On Thursday, Sue (Lorato) and I celebrated Thanksgiving with our principals and host parents. Oh what an adventure that was!
Since the school year is ended and exams are in full swing, there is not a whole lot of work for us PCVs to do at school. Essentially no classes are happening, students are studying for tests and teachers are attempting to finish up marking, assessing, and recording marks before the school year runs out. Due to this, our principals were glad to give Lorato and I a day off to prepare an America meal for them. Heck, they were ecstatic for Thanksgiving!
So, Lorato and I managed to get ahold of a turkey that was dead, plucked, and ready for cooking-no easy feat in a country where you often go out to your yard to find dinner. We found a small 25kg turkey at the supermarket, and supplemented it with chicken as our meat dishes. I discovered that South Africans do not eat turkey normally, but we will come back to that later.
We were invited to cook in Lorato’s principal’s kitchen, which was awesome. We headed there around 8am to begin cooking for the day. Our menu included: turkey, chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, spinach, green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing/dressing, jello salad, pumpkin pie, and apple crisp. The day of cooking included trying to convince a dog to eat scraps, frying chicken in a stock pot, and using a hammer and screwdriver to open cans (pics in another post). But when all was said and done, our meal was impressive, especially by PC standards.
People finally started to show up around 2:45 (we said 2pm….oh Africa) and we had everything ready to go shortly after three. After convincing a few people to put away the paperwork so we could being, we shared our Thanksgiving. We held hands and said a blessing, then had each person go around and say what they are thankful for. It was incredible to hear this in a mix of Setswana and English, as one of the guys translated. You could almost feel the cultures unite for the afternoon, and suddenly there was not thought of nationality or skin color-so cool!!
My principal had never had turkey before, so it was fun to see her try and then feel the effects of tryptophan afterwards. She also had a glass of wine and ended up drunk/asleep throughout the afternoon! Oh what a funny picture I have of the two of us…
We had a long discussion on dimpa and go opela…stomachs and singing. Use your imagination and think of what a singing stomach is, and then you will understand why I was literally laughing until I had tears in my eyes. Thankfully nobody had a singing stomach at the table. 🙂
It was truly fun to see the South Africans be put in our shoes for awhile. For nearly five months I have been looking at various food items, wondering which utensil to use, what to eat it with, how to eat it, and whether it will taste good. Put mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and turkey in front of a South African, and they felt the same way! It was also nice NOT to have to worry about those things for once!
Lorato and I had the opportunity to join several other PCVs in Kuruman and have a nice dinner cooked for us at a hotel, and I thought about doing that at one point-so easy and fun to be around everyone. But I am SO thankful I was able to share this holiday with members of my new South African family and friends, and show them how we celebrate the blessings we have been given in America. The goal was to share a little bit of our culture, but I don’t think that really happened. Instead, we united two cultures and became just people, friends, family. It was an amazing experience, and there is talk of doing it next year. However, our principals will learn to cook a turkey next year! And Lorato and I may well learn how to kill and dress a turkey (that was another discussion that took place).
Ke a lebogile thata go nna mo Afrika Borwa le kopane batho mo skolong le legae la me. Janoong ken a le lelapa mo Afrika Borwa. Ke itumetse THATA go ja Thanksgiving le batho mo Afrika Borwa, y re tla na le Thanksgiving ka 2012.
Go siame, ditsala tsa me. Be thankful for everything you have. Being in the PC has made me infinitely more thankful for the blessing in my life, but perhaps that will be another post. This one seems to be long enough!