Happy Thanksgiving from Cameroon!

We remembered each of our family and friends on Thanksgiving this year! Perhaps we appreciate more clearly what all of you mean to us, after all the terrible events of the past few months. In any case, our celebration was definitely not very similar to our usual one - as you can see in the pictures for this week. Tom left at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning (thinking he was in Taiwan!) to go to the meat market and purchase some beef for dinner on Thursday. Needless to say, he found the market unopened - no one in sight! They don't open, as it turns out, until after 9 a.m. He made a second trip and was successful. We chose beef for the dinner since we thought we could make it into a reasonably good meal - there is no turkey available and the chicken here IS very much like the expensive chicken in Taiwan - "running around chicken" - which Janice finds very tough! The way beef is served here - it is pretty tough as well. But we planned to cook it a long time and add some Chinese spices. We were actually more successful than we imagined - it was very tender and almost fell apart - but it was also tasty and good for a change!  We had experimented with the vegetable dishes and knew we could be successful. (Things sometimes don't turn out the way we expect!) We also created some egg custard with bananas which Tom remembered his Mother making when he was a child. That and fresh pineapple completed our meal! (The pineapple here is excellent as are the bananas!)

Our guests included Dorothy and Zachary Njeuma (she is the Vice Chancellor/President of the University and he is a well known Professor of History). Their daughter, Christine, also joined us. She has just been hired as the first woman pilot for Cameroon Airlines! She leaves next month for a training period in Canada, having completed her previous training in the United States. We are very excited for her! Dorothy and Zachary's older daughter, Embelle, is married and living and working in Dallas. She will be returning here for Christmas. In any case, it was nice to be able to celebrate the "holiday" with friends who have been very gracious in hosting us many times since our arrival! (This was our first attempt to invite guests to our home and we were a bit nervous about how it would turn out!)

Also included this week are some pictures of a very nice banquet which we attended on the day after Thanksgiving as the guests of the V.C.  The banquet was given as a welcome to the participants of a Conference on Gender, Policy and Economic Development which included delegates from many African countries. We enjoyed visiting with several of the attendees and finding out something about their own countries. As you can see, the food was quite elaborate! Most of the dishes we have seen several times, and most of them, with the exception of the salads, are quite spicy. The ndole, for example, takes a long time to make - boiling the bitterleaf with limestone, washing and shredding it, grinding up the spices, adding the fish and chicken (or beef), and simmering the whole for a while. With so much preparation time, it is easy to see that people tend to make large amounts so it lasts for a while. This was the reason we fired our cook after two days! He cooked twice and we had enough food for almost two weeks! We were certain that we would never catch up if he kept on cooking!

Well, this is probably enough about food for awhile!  More on a different topic next week - stay tuned!