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Thanksgiving…Africa Style

Well, we made it through our first non-traditional Thanksgiving! Heather and I endeavored to throw a Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday for many of our local friends and some of the local NGO workers. We weren’t really sure what that would look like since most locals won’t eat “firinji” food, but we also weren’t totally willing to give up our own Thanksgiving traditions. We decided to do a mix. Half local foods and dishes that were treats for them and half normal Thanksgiving Day food.

Candi told us that hosting Thanksgiving wasn’t for wussies and she was right. Hosting Thanksgiving for another culture definitely isn’t for wussies, but the positive side of it was that they had no idea if things were done right or not 🙂 Instead of Turkey, we had chicken – the special holiday spicy chicken stew for the locals and roasted chicken for us. Instead of just devilled eggs, we had devilled eggs for us and the boiled eggs that go in the spicy chicken stew for the locals. There were no mashed potatoes or green beans, but instead there was a local potato and carrot dish. Nothing sweet potato, but we managed a total of 3 pumpkin desserts, since pumpkin is a very cheap local product and one we thought they might recognize. Heather also made mac and cheese and stuffing to round out our American Thanksgiving foods. The Thanksgiving wasn’t very traditional, but the food was still very good.

Our dinner was supposed to start at 2:00, so we told everyone to come at 1:00. When we called our language teacher at 2:00, they weren’t even on their way here yet, so Heather left in the truck to go bring them back thinking we would never get started if we waited on them to find their own transportation. She was right. When she got to their house they weren’t even dressed yet. Meanwhile, all of our other guests as well as the food were just sitting at the house waiting. Oh Africa-time, I am still not a fan of you.

When everyone finally arrived, we began chowing down and then shared the history of Thanksgiving and how the tradition got started. Heather and I then told what we were thankful for, which consisted mainly of them and Jesus. It was a day where we got to share with them how thankful we were for them and attempt to bring them into our culture and our life. We gave the opportunity for the locals to share what they were thankful for, but they didn’t jump on that one too quickly 🙂

To be honest the day did not feel like Thanksgiving at all and there were times when it was a little bit awkward, but we were grateful to get to share that special day with people who have become our African family and friends.

Our countryside Thanksgiving attire. Not. So. Cute.

Thanksgiving…Africa style!

Today, Heather and I celebrated our “firinji” Thanksgiving in the capital, which was good since the real Thanksgiving didn’t feel so real. At one point, I looked around as we all joined hands to sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and usher in the beginning of the advent season and I realized that I would never be in one place again with all of these “firinjis” that I have grown to know and love these past two years. It was a bittersweet moment.

American Thanksgiving attire. Ahhhh, much better.

Can I tell you the totally sweet realization I had during that song? Realizing that I will get to usher in the Christmas season singing songs about the Savior’s birth in America with friends and family. Just the idea of knowing that is still to come, was so absolutely enthralling. I can not wait!

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