In the middle of a coconut drink, my mom enlightens me about the significance of the fruit. It turns out that you can do more to it than just eat it.
Coconuts exist in my life solely for ingesting- to eat the meat and drink its magical potion. They are nutritious, delicious, and it has more potassium than a banana. Oops. I mean four bananas and thanks to the sugar/electrolytes; it has alleviated my hangovers on multiple occasions and quenched my thirsts far better than Sprite ever could.
My mom and her family did not seek coconuts for the same reason as I did. Especially because they lived a life where things were indispensable and practical. My mom taught me about the resourcefulness of a coconut and what it was used for when she was my age; living on a boat in southern Vietnam. They also relished the flesh of the fruit, but the difference is that they kept the coconut’s leftover organs to use as their daily essentials. For example, the fibrous husks were used for washing dishes and they would cut the endocarps (the shell/surrounding seed) in half to shape like a bowl. This “bowl” would then be used as a scoop for water during their baths or when they are collecting water from the spring.
It turns out that the coir (the natural fiber that is collected from the husk) is used to make many products. Some stuff like mattresses, brushes, fishing nets, floor mats, and this list can go on and on.
At the end of our coconut drink, a fabric of gratitude cloaked over me. I live a life that is easier than most; easier than how my mom had it when she was younger. Obtaining this type of knowledge has broadened my appreciation for this fruit.