November 28, 2011
Thanksgiving went really well. 85 people signed up on Facebook and 86 people attended. A couple of straglers game today just for the Mexican food.
Wednesday everyone started arriving. The newest stage is at Tubaniso for pre-service training, and the last stage to get sworn in is there for in-service training, so this holiday was just Team America and the Kennedys and the couple of third year Risky Business and the Honey Bunches of Oats (hobos for short). D is leaving on the 9th for America after three years here. He is the one who came to help me with my bank. My homologue will be sincerely sorry she won’t get to see him one last time. We went out together Wednesday night to the Mamelon hotel and bar. There have been three birthdays over this holiday week, so we have pretty much been celebrating someone’s birthday every night.
Thursday we got up early to cook. I helped with the stuffing and the fruit salad. Basically I just filled in chopping when needed. I think my bigger contribution was keeping the prep areas clean. Since we did some of the prep work outside the flies were especially bad. I moved the garbage away from the kitchen, mopped up, did dishes etc.
I think it was the first broken window rule, since I kept it clean for the first couple of hours, other people maintained it after I stopped. With 40 people in a house that normally has around six, I’m surprised at how clean we’re keeping it in general. (There are also 30 people at a missionary hostel, and the remainder scattered around apartments and houses here in the city.)
We went to the venue around 4 for dinner. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, gravy, fruit salad, apple pie and pumpkin pie. There were eight turkeys and three ducks. They were butchered a little haphazardly, as is the rule here, but they were moist since they’d been deep fried. The mashed potatoes were a disappointment, but I didn’t think they were actively awful as some volunteers did. Green beans and gravy were good. The stuffing was, I think, the stand out. Apparently last year it was a disaster, so we paid extra attention to it this year. There was waaaaaay too much fruit salad, but it was good before it got too soupy (too much watermelon I think). The pies were a little under-seasoned either with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and the apple pie wasn’t sweet enough. But, hey, we had pie, so that was nice. I had a bartending shift with T that ran during the flip cup tournament. There was also beer pong. So it was kind of like Thanksgiving at a frat house. In the evening we all went out to a club that had been rented out for the occasion so it was just PCVs, and then of course when I got home from the club I got to talk to you guys.
Going out a bunch of days in a row, plus socializing in general with this many people started to get exhausting today. I had intended to help with the guacamole, but I just sat with some of the other PCVs watching episodes of the Big Bang Theory, Arrested Development, The Office and Modern Family until it was time to go to the pool. The pool was nice, but there was no shade in the actual pool. So you had to choose water or shade. I probably got too much sun today as a result. We used shwarma wrappings for taco shells, we had 16 pounds of meat flavored with the taco seasonings and cayenne mom sent (delicious), refried beans, Spanish rice, Velveeta (thanks again, this was probably the biggest hit of the day even though the only “cooking” we did with it was heat it up into a nacho sauce), guacamole and salsa. The overall effect was satisfying Mexican, and we had people serving the food rather than making it a free for all, so unlike last year everyone actually got some of everything. Tomorrow there is a trip to the waterfalls that I am going to skip, because I did that trip for the 4th of July and don’t need to do it again. Some people are going to start heading back to site tomorrow, so it’ll be a little less crowded here which will be nice. I’m going to stay in Sikasso until KJ comes back from Portugal, and then we’re going back to my site together which will be fun. I haven’t seen her since IST. I was treasurer for this whole affair, so tomorrow I’m going to fill in the spreadsheet with the half-assed receipts I made people write out if they were taking out money for cooking or club nights or firewood or whatever. We made a bit of change off this whole thing, which is satisfying. We’re going to put it towards something nice for the house.