This next week will be full to the max! Here are the major events of the coming week:
- The new National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon is being installed Sunday, Nov. 24.
- The partners’ consultation for EEL-RCA (the Lutheran Church in CAR) will be Nov. 27-28 (with people arriving Nov. 26). It would normally be in Bouar, CAR, but insecurity means that instead of having partners go there; eight of them will come to GB, as will 13 Central Africans.
- The Cameroonian National Bishop and 5 South Dakotans will be visiting a couple of churches in the area and attending the hospital celebration. They will arrive in GB Nov. 26 and leave the 30th.
- The Protestant Hospital of GB turns 60 this year and they have done a lot of remodeling work. Fri., Nov. 29, there will be a re-dedication and celebration. (The women in charge will be preparing food for 250 or more.)
- Oh, and don’t forget Thurs., Nov. 28 is Thanksgiving! (And, in a very rare confluence, also Hanukah, although we won’t be celebrating that here.) Turkeys are available in N’gaoundéré, but not GB. We will be having grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, avocado salad (made by the caterers) and stuffing and squash (GB has no pumpkins as we know them in the US) pies made by me.
So this past week has been jammed with preparations. Lots of people are getting ready in lots of ways. After all the renovation work at the hospital, workers are putting on final touches. They put down tar-y gravel that became a simple form of black top to control the dust. They have had some great new signs made, too.
The guest house bathrooms have had some updating. Both sides got a new toilet. The other house also got a new sink and work to fix a leaky shower.
I was asked to coordinate the food and lodging for 28. (Fortunately, I won’t be the one doing the cooking! Or the cleaning of the rooms and sheets afterwards…)
I also decided to have some repairs done. The two-seater couch (that was made by putting two chairs together) was sagging in the middle so that it was truly a lover’s seat – it was hard to sit anything but close as bodies drifted toward the sagging middle. The bolt was not big enough in the back and the one in the front was coming apart – soon the lovers would have been in a heap on the floor! For a long time the buffet, also in the living/dining room, has had a door that swung open on its own whenever it so desired. There was a folded paper holding it shut, but once I opened the door, I could never get it back in right. I tied it shut, but that meant I couldn’t use the shelves inside. The carpenter who came to look at it said that the first problem was that the concrete floor has a dip and the buffet is not level. That contributed to the door not staying shut – and probably to the hinges on that side being loose. I am happy to say that the door is repaired and I got a shim to make the buffet level! In the process of doing the repairs, the carpenter also re-varnished the buffet and the couch. I also had him repair a couple of chairs.
While I was at it, I got a new mat (made of woven plastic). I am not convinced it is the best color, but at least little pieces of plastic won’t be flaking off and being tracked throughout the house. I put the old one (whose colors I like better…) in the bedroom where there will be less traffic. This way, too, guests can step onto the mat instead of concrete in the morning – not that it gets that cold to really worry about it. The house is ready for company again.
I have also been experimenting. I can’t make the stuffing inside a turkey or chicken. And, although I have made stuffing before, it has not been recently. At the beginning of the week, I made a batch to try out Cameroonian ingredients. Thanks to Anne Langdji for providing the spices. (Mine are still in Baboua…) I didn’t like it so much, so for company I will use a different kind of bread and modify the combination of spices.
I also tried out a pumpkin pie recipe. It was mediocre. Anne and Pastor Andrea were passing through their way to N’gaoundéré (meetings and the Bishop’s installation) so they put in their two cents. We agreed that the kinds of squash I used needed more sugar and I will use canned milk instead of powdered. Also, I need to better crush the whole cloves to spread the flavor more evenly. I wasn’t very happy with the crust either. (When was the last time you made one from scratch?? If I were in the US, I’d have bought premade ones, but they don’t exist here…) The taste was fine, but I think I need to work on the amount of water and size of the pieces of butter/margarine. I may try a sweet potato pie, too, since I have some great ones from Baboua.
Now, all I have to do is make stuffing and pies for 35! I am glad I am not preparing the whole meal. Good thing I did all of that experimenting.
Other work continues. Central African project teams have been completing a document that explains their work. I have received and sent on the two from the Village School Program (I scanned their handwritten copy) and Christian Education (I typed it as the director and I revised it). I have also seen a report of the VSP’s Curriculum Coach’s trip to visit schools. (19 of 20 are functional! We hope that the last is functional this week). The VSP team has also been working on a newsletter about all of their activities in the past several months. (Watch for that soon.)
Busy, busy! With this up-coming week promising to be even more so. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I am thankful for your support – in all the forms that you give it.