Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Thanksgiving in Africa (27.11.2010)

Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful and feel blessed for the family and friends that you have in your life. After this holiday I not only am grateful for my wonderful family and friends back home, but also for my new family here in Africa. The holidays are always a special time and most of us here in Uganda were apprehensive about what the holiday season was going to be like being away from home. I myself was a little nervous about how I would feel not working all day on Thanksgiving at my father’s restaurant and being around family and friends during the weekend. However, I would say with the all the company I had at my house over the holiday weekend I was ever happy (just to throw some Ugandan English at you)!

On the actual day of Thanksgiving I met two of my friends in Kampala for lunch and to catch up. I have been so busy at work over the past month that I haven’t really been able to keep up with what everyone was doing. It was really nice to see them even for a short while and it made the holiday day pass by quickly. They went on to celebrate at one of our friend’s house in Entebbe while I traveled back to Kayunga because I had to work the next day.

On Friday everyone came to my house. I and the other Peace Corps volunteer that lives a football field away from me and works for MUWRP as well, Evan, were hosting everyone. Over the course of the weekend I had four people staying at my house while Evan and his wonderful girlfriend were at his. We all just hung out at my house on Friday and spent time catching up. We were fortunate to be given the most delicious pumpkin pie by the owner of I <3 New York Kitchen which is a pizza place in Kampala. We dined on Velveeta macaroni and cheese (we were the epitome of class) for dinner and had a great evening.

On Saturday we cooked all day and finally celebrated Thanksgiving as a group! In the morning my girlfriend Britt and I went to my work to help out with washing the tents that we use while in the field to do testing and counseling. After we finished that (which took a lot longer then I thought it would) I and Bryce went to the market to get all the fruits and vegetables to do the cooking with. Britt, Alexi, Evan and Maggie went to town and bought the two chickens that we had for dinner. The only catch here in Africa is that the chickens you buy to have for dinner are still alive! You have to do everything literally from scratch: you have to kill the chicken, drain the blood from the chicken, soak the chicken in hot water so the feathers come off easily, pluck the feathers out, and cut off the chicken’s feet and then cleaned the chicken. Then you can start to prepare your dinner the way we receive it in the grocery store back home.

Evan and Maggie were in charge of cooking the chickens and they did a fabulous job! They went to the hotel down the street and after the hotel charged them (10,000 shillings!) to use their oven they cooked a BBQ chicken and an herb-wine crusted chicken to perfection. While they were doing that everyone at my house were cooking away. Through the course of the day we made a delicious pumpkin nutmeg soup that we topped with cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing made with delicious bagel chips, garlic mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, delicious guacamole and chapatti, brown rice and rolls. It was an impressive spread for the two burner gas stove top that I have to cook with. For dessert we had fresh fruit with passion fruit syrup on top!

However I would say the best part of the evening was the surprise that Evan and Maggie made for all of us: a new Thanksgiving tradition known as the “Indestructible Turkey Piñata”! We all went out in the back of my compound and all took turns swinging at the turkey which was duly named “Hermie”. My counterpart, Josh, and his fiancée Susan came for Thanksgiving dinner and loved the concept of a piñata. I do think it is going to be a tradition for the subsequent Thanksgivings and perhaps even holidays here in Uganda.

To finish off a wonderful holiday the next day we all went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 the next day! The movie was fabulous and I can’t wait till next July when the final installment comes out! I had people at my house till the following Tuesday and we had a great Italian dinner night finished off with homemade bread and a pineapple upside down cake!

1 comment:

  1. I so agree that the pinata is a must at all Thanksgiving Feasts whether in Uganda or not."Tradition..." This definitely surpasses turkey bowling as well. Remember the Smiley Face Pinata??? A quote from Mrs. Young, school secretary when you were in K and 1st grade: "If you want to find Becca at recess time, just look where the fun is:-)" Love you XOXOXO