This was the fifth Thanksgiving I’ve celebrated while in Africa.
The first one was in 2008, in Adjumani, Uganda, while traveling with my newly married co-workers, the Angotes, and two visitors from Warner Pacific College. We got to celebrate with two one-year American volunteers and a friend of theirs. We ate pretty authentic food and played a raucous game of spoons.
The second one was the next year, in Dodoma, Tanzania, which passed almost without our noticing. I think Leah and I went to the Pakistani cafe for lunch.
The third one was in 2011, when we had been married seven months and Inno had just come to live with us. I can’t remember doing anything special that year either.
The fourth Thanksgiving, 2013, was also here in Shirati. I was pregnant with Gretchen, my friend Liz was pregnant with her second son, and our friend Ladine was pregnant with her third baby. Their husbands and kids, along with our Dutch friends Pim and Yvonne and their daughter, all came over to our house for Thanksgiving. We ate a full potluck-style spread, and we pregnant ladies all got ultrasounds. Y’know, standard Thanksgiving.
This year we have an American guest staying with us. Megan Jackson is a Lahash Servant Team member who is staying on in Tanzania for another couple of months, and is taking a three week break here with our family. She helped the kids put together a gratitude tree and some hand turkeys. When I asked Wesley what he is grateful for, his first answer was “Letter W” followed by “Numbers.” I asked him what Gretchen is thankful for, and he replied, among other things, “Fish and small fish.” (Small fish are tiny silver fish we call dagaa. It’s a common food here which Gretchen really enjoys.)
All day long I cooked, and Megan helped. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is probably the day I feel most American out of the whole year, and it was nice to share with a fellow countrywoman. After dinner, Innocent and Megan and I played Ruckus and SkipBo. It was a pretty wonderful day, and a wonderful Thanksgiving!
|Pickles and olives from Iraq, gravy from a packet from America,
homemade crescent rolls,
Shirati’s finest chicken, carrots, potatoes and watermelon,
homemade juice for the kids and not the finest wine for adults!
|I didn’t have a pie pan, so we made little apple pies in silicone muffin tins.
The kids helped with measuring and stirring, then we carved initials in the tops.
This is Gretchen’s, naturally.
|Happy Thanksgiving from the Otieno Family!|