Before MCP would arrive to Mayana on July 2nd I wanted to invite the team and Joseph’s family for dinner since our time together alone had come to an end.
So I sent a text to everyone letting them know that I wanted to host a dinner for them to celebrate what we had achieved and experienced over the past 2 months. I expected reactions like “Thanks, I’d love to come!” or “Sounds great! I’ll be there!”. But instead I was questioned why I am doing this, who’s paying for the food or if it was my birthday. I once again learned about a difference in culture. Apparently they are not used to this way of showing appreciation, giving thanks or just wanting to do something nice for others. But I was sure that they were still looking forward to it.
Klaus and I went to Rundu on Saturday morning so I could shop for everything. I had been asking around what food they favor. It was pretty hard to decide on something since anything besides pap and relish sounds very appealing to them. I decided to make Spaghetti Bolognese because it would not be too hard to cook on fire and they all love pasta and of course meat – and lots of it! I had to enquire with my mom though to make sure I had the right estimations per person down. I didn’t want to face the embarrassment of not having enough food for 16 people. Also the kids had been talking a few nights before about ice-cream so I brought the cooler along for shopping to get some desert as well. I was not sure if they tricked me into buying ice-cream by that and actually I didn’t care.
At Shoprite it was no problem to find all the ingredients besides parmesan but oh well. I got 4kg of minced beef and a stranger approached me and wanted to know why I am buying so much meet. I told him that I was just really hungry and craving for some meat. What is up with people getting into your food business??? I also got three packs of ice-cream and ice cubes. Also Klaus picked out some juice concentrate. I suggested orange flavor but he really wanted to get strawberry which just looked like the most disgusting and artificial flavor on the shelf but I figured if they would like it that’s fine by me.
Outside the Shoprite we repacked the meat and ice-cream and I called one of my designated drivers to pick me up. I was happy that he got there within 10 minutes but of course he had to get other customers and we stop at another place for them to do some shopping. While I was staying in the car enjoying some 3G connection, I was getting very annoyed since I had been waiting for 35 minutes in the car when it suddenly hit me: I totally forgot to get the pasta!!! So I called the driver and told him that I was quickly going to get some. Puuuhhh…that was close. I got 5kg of spaghetti and right after we headed for Mayana.
The ride was fun since I was driving with Moses who speaks a little German and he is always eager to brush up on it since he doesn’t get to talk it anymore because he quit his job at the lodge. He just learned it by listening to tourists and asking them to teach him – which is kinda amazing. The two ladys in the back were of course talking about me and Moses told me that they were guessing my age. I asked him what they were thinking: 20 to 22!!!! Yeahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! I told him that I was 33 but he understood 23 and believed it. Double yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! When I asked how old they were, they told me 23 and 24. I was shocked! They would easily pass for 38. Then they wanted to know if I knew any Rukangali words and I was able to impress them with all the vocabulary I had acquired over the last 2 months. Of course I saved the best for last “ensu” which means “fart” and by then we pulled up to the guesthouse and everyone was laughing about the sirumbu.
I unpacked everything and of course Julia came over to check out what I had bought and approved. I started making the sauce right away and Julia was a perfect assistant to me. Cooking bent over fire midday in Namibia really got to me. Also stirring a pot with 4kg of meat and 3l of tomato sauce was a challenge. Julia and I tasted the sauce and she said right away that it was good but I thought it would need more salt and pepper. We sat it aside for later prepared the plates, cutlery, cups and juices. Martha and Allgeria who normally do the cooking for the family also sneaked a peek inside the pot and were impressed that I knew how to cook.
I had asked everybody to come over at 5pm so we could take a picture while it was still light, but you know African Time didn’t make that happen. 😉 We started the fire and got two huge pots ready for the pasta and reheated the sauce. For the first time when I was cooking there were hardly any people around to watch and even when everything was ready, it took a lot of effort to get everyone over. As soon as everybody had gathered around the fire Joseph said a prayer, but I thought it was more of a very nice and touching speech including the Lord and Jesus once in a while. I was glad that we all bowed our heads so no one would see those tears running down my cheeks. And already I was worried to say a few words later on. After giving thanks for the food, I told everyone what we would have for dinner. Unfortunately it was no longer spaghetti but Pap-Spaghetti Bolognese but no one really seemed to care. They all LOVED it and told me that I was a really good cook! And of course kept asking for more MEAT sauce. We finished most of the first pot of Pasta, but there was still another one untouched and half of the sauce left. But as they never eat much, I had to find out, that my estimations for how much pasta per person I would need were European measurements and didn’t apply here. Who would believe that less than 2kg of pasta could fill up 16 people???
While having to force people in Germany after a party to take leftovers home, here everyone was excited to take leftovers home. I had to smile when Julia and Gerhard were the first once bringing containers and their drinking bottles to have them filled. By the way: kudos to Tupperware for really making it all over the world! Also I gave Magret a big container to take some food home for her kids. And then Peter shouted out “Ratio get some too, we will eat it morning time!”. The saying “You are eating like there won’t be any food tomorrow!” came to my mind. And I guess here it is actually true! Here you have to get what you can while it is available because you really don’t know if there will be anything to eat the following day. We just cannot imagen what that’s like or how hunger really feels or eating the same old boring food over and over again. I am now more able to understand those experiences I made concerning food during the beginning of my time in Mayana. I was very happy that none of the food would go to waste and it made them so happy!
When everyone had finished and enjoyed the juice they were all saying how full they were and stretching out on their chairs and benches – even Approach, the family dog, had gotten a plate and had to leave some for later. I asked everyone if they were truly full or if they had room for desert. They all replied that they were super full and couldn’t eat anymore so I had to tell them in that case I would eat all the ice-cream myself than. And that was when they went wild! They shouted out “JEBO” – which means something like “yeah” or “awesome”, clapped and laughed in joy. And of course there is ALWAYS room for desert! So everyone got some ice-cream – well some more of an ice-cream soup but again no one cared. Meanwhile I enjoyed my own dessert – Savanna Dry! 😉
After desert Magret and Peter had to leave and it was time for my speech…I tried to keep it together but you know I am a crier…Lori, even looking up didn’t help 😉 They all started laughing when I was giving them my appreciation in tears and I was a little confused by that, but then I noticed that they were laughing at Peter who was also crying. I thought it was very sympathetic!
I started to get all the dishes together so I could do them the next day and thought it was a good idea to dump the melting ice-cubes into the pots so I could use it for cleaning the next day. Albert watched me and yelled at me “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” I was all confused and was wondering what was up. Gerhard, Michael, Julia, Alex and Albert quickly ran over to their place and got cups. They wanted to eat the ice-cubes and drink the water. I would have never thought of anyone wanting those – so nothing went to waste!
Klaus and Ratio stayed the longest and we had some good talks and enjoyed some laughs. I just love them, they are too funny! Just before they left we stored the dirty dishes on top of the boys’ house so no dogs would mess with them during the night.
The next morning I wanted to get the dishes down but already found them taken down by the boys. They had gotten the empty ice-cream containers which we wanted to safe and were scratching the last little bit out of them. So REALLY nothing went to waste!