Fete de dindon

4 01 2009
In preparation for Thanksgiving, our language and cultural facilitators had a meeting with our host families to explain the significance of the day in the US and how all the PC trainees would, accordingly, be spending that night at ecla (our western oasis) where we would feast together on comforting American food. Though no stagaires were present at the meeting, it is safe to say that a little was lost in translation as all our host families commonly know only one reason we would not be eating spaghetti or to with them…….. fete de dindon. Or,  Turkey Party!! My host dad knows no story of the Mayflower, or the Indians, or the founding of what would soon be the 13 colonies. He simply knows that we Americans lover turkey so much that the US Ambassader gave us a turkey in a ‘big gesture’ (code:butterball).I of course wanted to tell him about how Native Indians helped us through that winter but then I realized…I don’t really know the true story of Thanksgiving. I always thought that the Indians helped the people at Plymoth Rock cultivate some corn, etc and when the first harvest came around, the Indians and soon to be called Americans had a joint party to celebrate their friendship. Going around a circle in my French language class…I soon realized, most kids are told a different version of Turkey Day. One stagaire said she was taught that the colonists would have starved to death if not for the Indians giving the Americans food. Another offered their passed down story of seafood in lieu of turkey.   Explain all this to Burkinabe and no wonder our LCFs (Language and Cutltural Facilitators) settled on a on specific name of “Turkey Party.” And then in an effort to give  the ‘real story’ I began to talk about the “Bill Bryson” take on the event. That in actuality, Americans didn’t even land on Plymoth Rock and had previous, friendly encounters with “Indians” that long predated Columbus’ voyage. Overload! Going around our language class we realized that actually, we all knew seperate pieces of the puzzle about Thanksgiving….did our ancestors really eat turnkey? lobster? Regardless of how confused the Burkinabe (AND AMERICANS) are about Thanksgiving, we stagaires certainly enjoyed the festivity.
Stuffing face

Turkey faces! (L-R; Abby, Brekke, Nikki, Aaron, Brandon)

All in all, there was an impressive spread of salad, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, turkey, skewers, sweet rice, and a lot of extras. Although a few of us were initially worried there wouldn’t be enough food for 32 stagaires and 15+ staff, it turns out we had enough food to even make up for breakfast in the morning.

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