A story told by Sara Godsi, of her father Elias Benno
My father had a shop. It wasn’t a very big one, but it was a nice size and in it he was selling all sorts of textiles and things like that. In the front of the shop he was selling those cloths and things and in the back he had a place for storage. Every day the women used to cook the men food for lunch and send it with a servant to the shops so they could eat and they wouldn’t have to go home. They sent it in a special pot that had three containers, each one on top of the other. In the bottom one was rice, in the middle one was meat and bamia (okra) or another vegetable and on the top was the sweet.
Now, there was a man who used to work in the shop next to my father and every day just at lunch time, he would come to my father’s shop and ask him,
‘Did they send you food? What did they send to you today?’
And my father would tell him, ‘Yes of course. I don’t know what they sent me, it’s there in the back. Go and have a look’.
So the man would go, and he would see all the food and he would ask my father,
‘Can I taste it?’
And he would go and quickly quickly eat all the meat and taste the rice and leave my father with just the vegetables! One day. Two days. Three days. Four days. After some time my father had enough.
So what did he do? He went to my auntie and he took her the sole of a bata shoe made of rubber, the soft rubber. So he took her this rubber piece of the shoe and he told her to cut it into small, small pieces and to cook it with the bamia for his lunch the next day. He didn’t give it to my mother, because my mother would have told him no, but my auntie she would do it. But even she said to him,
‘Are you crazy? Why do you want to cook a shoe!’
But he told her,
‘Just cook it, I know what I am saying’.
And so she took the shoe and she cut it like he said in small small pieces and put it in the bamia for his lunch.
That day the servant delivered the food as usual to my father and the man came as usual to ask him what he had to eat. My father told him as usual,
‘I don't know what it is, go and have a look.’
So the man went and he started to eat the meat, and he was chewing, chewing, chewing. He couldn’t eat it! But my father, he kept quiet. In the end the man said to him,
‘What is wrong with your meat today? What is wrong with your wife? It is very tough!’
My father turned to him and he told him,
‘You idiot! You have been eating a shoe!’
And from that day, he never bothered my father for his food again.