Surprisingly, the rest of the world does not celebrate the day when the Pilgrims and the Native Americans dined together during the chaotic times of European settlement in North America. I often forget the cross-cultural exchange aspect that must have taken place during that meal 400 years ago. In that regard, here in Africa, everyday is like Thanksgiving for me. This is probably what would have happened if Thanksgiving had taken place here in Burkina Faso between a group of Americans and Burkinabé:
- Seven people would have to sign the perfectly scripted formal letter of invitation to the Burkinabé officials before a decision would be made to attend.
- The meal would be set for 6 pm, the Burkinabé would arrive around 8:30 pm.
- Instead of turducken, we would eat tôbengice – tô stuffed with beans stuffed with rice and covered in peanut sauce – and it would probably be delicious.
- The kids table would be a mat on the floor.
- The Burkinabé would be incredibly gracious hosts and the visiting Americans would be forced to eat until it was no longer physically possible, and then eat some more.
- Just like the Puritans, we would drink dolo and dance for 10 hours straight without resting.
My Thanksgiving dinner tonight consisted of attieké (thinly chopped manioch) and fried sweet potato like things – not quite bourbon sweet potato casserole but it will do. Since everyday is Thanksgiving for me here cross-culturally speaking, I often think of the things I am thankful for. Here is a list of a few:
- The African sky.
- The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations that I had never dreamt I would ever experience.
- Having the opportunity to take a chance.
- The support of my family and friends.
Thanks everyone, and bon appétit!