On The Stone in the Rice


Previous to my life in Kenya, I had never put much thought into the preparation of rice. Where I come from any two bags of rice are for the most part indistinguishable. My ignorance and dependence on this paradigm came to a painful halt one day while I was enjoying a Kenyan dish. Suddenly, the rice in my mouth stopped making the munching sound, and substituted a grinding “Crack!” In Kenya, there are many sources from which you can get rice, and depending on the source of your choice, there may be varying levels of tiny stone content as well. Most people will take the Kenyan precaution of spreading all rice out in a flat pan and searching carefully through before committing it to boil. But, inevitably, a stone must occasionally make it through. Now, of course, nine out of ten times you will not meet the stone with your dentition. However, if your reaction to biting down hard on a tiny jagged mineral is like mine, you eat every bite as though it were there. For all intents and purposes, the stone is ALWAYS in the rice.

This concept came early in my life in Kenya and formed a part of my philosophy of life here. Kenya truly is full of wonders and beauty and adventure, but the stone is in the rice. You can buy fantastic mangos or pineapple from nearly any roadside, but ‘crack’, one of your mangos has a worm in it. You can hike hills and mountains and see unnamed waterfalls or bizarre animals. But you had better hire a gaurd because this is where the bandits are always said to hide. Crack! Whatever it is that you do, if you pay attention you can usually find that tiny danger, that miniscule imperfection, that itching imbalance. And often it may turn out to be not a small thing at all. For whatever you do and wherever you go in Kenya, can you forget the people all around you? A group of many peoples in a boundary many of them would never have drawn. A clash of thought and mode of life in a hard land. A war of progress and tradition. Should you have no stones in your rice, can you forget that your neighbor may very well have no rice? Crack!


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3 Responses to “On The Stone in the Rice”

  1. Darkspell Says:

    Thanks Toby!

    I always thought it was interesting where there are some culture’s “beauty” are so different then another’s. Thank you for your insight!

  2. SOG knives Says:

    SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

  3. Ganesh Says:

    I’ve made an effort to right something about Life in Kenya. I have never been to Kenya. Whatever I’ve written is all from what I read from various sources. Can you please help me to check if it is based on the facts?

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