Since I most likely will be unable to post a new Christmas Blog this year, what follows is last year’s Christmas Blog, Updated.
Reposted 17 Dec. 2013>
The village is about 15 minutes from Hotel Club du lac Tanganyika, and many of the residents work for the hotel. Until this past year there was no electricity, That has now changed.
In this Google map, the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika is on the shores of Lake Tanganyika – shaped here as a ‘W’ and located at the end of the road, by the lake. The village is located up the straight road and to the left. To the left of the hotel is a large, double parcel, where I lived for about 7 years. Very wonderful. Then, due to sales, had to move further towards the village, up the road and to the left where there is a very large partially empty plot.
The hotel (with my technical assistance) organized a contract farming project in which villagers grew vegetables ordered by the hotel. The project bypasses merchant middle-men and thus increases profits of the growers. These ladies are harvesting lenga-lenga (amaranth) that will go to the hotel. Lenga-lenga is also a major staple of local folk, which is being collected for our Christmas celebration.
First task, is to select a goat for the Christmas feast. A little doe was donated from our herd (shown here). Note the shape of the herd in movement – being led by a ‘chief” female goat. Goat herds generally have a chief female goat, how she is selected by the members of the herd remains a mystery.
Off to be slaughtered and prepared
Preparing the goat for a stew with red peppers
Cassava (manioc) leaves are pounded into a paste with green peppers and some other ingredients to make sombé – a favorite vegetable
Palm oil nuts are collected from one of the palm trees in the village, to make fresh palm oil for cooking the feast. We have one palm oil tree now in the parcel and it is producing very nicely.
Cooking for a group is a shared activity – on charcoal burners
Banana beer has been made, and is enjoyed by guests
Children are washed up
Others enjoy Premus Beer while chatting
It is now against the law in Burundi to cut down trees for Christmas, and so a tree was made using palm fronds and banana leaves. There is no electricity in the village, the lights on this tree were strung up just for decoration.
After eating, more visiting with family members – here, grandfather with granddaughter
Women show off their new outfits
And Nona gives me a wonderful present… -
A jar of wild bee honey!! Delicious! (This jar, replete with worker honeybee)
Sunset through the palms, at home.