We were fortunate to make his acquaintance, as he is a pleasant and interesting person to know. One gift that he brought for the Yard Man and me is a packaged powder called sattu.
Every morning during the week-long conference, The Yard Man would get up early, make some breakfast for Panuwel, and transport him to the pick-up spot where he would board the bus taking him to the conference. During one of these breakfasts is when Panuwel introduced The Yard Man to this stuff called sattu.
"It's good!" The Yard Man told me. "But I'm not telling you what the powder is made of. Panuwel will prepare some for you, and you will have to guess!"
"Oh, it will be fun to guess!" I responded. I was sure it wouldn't be too difficult.
Panuwel put some of the yellow powder into a small bowl and added a little water. He explained that one could add as much water as desired. This sattu could be made into a drink, or it could be prepared as a spread, or eaten with a spoon. It could be sweetened with sugar and spices, or made into a savory dish.
The water Panuwel added made the mixture a little thinner than he liked, so he added more powder. When it was the right consistency, I took a spoonful and tasted.
"It's banana!" I said.
"No," said The Yard Man.
"Uh..." I ate another spoonful. "It tastes sort of like peanut butter. Is it a peanut powder?"
"Nope," The Yard Man answered.
I tasted a little more of the sattu.
"It's some kind of nut. Cashew, or something!" I guessed.
Once again the answer was negative.
"Oh!" I had a good idea. "It's made from one of those yellow sweet potatoes!"
The Yard Man laughed. I was not going to guess correctly, he decided.
And it was true. I was running out of ideas.
So he told me.
It wasn't until Panuwel had boarded the bus that would carry him out of our sight, perhaps...well, forever (though I hesitate to use a word with such finality), and it was too late to ask further questions...that I pondered these facts:
Panuwel had told us it was his mother who made and packaged the sattu. She lives there on his brother's farm.
His brother has a chick farm, he'd explained to us.
Now, Reader Dear, now I have a question for Panuwel.*
*It's about those chicks.