Monday, November 25, 2013

Special Thanksgiving Post

We will miss being with family and friends in the states this Thanksgiving, but we are so grateful for being here and the bounteous blessings we are enjoying.  We are also genuinely  thankful for each of you and how you have influenced our lives, even if in seemingly small ways.  May your Thanksgiving be one of preaceful and pleasant reflection on the tender mercies received from our loving Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
/Pam, never missing an opportunity to serve others invited 35 folks to our Thanksgiving dinner Monday night, 25 Nov.  (We will be on the road to and from Kampala on Thursday).  Attending were the 8  full-time missionaries, acquaintances in the residential compound we live in and many she met on the street while jogging or shopping.  (She’s never met a stranger.)

Our ovens are on the small size so we had to purchase two smaller turkeys…live turkeys.  Can't buy them in stores up here.  They have small frozen ones in Kampala, but they are around 200,000+ shillings or $80+.   So the missionaries ordered from a village the turkeys and dressed them  while Pam and I were conducting classes Saturday morning.  (Dressing…as in killing, dipping in hot water to remove the feathers, removing the innards.)   Glad I had a conflict.  Then the turkeys were chilled til Monday when they were cooked.  Turkeys here are not as meaty as in the statess so we also  cooked chickens.  We had recently dropped by a vet’s shop and purchased the largest syringe and needle we could buy to inject all with marinades.  It worked beautifully

Pam didn't do all the preparations.  Each set of missionaries helped:  peeling the irish and sweet potatoes and carrots, cleaning/snapping the beans, slivering almonds, preparing fruit salad, making two cakes, etc.  They did a tremendous job. (Half of them will be transferring out of our area this week.  We will hate to see them go.)

It may not have been the Hilton spread our Brooks clan will be enjoying on Pensacola Beach, but we had turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, candied yams, squash casserole, beans with bacon, onion  and almonds, caramel carrots, homemade rolls, fruit salad, pumpkin and apple pie, banana pudding, chocolate cake, and later many aching bellies.

Pictures below of the way to make a cake, turkey from scratch, the elders and friends, some, brand new, at our first and only Ugandan Brooks Family Reunion.  Sorry more of you couldn’t join us.  You would have met some very interesting people.  Some surprises included below.

 Warning,…some scenes below may be too graphic for small children and even for some weak stomached adults.

Our feast arrives on Friday after a 2 hour bus trip.  They are tired, hungry and thirsty.  We fatten them up with millet for Saturday’s sacrifice.

The two turkey’s spent the night outside our home Friday night tied to a tree.  This was the first turkey the missionaries captured.  I had no idea that turkey’s are “birds of prey pray”.   When the elder grabbed this turkey’s tail, the turkey grabbed  the tree trunk with its left wing, holding on for dear life.  You could almost hear it praying as it tried to escape…to no avail.  Even the compound cat became frightened. 

 The missionaries involved in the dressing of our feast…showing no mercy.
 Gang leader above and below.
 To the victor goes the spoils.  Elder Phiri was a pro at preparing chickens in his native country so this was pretty simple stuff for him.
De-feathering after par-boiling the dead turkeys

 Still plucking feathers.  Can you tell how skinny they are? 
 A little souvenir.
 Nearly done.
 Final wash down.
Finished product. 

Guests David and Rachel, a Catholic family leaving in 3 weeks.  He's a student of Notre Dame so we hit it off big. He is working on his masters regarding war conflict.  His wife is from Pensacola and they have lived in Mobile and Gulf Breeze!  Last year he attended every Notre Dame game they played including the National Championship Game against Alabama in Miami...rotated taking one of his children to each game.  As he was leaving he asked me when the "Iron Bowl" was.  Told him Saturday night, 11:30 kickoff.  He said he'd be here.  Pam met Rachel as Pam was crossing an open sewage gutter.  Rachel could tell Pam was a little nervous crossing the delapidated bamboo "bridge" and asked if Pam needed help getting across.
Reverend John Ochola, Anglican Pastor on the left, who has been on the radio more than once saying some pretty harsh things about the Latter-day Saints in general and the missionaries in particular.  He gave the blessing on the food and thanked God for sending the missionaries to Gulu to help his people, the Acholi.  Also took home a copy of our monthly international Church magazine, The Liahona.  I showed him a special section in the issue titled, Africa Southeast Area which includes Uganda.  He was devouring the magazine.  We will be meeting with him, at his request, again on Friday. He's a good man, who was just misinformed about our beliefs.  On the right, our neighbor, Dr. Dragomir S Mirkovic, from Serbia.  Nickname is "Coko" (pronouced soko...close to sucko), given to him by his grandmother.  His father died in the war before Coko was born.  He was breast fed til he was 3 years old and his grandmother gave him that name because as he sucked on his mother's breast, he made a loud sucking noise.  Coko is part of his email address. He has been here two years working at the private hospital.  All his children and wife are doctors, some living in the states.
Vickey and Thomas.  He's from Canada.  They were recently married.  He is a student studying conflict and peace.  He Chose Gulu because of the long civil war centered in Gulu that ended 7-8 years ago.  Very involved in trying to help the people here become more self-reliant.

Three of our eight missionaries and William, studying the maps of Africa and Uganda on our wall.  William's second time in our home.  He's from the USA, Ohio.  Says being here makes him feel like he is home again.  Will join us Christmas eve day for games with the missionaries.  He has a couple of businesses now and is expanding.  Mentioned he is talking to some of our Church members I've referred to him for employment.  His salaried employees will far exceed the average in northern Uganda.  He has been here several years and is dedicated to helping the "Gulugans" get better educational opportunities.  He started educational funds for them while he was in high school, likely 5-6 years ago.  Wonderful young man .
Not near enuf room inside so we moved all three missionary dining room tables outside as well as those eating inside. Children in this picture belong to director of the private hospital and his wife.  They and parents all live at the front of our compound. 

If this link will not open for you please cut and paste into your URL.  We're sure you will enjoy it.  We hope you enjoy this short but inspiring musical that brings to mind the many blessings we should be thankful for this season! 

This video was sent to me by an old fraternity brother at the University of Alabama, Keith Echols.  Keith lives in Vestavia, AL...just outside Birmingham.  I'm thinking I haven't seen Keith since I graduated from Bama in 1972 but we have a mutual friend with whom Keith stays in regular contact...Doug Foster who lives in Salt Lake City.  Doug joined the LDS Church a few years after I did. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.  (11:45 pm here)

Brooks and Pam

No comments:

Post a Comment