Are guinea pigs better served as pets or meals? This is one question I never thought I would have the opportunity to answer.
It was a sunny Tuesday here in Ecuador and the loan officers and I were headed to go meet with a Kiva borrower to discuss how her business of raising chickens was doing. Along the way, my stomach began to growl. I expressed to the loan officers that I was hungry and they asked me what I wanted to eat. I told them that I wanted to try more of the local food in Ecuador. They immediately smiled and said had the same idea - cuy. For those of you who don't know what "cuy" is, it's guinea pig.
Growing up in the US as a child, I had several pet guinea pigs at one point in my life. They were my first pets before my parents allowed me to get a dog, and I bought them many toys. They were held in a cage very similar to the one pictured below.
If you showed me the guinea pigs pictured above before this Tuesday, I most likely would have said, "What cute pets you have!". Now, I would probably tell you "I'm ready for my lunch".
After my colleagues expressed how delicious the cuy was, it was hard to turn it down. We did however, have to wait two 2 hours for the cuy to be prepared so we ordered it and then came back. My hunger had to hold off for another two hours.
At last, we arrived back at the restaurant to devour our cuy. After giving it a taste, I'd describe the skin as extremely delicous and crispy. I will unequivocally be back for more cuy in the future.
My experience of trying Ecuador's local delicacy, cuy, was one of many cultural experiences that I have enjoyed while being a Kiva Fellow in FODEMI. I've learned that one should never hold back in new experiences because those are usually the most enjoyable in the end. As a Kiva Fellow, it is necessary to let go of all fears and dive right into the culture, no matter how nervous it makes you feel.
When a new opportunity presents itself, move quickly and attack. No one likes to get "burned"; ask this guy.