Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trader Raza's

The other day as I scanned the shelves of our teeny neighborhood shop (aka "Raza's") hoping for an appetizing local jam, What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear but a quiet and plump little jar of Trader Joe's Fresh Strawberry Jam.

WHAT ON EARTH? I am 10,000 miles from my local Trader Joe's in Pasadena (the ORIGINAL TJ's, as I have mentioned before.)

Re-wind! We lived in Loita for ten years (1989-1999). We were a hard 4-5 hour drive from the nearest paved road, phone line or post office. It was and is one of the most beautiful locations on earth. As much as I adored living there, there were many challenging things about it. I just wanted a few things that would make it easier and somehow or other I decided that a Trader Joe's was what I needed. I used to tell Byron that I would stay forever if we just had a Trader Joe's.

And so today I have to wonder: what is the meaning of this modest and lovely little jar of jam on my local shop shelf? Is it a sign with mystical and magical intent? Am I to understand that my long ago wish (in a place far away) is coming to fruition in this African town, jar by jar?

Or should I just make some toast and enjoy a dollop of the actually not so expensive imported deliciousness?

I cease and desist from trying to figure it out. I promptly buy another jar upon my next visit to Raza's.

I don't know how TJ's Fresh Strawberry Jam made the passage to East Africa, but I am very happy to enjoy it while supplies last.


spain dad said...

You have TJs food in Tanzania. We don't even have TJs in Iowa!

Anyway, your post made me think of our weekly sandwich route here in Madrid. We hand out sandwiches to some homeless friends who live in our neighborhood. Most of them are African, and as we sit and often talk about food, our African friends say how surprised they were when they first arrived in Spain and found that most people don't eat fresh food or even local food.

They say they ate better at home in Africa.

lisa said...

We would agree with your African friends because we eat better in Africa as well. Our food is mostly fresh, local and simple.

Jesse has a weekly breakfast date with homeless friends in Santa Barbara. Happy to hear you're sharing your sandwiches, even if they don't have any TJ jam :-)

Sue said...

Happy for your gift in a jar found on a shelf thousands miles away!!
How crazy is that?!
Crazy makes me smile and love how small the world can be at times!

We had rain last night and the Pasadena skies are blasting out their crystal clear blue color today. Wind blowing and birds chirping in my back yard. Beautiful!
Love you.

jesus gypsies said...

And why can't I find TJ jam in portugal? I may have to fly over to Tanzania to get some of that jam! I too share your same sentiment about TJ's- I could live any where in the world, if only I had good ole Trader Joe's!

Dore said...

The TJ's jam is just such a gift of encouragement from the Lord!
It just makes me smile.
The Pasadena skies are indeed radiantly beautiful today. I am going to stop by TJ's and get some strawberry jam so I can symbolically share it with you!
Much love, Dore'