Last year, I had an amazing Thanksgiving with Lorato, our principals, and our host families. It was a great experience, but this year I decided I wanted to have a PCV Thanksgiving. Though I had seen SA24 in October at MST, I won’t see them all again until COS conference in May. So I wanted to gather with some of my SA24s before we start leaving 6-8 months from now. (WHAT?!) So I arranged to join the Kuru Crew in Kuruman for Thanksgiving, which is about 150km from Vryburg, my shopping town.
In order to not miss so much school, we had a belated Thanksgiving. However, though it wasn’t on the actual day, the Thanksgiving spirit was alive! The woman who owns the Kuru Kuru guest house cooked a very American Thanksgiving for us (and she is South African, btw). She made turkey, stuffing, green beans, gravy, corn cake things, a cold salad, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie. A PCV even contributed a can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, which her family had mailed! It was a delicious meal, enhanced by fall decorations, hay bales, and a big scarecrow. I was astounded at the effort Suzette made for us to enjoy a truly American Thanksgiving. And being around my PCV family was heartening, to say the least.
I spent a second night in Kuruman so I could travel through Vryburg with Tumi and P, friends of mine. I actually moved to another guest house, Mynhuis (colloquially called Mayonnaise by PCVs, due to its Afrikaans pronunciation. I met an incredibly Afrikaans lady named Corey who was born to be a hostess. She even picked me, Tumi, and P up at Pick N Pay after we did our shopping, all the way on the other side of town. I ended up staying in a room by myself (a 3 room suite with a loft-ha! African guest houses are sooooo nice) and had a good night relaxing and enjoying the First World.
Popping into First World South Africa makes me thankful for those luxuries, but also grateful for the simple life I’m able to have in Peace Corps. That simple life can be frustrating, but it helps me grow as a person.
Thanksgiving amongst other PCVs was a great way to spend the holiday, and probably one of the most unique ways I will ever spend a Thanksgiving. And it makes me even more excited to spend Christmas with my white SA family (not my host family), and New Years with another PCV, RPCV (Returned PCV aka finished with service), and friends. I can’t spend the holidays with my family, but I can spend them with my PCV and SAfrican families.