Lakhan, the sugarcane farmer was
also a band leader.His orchestra "Merry Indians" with all his
children as band members started playing Indian music loudly.Mr.
Lakhan did not play any instrument instead he kept himself busy
adjusting the sound system.Once in a while through the microphone
he made announcements like; "still lots of food left, go help
yourselves before it gets cold," "don't just standby come shake
Aruna don't want to take part in any
more activities since she threw up. Juggernaut thanked Mr. Lakhan
for being a kind host and specially thanked for the goat soup
On the way back from the plains,
rain started pouring turning the streets into streams.Apparently,
the rain god was responding to Mr. Lakhan's prayers.Juggernaut
stepped up the speed to reach the upper elevations to avoid his
car stalling on flooded farm road. "I wish Mr. Lakhan not
mentioned about the goat head and mashing it with machete, that
made me sick," lamented Aruna chewing hard on bubble gum to
suppress the strong after taste of goat head soup still left in