Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Thanksgiving in Africa

Thanksgiving...what a fun, full day. I got a call earlier in the week from a friend in Kampala. She came to Uganda at the beginning of September to adopt a little girl she had encountered a year ago who had lost both her parents. You probably saw this picture on my blog. This is Melissa, Mercy, and Cody (although, Cody is back in the States now).

Well, Mercy is hers officially, but the Embassy hasn't issued Mercy a visa because of some discrepancy of wording in a medical report vs. the court report. Anyway, she can't leave with Mercy, and I had pre-invited her to Thanksgiving in Arua 2 weeks ago. I was really hoping she could be home with her family in Kansas, but since she can't, she came to celebrate with us.

She arrived on Thursday morning at the airport here. My kids were completely taken with Mercy, and they followed her wherever she went.

I had also told the couple from New Zealand (Sam and Kim from ORA on my blog) that I would watch their 3 children on Thanksgiving while they did some last minute shopping that needed to be done before they fly home next week.

So for lunch, I was feeding my 5, the 3 New Zealand kids, Melissa, and Mercy. Don't think I'm anything special. It was not turkey and dressing, it was…grilled cheese. After the 3 left, I had to cook ONE dish (Praise Jesus!) to take to a Thanksgiving dinner at Sherry's house.

Sherry is an American lady that has lived here for 15 years. She is station manager of the Catholic radio station here, and she built a house here designed for entertaining. I love it! Whenever I'm there, I forget I'm in Africa.

These are the beautiful vineyards out her front door.

All the plants around her house are beautiful.

Her kitchen could fit 60 people in it easily. She even has a DISH WASHER! Her home is hooked up with the ever-running radio station that has enough solar panels to run a small town. She also had a beautiful set up for the adults and the children.

There were 9 Americans that weren't in town, so we were a smaller group this year. She invited an Italian priest who has lived in Arua for 20 years, and they are very good friends. Others attending were my family of 5; A lady named Vikki and her husband who is British and their 3 kids with cute British accents; a man named Jared from California who is married to a beautiful Egyptian lady and their son Enoch; our journeygirl Sandra; and Melissa and Mercy.

Anyway, I was in charge of teaching the children about the holiday and doing a craft.

I had also made a large tree out of construction paper and cut out fall colored leaves.

While the adults wrote what they were thankful for on leaves and taped them onto the tree, I told the children the story of Thanksgiving.

A friend in Baton Rouge had given me a home school activity book on Thanksgiving before I left, and it was the perfect resource.

It was so quiet while I told the story.


That book had 2 great points I brought out because of where we live:

1) The Indians and Pilgrims were two different cultures celebrating together, which kind of resembles our life in Arua. We teach them things and they teach us things.

2) This was not a new tradition. The English used to have feasts of Thanksgiving in their villages to thank God for His mercy.

It was perfect. At point number two, I looked at the three kids who have the British dad and said, "We may celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday, but it's because of your Dad's country that we have it at all."

After I finished a craft with the kids (which was also fun, because the adults actually helped us cut and glue, so everyone was involved),

Doug asked for blessing on our food and lives.

Sherry made turkey in a crock pot, and I loved it because it was juicy. She had made dressing, cranberry jelloish something, mashed potatoes and gravy. She really had the burden of cooking. I just brought broccoli casserole. The other dishes were marinated carrots and some fruit salad with marshmallows.

Speaking of broccoli casserole...we stopped at the post office on the way to her house (which was kind of weird because I kept thinking it should be closed for the holiday, but of course, no one knew it was a special day except us...) to pick up packages.

While we were stopped for the LONG time it takes to pay to pick them up and fill out papers on them, Caleb was crawling around in the back of the car.

We didn't know that.

When we got to Sherry's, Doug lifted up the towel that was over the casserole and found the towel stuck in the casserole and a small size foot print mashed into the 9x13 pyrex.


Oh, how I wish I had thought to take a picture.

Sherry smoothed it out, but it was obvious that bread crumbs weren't on a huge size 5 of it.

Dinner was nice. Dessert was nice. Homemade crusts, homemade everything.

Italian too-strong-for-me coffee with dessert, and the kids watched "Pocahontas" until it was time to leave.

Pretty successful Thanksgiving!

I hope our families back home adjusted well without us as we tried to adjust without them.


Megan said...

so glad you got to spend it in a traditional way :) Are you guys going to meet the P-lake team coming to Kenya?? Dan left today for S.A. and then is coming up to Kenya.

RCW said...

We thought and talked about you on Thanksgiving! And of course, we prayed for you! Lots of Love!