Molly in Africa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thanksgiving- Malawi style :)

Some of you know this already, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It's always been marked with the richness of Hogan traditions and family fun.  I had been homesick the week before Thanksgiving and I figured Thanksgiving very well may push me back into homesickness since I won't have family around or the traditions I'm used to.  Luckily, we had an amazing celebration here in Karonga- a true testament to Thanksgiving's ability to gather people of different cultures together in the spirit of community building and appreciation.

We invited some of the most supportive people of our community to share in th
is American holiday with us.  At the top of that list are our two cooks (Alick and Vicki), our friend and helper in the garden (Frank) and our night watchman (Mr. Hara).  So we invited all of them and their families.  Then we also invited the Brothers' community next door, their cooks and night watchman and their families.  Finally we also invited these two Australian couples who are about my parents' age.  We ended up with 35-40 people at our house and it definitely felt full which was great!

When people entered they were adorned with a headband/hat so that they 
could be either a Pilgrim or an Indian.  As people gathered, there was corn hole played out front, pin the gobbler on the turkey, Bawo (a Malawian game that's similar to Mancala) and lots of small conversations among different people.  Before dinner, the six volunteers put on a little skit about the first Thanksgiving.  It was hilarious- I had found it online earlier that day and I'm pretty sure it was for second graders!
[Pictured Above: I am sitting in between our cook Vicki & Frank's mom.]
We each only had one or two lines and we had one of the Brothers' cooks translate it as we acted so that everyone present could understand.  Then we had a Bible reading (in English and a summary in Chitumbuka) with a prayer from Andy in English.  To close up the prayer we went around the long table and asked everyone to say a little prayer to God for something they were thankful for.  Each person said it in their own language and it was by far my favorite moment of the night.  Getting to hear every person's voice at the table made it clear that each person was welcome and supposed to be there.  Even though people were speaking in different languages and I couldn't understand everyone, it was humbling to hear the gratitude in people's voices and realize that we really do have a lot to be grateful for.

The rest of the night was filled with LOTS of food and fun conversations.  We ended the night with dancing (typical in Malawi), driving our guests home and coming home to wash all the dishes.  I got a chance to talk to a lot of my Hogan relatives which was really fun- just to hear their voices and get the chance to be somewhat present at their celebration as well.

Overall, a great day and something that gives me hope for the future of my community... Maybe we really can find ways to invite, gather and share with the people here instead of perpetuating the barriers that naturally exist between whites and Malawians here.  I'll keep you all posted on that.


At 12:30 AM, December 15, 2008, Blogger JanetPG said...

Oh, Molly that sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving. Particularly like the 2nd grade play. ; )
Happy Advent,


Post a Comment

<< Home