Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving in Africa - SUVs and plenty of food

Thanksgiving was approaching and we had no invitations to join anyone in the small American community here to celebrate – until an email notice came about a Thanksgiving gathering sponsored by the International Visitors Council, a program of Sierra Leoneans started with the encouragement of the American Embassy. Betty and I have been hosts numerous times over the years to international visitors in the United States; now we were the recipients of such hospitality.

We saw a side of Sierra Leone we had only caught glimpses of. It wasn’t just the SUVs in the spacious parking area around the large two-story home with its very nice, large outdoor balcony where we ate. It was the good food piled high on large plates on a dining table (various kinds of fresh fish, meat and vegetables); it was also the titles of the individuals who were our hosts, including the manager of a large bank. Another runs a care facility. Another woman had just come back from a trip abroad. When the national power cut off, which is a frequent happening here, the family’s large generator kicked in, illuminating the house and attractive garden. The talk was almost all in Krio (the local language based on English). We’ve taken some lessons, but we could only catch some of it. Our hosts were most gracious and friendly and made our Thanksgiving away from home special.

And their professional work is helping this nation grow.

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