28 November 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

Happy Turkey Day!

We celebrated a very festive, although not at all traditional, Thanksgiving this year. Our cooks, Izzy and Antonia, really outdid themselves with an elaborate and delicious buffet of food!

The Feast

The students decorated our dining area with fall-colored leaves and hand turkeys for everyone here at the center (including Bruno and Catdog). Mine featured a decorated cake because I'm known for making them on students' birthdays and various other occassions. Brett's featured his big black Crocs, which he leaves by the volleyball court during games so that anyone who needs to go fetch a ball out of bounds can slip them on and avoid get stuck with acacia thorns. (As his shoes are at least 6 sizes too big for everyone else, however, this can be pretty entertaining to watch!)

Brett's hand turkey

My hand turkey

Some of the students and I also made pies for our Thanksgiving dessert. I think spending time in the kitchen is part of the tradition for some of them, and so they asked to help out.

Pretty fall colors

We didn't have any cans of pumpkin, and therefore couldn't make the pie they most wanted to, but we improvised with what we had and came out with 5 apple pies (thanks to my dad's scrumptiously foolproof recipe) and 5 sweet potato pies in the end.

Sweet potato pies

Apple pies

Brett impressed everyone with his expert lattice designs, and then inspired some of the students to try it for themselves. All in all, it was a very happy holiday with lots to be thankful for.

Last night, we celebrated (and expressed our thanks) all over again. For the second time this semester, we hosted a dinner for folks in town. This one was in honor of all of our "Business and Community Partners". This included school teachers, shop owners, developers, fishermen, and folks who have been interviewed by our students for their various research projects, among others. (The previous community dinner was in recognition of government officials, e.g. police, clinic, post office, treasury, immigration, etc.)

A centerpiece

Students serving our guests

We decorated our tables with flowers, conch shells, and candles, and put on our nicest outfits. I think everyone had a good time talking and mingling, and it was nice to be able to show our appreciation for the folks here who are especially welcoming and helpful. Also, as our Center Director pointed out, it was a chance to remind ourselves that we are visitors on this island being hosted by the local community. Last evening, for a few short hours, we got to return the favor.

Sweet appreciation from the students

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