Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I’ve now had four Thanksgivings in Samoa and every one of them have been special. This year, as has been the tradition, Peace Corps gathered at the official residence of the U.S. Charge de Affairs. Although I’m not officially Peace Corps this year, I was still fortunate to be able to attend. Chad Berbert, the Charge de Affairs and his predecessor, Robin Yeager have always been great about welcoming Peace Corps Volunteers and staff into their house during a time of year when many of us turn our thoughts to our families.

This year when I arrived I was pulled aside by Chad and asked if I would say grace before the meal. I guess word is getting around that I’m planning to apply to the seminary because I’ve been called on more lately for these types of things. It was a great honor and I was happy to start our gathering by offering thanks to God.

Every year I am amazed at the variety and quality of food that comes together for this feast, given the fact that we are on an island a long ways from where any Turkeys are! The table was packed from one end to the other and adjacent was a round table packed with pies and other good deserts. I had taken a vegetables tray for my contribution. Vegetables seemed to be the most popular item, right behind the mashed potatoes. Volunteers become a bit deprived of fresh vegetables living in the rural villages.

Chad took time to acknowledge the members of Group 83 who were leaving after their two years of service, as well as Lilli, who is from my group, Group 82, after her 3rd year extension. They were each awarded with a certificate of appreciation signed by the Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand. Although he wasn’t able to attend because of other commitments, he has always shown a great deal of support for Peace Corps here in Samoa. Each of the volunteers also got a medal. I had gotten the same certificate and medal last year so it brought back good memories and reminded me that a whole year had passed.

Overall, it was a great afternoon with friends who love our country and also have come to love this country of Samoa. Many of us have enjoyed our time here, although I’m sure many will be looking forward to next year when we are able to celebrate the day with family once again in the States.

Lilli from Group 82 after nearly completing her 3 years in Samoa. Here she is with Peace Corps Country Director, Dale Withington and Charge de Arriars, Chad Berbert.

Danny from Group 83 who is finishing his service this month.

Katie from Group 83, also closing her service this month.

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