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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Rwanda

I managed to turn a day of feasting into a full week here, so I think I’ve done pretty well for myself.

On Tuesday I “catered” a party for GACP’s forest research staff: pizza, bean dip and guac, pudding. We (the researcher Rebecca and I) explained that America is a nation of immigrants who’ve brought their food with them, creating a diverse culinary scene including Italian pizza and Mexican bean dip and guac and English (sort of) pudding. In keeping with the Rwandan love affair with beans, the bean dip was the biggest hit. I think they enjoyed beans that had a little more going on than just being boiled to death.

Wednesday we had a little vegetarian Thanksgiving in the village. I taught Rebecca’s house boy how to make garlic mashed potatoes and stuffing in a frying pan, and talked about the origins of Thanksgiving. When we went around the table to say what we're thankful for, he said "for the delicious food Tuesday and Wednesday."

Thursday I got together with my Peace Corps posse in Musanze and we made a delicious instant Thanksgiving from packages - canned cranberry jelly (also good on muffins the next day, FYI), stove top stuffing with instant turkey gravy and canned chicken, and heavenly Betty Crocker sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Friday I stuffed myself until I felt sick at an expat Thanksgiving that included turkeys freshly killed on Wednesday! And Saturday my boss, Rebecca and I had a girls’ night at a restaurant in Gisenyi. Topics of conversation included the difficulties of finding and managing housegirls/boys and email identity theft.

There was also shopping - a quick Black Friday trip to the Musanze market (I got the cutest aprons! $.12 each!) and today while waiting for an appointment I found some nice clothes in the Gisenyi market. Bet you can’t get $11 DKNY jeans in the US, even on Black Sunday (alas if I were a different size DKNY could have been Diesel for $11).

So have no fear, I’ve already started working on my holiday weight gain and consumerist binge, even in Rwanda.

I want to say how thankful I am for my amazingly supportive family and friends from home who spoil me rotten, my wonderful friends and colleagues here, and for being born into such incredible privilege in America.

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