One of the things I’ve wanted to do since returning from my adventures in Uganda was to host a dinner party featuring Ugandan cuisine! It only took me 8 months to get my act together, but I was finally able to pull it all together yesterday.
I planned out a menu. Made the guest list. Invited more than would normally fit comfortably in my, um, cozy home, because, you can always make more posho! Made the required Ugandan party playlist. And while I did wear a dress I had made in Uganda, I secretly wished I had purchased a gomesi to really pull the evening together. Although, that would have required one of my Ugandan friends to also be in Atlanta to help me figure out how to wear it!
The trouble with cooking foods from other cultures in America is that the ingredients aren’t quite the same. So the product comes out, a little better in some cases, and a little worse in most cases. I prepared posho, which tasted more like gritz. G-nut sauce. Beans. Cabbage. Potatoes. Pineapples. Beef. And made a valiant attempt at chapati. What I wouldn’t give for a proper rolex! We finished off the meal with Tusker Lagers, and african tea!
One of the girls looked up proper Ugandan gifts to bring someone hosting you in their home, and found the closest thing to a chicken she could. Thoughtful and clever gift.
There were 9 of us that squeezed into my living room. Seated in a circle. Some old friends, some just met that evening. All followers of Christ. All taking the calling of serving others to heart. The girls in that circle have traveled to Cambodia, Spain, Haiti, and Kenya on missions trips. With upcoming trips to Haiti, Uganda and Indonesia scheduled for this year! And it’s not just international missions that they are caught up in – it’s serving middle and high school students. College students. The refugee community here in Atlanta. Leading their peers in small groups at their churches. They are serving others. And it’s no wonder I wanted to be surrounded by their goodness. It reminds me of something Carrie and I read in our bible study last week that has lingered – “Accountable to God. Devoted to Others”. Isn’t that really just a lovely thought? And these girls are just that, accountable to God and devoted to others.
The selfish part of the evening was just being able to share and talk about Uganda. The hole in my heart that is never fully filled because I am so far away from so many that I love. And from who I was there. While I was making Chapati, I thought of my dear friend, Christine, who taught me how to make chapati in her home. Or when I was placing the food out, I thought about the hospitality of Henry and Martha who so graciously invited me into their family so many nights for dinner. When I was washing their hands on my knees, I thought of sweet Sarah who washed my brother and my hands when he was visiting. The echo of laughter reminded me of my time with Diana. And the Tuskers, well, they reminded me of Hannah and Lillian, of course.
My apartment doesn’t have a dishwasher, and so the pile of dishes still sits in my kitchen (I already did one large load of dishes last night). When I walked into the kitchen this morning, I couldn’t help but smile. Cooking. Entertaining, is a labor of love. It warms my heart. And those dirty dishes hold precious memories. And a lot of laughs.
Throw a dinner party for friends. You’ll be so glad you did.