I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!
We celebrated in style again this year. Twenty of us stayed at Conforzi Cottage for the weekend and with the help of our amazing Malawian chefs, put together a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Our friend Mike was able to source two turkeys from Liwonde. We toyed with the idea of bringing live turkeys to preside over the weekend in ceremonial capacity, you know, smiling, waving, posing for pictures – but as turkeys are loud, dirty, and mean as hell, we went with the two dead ones. Mike did, however, make sure we had enough turkey feathers to decorate accordingly. Mike also brought amazing child-sized Christmas sweaters from the market to get is all in the festive spirit.
I tried to make cornbread, but unfortunately bought corn starch instead of corn flour. I basically ended up making cakey bread with corn in it. The Evans’ Spinach Casserole was a big hit. I am beginning to learn that if you put enough cream cheese in something, it’s going to be a crowd pleaser. Jen made delicious homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie, but I missed mama’s oyster dressing and consume rice. We also had five cans of my cranberry sauce (bought at the low low price of $35). What is Thanksgiving without canned cranberry sauce served in a can-shape, complete with ridges so you know where to slice it?
The British contingency added their own dish, called Bread Sauce (or something like that). When they described it (with words like mushy, porridge, dissolved bead) I was nervous but it turned out to be very good, however, especially when added to turkey and cranberry sauce.
With a group of 20 (where the boys for once! outnumbered the girls) we had lots of games on the big expanse of beach, including kickball, French cricket, garden cricket, football, and “roof ball” (which is a newly created game that is sure to take off and become an international phenomenon). In Roof Ball, the players throw the ball up on the roof and then tackle, bite, push, and shove each other to catch it as it bounces down. The roof is corrugated tin so the bounces are unpredictable. It’s really a dynamic spectator sport – the spectators sit on the steps under the roof, so really, all we can see are priceless facial expressions of intense concentration and competitiveness, like this:
Saturday night we had the most spectacular thunderstorms – the lightening was constant and lit up the whole lake. The rain poured down in torrents and thunder rumbled all night. It made driving home down the dirt driveway a challenge, but was awesomely beautiful.
We missed our friends and family terribly but have so much to be thankful for, including…
that we live in such a beautiful country
that we live with such wonderful people
that we are challenged everyday to learn and grow outside of our comfort zone
that we didn’t have live turkeys at the weekend
that we have such loving friends
that we have such amazing family
that our families are so understanding of our wanting to live here
for skype (when it works!!!)
for comments on our blog posts
for getting to go home for Christmas
for jobs we love
for happy memories of so many past Thanksgivings
And we are mindful …
that we don’t have the stresses of a subsistence farmer, unlike 85% percent of Malawians who are counting the days of rain, hurrying to plant, praying for fertilizer subsidies, and uncertain of the harvest.
that brave people have put their lives on the line to protest for change
that Malawi has some tough days ahead
that we have a lot to learn from those cute children who smile and wave at us