So, how do you prepare and serve 800 meals in one day when your kitchen consists of five three-stone fire pits, five big pots, knives, and an oil drum of water? (We expect 400 guests tomorrow who will have two meals each.) Call on all neighbours and friends to gather leaves from all the potato plants, collect lots of freshly harvested rice, gather fish by the basketful, pound mounds of peppers, grind buckets of groundnuts, boil lots of palm oil and water for tea. Grab every child within sight to haul water, gather firewood, clean fish and leaves, help with the groundnuts, and prepare the pepper. The fires of the kitchen are burning brightly tonight as we prepare for a big meeting tomorrow on education of the girl-child (still a problem here). There is a rumour circulating that the wife of the president will be attending and the village is swept clean and guest house rooms readied, just in case. My task has been to commandeer any spare child to help organize and clean the library and guest house, prepare rooms, round up water buckets, and chat with visitors, while happily sampling the odd cup of palm wine from the carpenters who are home from Makambrary. With the library sparkling clean, I decided to cancel our nightly “open house” and computer class and am enjoying my first free evening in weeks (I’m otherwise in the library seven nights a week). Made and shared tea, tried to figure out the radio (there are ten short-wave bands and
And how do guests in from remote outlying Limba villages keep themselves entertained for 12 hours while waiting for the big meeting to start? It’s and I’ve just stepped in from visiting the fire where guests and villagers have been drumming, singing, and dancing since nightfall. (The world over, parties or social gatherings are the same, I think.) I still can’t figure out where the stamina comes from for all-night drumming, which seems to be a common trend. I often think that I must be the only person in the village in bed at night.
Next day…after the big meeting. No president’s wife but lots of women politicians and NGO workers (including the only female driver other than me that I’ve seen here) arrived in SUVs from Makeni and
Today I will travel to Magburaka to repair the motorbike, which suffered a small collision this week, and to meet with two Canadian women here to investigate projects.