After arriving to Ngaoundere last Friday, I spent the week exploring the city and surrounding area biding time until my first Thanksgiving outside of the United States. The Peace Corps has a regional office in Ngaoundere, which serves as a transition house or hostel for volunteers passing through. By Thanksgiving Day, more than twenty volunteers arrived for the main event. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a Turkey.
Cameroon and the Adamawa are known for many things. Turkey birds are not one of them, but by some miracle, we were able to connect with a farmer a few hours away who had just that. A few volunteers pooled money together to buy it from him. Needless to say, folks were excited, and inspired to make a delicious Thanksgiving feast!
Thursday morning, another volunteer and I made french toast for everyone while others prepared the turkey and other foods for our feast. Cooking the turkey became a process. A volunteer brought her stovetop so we had an extra two burners to use for preparing green beans and mashed potatoes, etc., but you can’t really cook a turkey on the stovetop so we enlisted the help of a neighbor who has a more conventional oven. We hauled the turkey over to his house in a giant marmite and stopped over a few times over the next few hours to check on it and see how it was cooking. Because his stove is wood burning, our turkey got a little black from the smoke, but ended up turning out well! To haul it back to our house, we used a wheelbarrow and a few towels to keep it steady. I’m pretty sure that the people we passed en route were wondering why we didn’t just carry it on our heads, but there you go.
To round out the meal, we each prepared something. Bruschetta, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, avocado salad, stuffing, mushroom lentils, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and a friend even prepared a chicken (she bought it live in the market!). In all, we had a real feast and each ate entirely too much, but had a great time doing so.