Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve Dinner

A mattress, mosquito net, and some rice were the Christmas gifts sent by Olivia’s sponsor (not my friend’s Olivia, a different one). The family invited us into their home and I continue to be surprised at how neat and clean the homes always are – given the dirt floor and mud walls. Commonly the family has a wood chair or two, but most have hand-woven mats for sitting on the ground. Kick off your shoes before entering.

A lady working on the land cut a few stalks of corn for us and Olivia’s grandmother gave us a chicken…a live chicken. Gertrude the Christmas chicken rode home in the trunk of the car with the ant-covered corn stalks to keep her company. Given the late hour, Gertrude would have to stay overnight in our house until Christmas Eve when we would enjoy her company for dinner. The neighbor’s dog might have otherwise made his move.
Gertrude the Christmas chicken was tied at the wings and feet and, if I took a moment to allow it, I might feel a bit bad for her. Instead I told her to hush up so we could sleep. Lauren threatened to slit her throat in the night if she kept us awake, so the girl complied.

Christmas Eve day David the trusted boda man took Gertrude from our sight. He returned a short time later with a bag…full of a naked and quiet Gertrude. Sad? I think not. Hungry? You bet. Lauren whined about how hard it was to cut Gertrude into proper pieces, while I cleaned up her poop with a baby wipe.

Hot coals awaited this lovely Christmas chicken and the marinade Lauren created made the anticipation even better. AND Quality (the nearby supermarket) had Heinz…oh this was to be a very good day. As it turned out, Gertrude was about the best chicken we’ve had in Uganda and the corn was the tenderest. Remember the corn breed is different here, so getting anything close to tender is just short of miraculous.

I heard that I missed Tom’s chocolate cake with the family Christmas Eve night. I hope they ate a piece for me! As for my own Christmas Eve dinner, God is so generous.