The pandemic COVID 19 had given us an abnormal situation of a complete “isolation” limiting our physical movements within the four walls of the convent and within its compounds since it is prohibited to go out nor make any contact outside the boundaries of the FMM properties. This then is ensure prevention and safety from virus infection personally and that of all our sisters especially to the elderly sisters.
Positively this quarantine period helped me to be more silent interiorly, to be observant of my environment and to listen more with my heart as to what surrounds. Until I became fully aware of the blue butterfly pea flowers growing abundantly along the fences of the chapel and school building. I remembered that one of our FMM sister in-charge of the school canteen in the Philippines had offered me a drink of a blue tea from these flowers.
Making use of the social media especially “Google Search, You Tube and Facebook”, I came to know more about butterfly pea flowers as commonly found throughout South Asian countries of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines. They are anti-oxidant and caffeine-free with a lot of medical health benefits: facilitates digestion, uplifts mood, accelerates weight loss, enhances skin health, stimulates hair growth, ameliorates diabetic conditions, uplifts cardiac wellness, and promote healthy eyesight. A very important information about them is that they have no side effects if consumed.
I usually pick them in the morning to take advantage of the free Vitamin D morning sunshine. After washing them with normal water, I arranged them in a rounded shape winnower (“sajian/hidangan in Indonesian”) for a day of air dying and to be dried fully under the sun for two days at least so as to store them to be ready to use as herbal tea, to prepare blue pudding and/or gel, to cook blue rice and to add colour to various traditional dishes.
I had shared the dried butterfly pea flowers to at least 20 people in Jakarta, Bogor and Jambi who would like to use them. Aside from giving the dried flowers, I also shared them the seeds to be planted. It is because these wonderful plant help to increase soil fertility and improve yields of crops such as maize, sorghum and wheat. Other uses: multipurpose forage legume and as ornamental plant on fence rows, cover crop and green manure crop.
Hopefully, it’s my simple gesture to care for our Mother Earth. In the same way, it is going back to the basic and original use of God-given fruits in His creation that are beneficial to human beings. Likewise, as I gather them an overwhelming feelings of gratitude and awe for the inherent beauty and usefulness of these butterfly pea flowers consumed me. Truly, a wonder in God’s beautiful creation!
Contributor: Sr. Yolanda FMM.