Monday, October 17, 2011

Election Day Barbecue

Think about what it would be like to host a group of 10 friends and their 5 children for an all-day barbecue in your home.

Now imagine that you just met all of these friends 8 months ago, barely speak their language, and do things quite differently than them, especially in the kitchen.

You may be able to imagine how Kaylee and I feel today: tired.

This all started because Sunday was Election Day here in Bolivia. Due to political/civil concerns, there is no driving allowed and it is prohibited to meet in large groups, no matter how peaceful. Because of this, church is always canceled and people stay at home, except to walk to the local school to vote. A week ago, I was with a few of the guys and they mentioned that they wanted to get together and do a barbeque and a movie. I volunteered our house for multiple reasons: we have a bigger-than-average grill and a video projector, our house works well for parties, and it would be another great opportunity to get people into our home.

The idea is that everyone pitches in $3.50, then the organizers go buy a mountain of meat, rice, and potatoes.

The plan was that they would all go vote early and show up at our place between 9:30 and 10:00 am. Of course, what really happened is that our first guests showed up at almost 11:00. :) Kaylee was busy making donuts to serve as an appetizer. I started a fire on the grill and got the tereré going around.

Here in Bolivia, the meal preparations are as much a part of the social event as the meal itself. Everyone's first question when they arrive is, "What can I do?" Everyone jumps in and gets involved in preparing meat, making llajwa, peeling potatoes (for fries), washing dishes, etc.

The problem is that we're not used to this. . .our kitchen is stocked with enough stuff for one or two people to prepare food (something we obviously need to change). People here have different standards for dish-washing than we do. Some of you ladies will empathize with how difficult it can be to share your kitchen, but with the added stress of culture and language issues, it is extremely tiring!

After an excellent meal of grilled chicken legs, t-bone steaks, chops, sausage, cheesy rice (a local favorite), french fries, and salad, we started our movie. Kaylee and two of the ladies played Sorry (new for them. . .yay Kaylee!) in the kitchen while the kids played with playdough that Kaylee created a couple days ago.

At 6:30, when the movie ended, everyone helped clean up and was out the door around 7:00 (yes, 8 hours later!). Kaylee and I popped the girls in their jammies and beds, and then at 8:30 I headed out to play walleyball with many of the same people (3 more hours!)

A crazy day, but one full of learning experiences, linguistically, relationally, and spiritually.

A photo slideshow:

If you click on the photo, you can go directly to it in Picasa to see it larger!

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