01 August 2011

Uno, CokeLight, and Other Acts of Hospitality

My friend B. was in Niamey this weekend too.  She lives closer, so she gets here more often . . . and has lots more African friends than I do.  After church yesterday, we stopped in at the Pastor's house to say a quick hello.  That turned into a three hour visit.

What started as a very short Just-Popping-in-to-Say-Hi-Since-its-Been-Awhile visit quickly turned into an Uno tournament.  All of which ended in a full-blown meal.
It was a lot of fun, relaxing with this family who had been strangers only an hour prior.  Here I was, a stranger, and they completely welcomed me into their home.  Which honestly didn't surprise me.  What did surprised me though was that they didn't just host us, entertain us, and feed us, they showered us with their best.

While we sipped coffee and I won each hand of Uno (I think they really just let me win since I was the guest) the Pastor took off on his moto to get what they needed for lunch.  We had originally said we could only stay a few minutes, but they wouldn't hear of it.

As our playing wound down, an incredible aroma came wafting from the interior of the house.  It too one whiff and both B. and I were sold.  To my surprise, however, the aromatic sauce would have to wait, as there was salad of fresh cucumbers (!!!) and tomatoes (!!!) and peppers and onions and hard boiled eggs and potatoes.

I confess I said a quick prayer, asking for a thick lining of grace around my stomach, and dug in.

Then came the next course.

All I can say is that I need to adopt me an AfricanMomma!  Momma had made an onion sauce that was INCREDIBLE!

But they didn't stop there.  Out of the fridge on the porch came a half liter bottle of African-brand CokeLight.  Now, this may seem like no big deal to you . . . but it's been my experience that here in Niger soda is a luxury.  And here they were, holding nothing back.

I felt the a guest of honor while simultaneously sensing that I was the newest member of the family.


Linda said...

Lovely. So lovely.

Deb. said...

:)  (and congrats on your 'rising star' status!!)

Leah Long said...

Such a precious part of that culture. Your comment about the onion sauce reminds me that I need to get serious about finding good onion recipes, since that's one of the few things that grow in abundance where we'll be in Mali!

Shal said...

So great! It reminds me of Indian culture and how I used to love "visiting" families as a kid.

Deb. said...

If I ever learn this one I'll be sure to send it to you!

Deb. said...

Yeah, I see a lot of similarities between the culture I experienced in New Delhi and the culture in Niamey!