Recently, I got some cow skin (popularly known as ponmo) from the market and the meat was harder than any ponmo I had ever seen in my little cooking experience. I boiled it for over an hour with potash and still there was no difference in its constitution at all, it was still as hard as stone.
I soaked the pieces of ponmo in water overnight and by the time I came back from work in the evening of the next day and checked on it, it was still the same; it had not softened like the ponmo I know, which a bite of its succulent flesh could take you straight to heaven.
Out of ideas, I decided to call my mother-in-law for elderly input while I prayed she could give me a solution to tame this stubborn ponmo.
Luckily, she was able to impact an invaluable advice; she told me to boil it with bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) and interestingly this did the trick. I was finally able to eat my long awaited ponmo.
As the Yoruba adage says: ‘ireti pipe ma n mu okan saare ni’ which in translation means ‘a long awaited hope makes the heart weary’. This was not the case with me though; my heart was not weary at all, in fact I steadfastly ate my peppered ponmo with all alacrity.
What brought on this reminiscence? I was reflecting on this ponmo episode when it dropped in me that this experience can be likened to some of the things we go through in our lives. Sometimes, it seems a situation is so difficult as to be practically impossible to solve or even think of a solution. We might have tried many ways, gone through different avenues or sought help from every angle to no avail.
We shouldn’t give up though, just when we think it’s not going to get better, when we think we will not be able to enjoy our ponmo, a solution will show up just as the baking soda showed up for me. The knowledge and power to defeat the situation will show up. We just have to keep thinking positively and keep working hard to achieve our desired results. Keep pushing, keep boiling and keep soaking; before long that hard situation will become as soft and succulent as peppered ponmo. Peace….
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