Last month, fellow MAF wife Lisa Lind and I invited all of our guards and their families to an appreciation dinner at my house. As we began to plan for the event, we counted up all the guards, the wives and the children, and realized there would be about 50 people coming for dinner!
I’ll have to admit, I was a bit nervous. This would be my FIRST time cooking for Congolese people, and I don’t really like Congolese food. It isn’t very tasty to me, but the Congolese LOVE their food. They LOVE their Fufu: cooked greens, rice and chicken. Thankfully, Lisa had taken right to the Congolese culture and food, and was much more experienced than I. So we made up our menu of chicken, buteku-teku (cooked greens) rice, and fried plantains. And since neither of us had ever made Fufu, we decided against it. We would never live it down if we messed it up!
After we got the meal figured out, then there was the problem of having 50 people at our house, mostly Congolese children. We borrowed plastic chairs from everyone we knew, brought out the soccer balls and basketballs, and put all of the breakables away. So the food was made, the house prepared, and we were ready for the guests to arrive. Rain and traffic jams delayed them a bit, but they finally arrived…dressed to the nines. After the first awkward 30 minutes, the kids warmed up to us as I made fun of them for not eating their veggies. Nick played soccer, and Lisa and I brought out our babies.
The event was a hit! I have no idea if they liked the food, understood everything we said or what they even thought of us. However, at the end of the afternoon when we gave out sacks of avocados from our tree and they thanked us with kisses, hugs and smiling faces, it was so worth it. I look forward to doing it again!