Friday, November 29, 2013


I was pretty excited to make my first-ever turkey.  Looked nice (verdict's still out on taste...)
As we unpacked our groceries, Abdoulaye handed me the turkey and said, "It's our first turkey together!", which made me have this little heart-burst feeling inside and give him a look that is kind of like a wince/cry face but is intended to show my joy.  Clearly I had succeeded in communicating how important Thanksgiving is to me to my precious husband.

Last week, we had to call my parents and let them know we wouldn't be coming home, as originally planned, to celebrate Thanksgiving because Abdoulaye had to work on Friday & Saturday (they have over 100 dogs at the vet hospital where he works!).  I was disappointed we wouldn't be spending my favorite holiday of the year with them - especially when they're not so far away - but I also couldn't leave Abdoulaye for his first American Thanksgiving - and so we decided to celebrate at our home just outside of DC.

On Wednesday night I pulled up the Thanksgiving recipes I pinned on Pinterest and read them over - it was time to get cracking on the brine for the turkey!  I prepared our little friend for consumption and got to making the rolls - Thanksgiving was shaping up to be delicious.
Our West African (and Virginian/Marylandian) delegation.
Thursday morning, with our guest list totaling 5, Abdoulaye and I changed our plans from having a little party at our place to joining Aaron and Elaina for their Thanksgiving festivities - our best move of the day!  After getting in a great nap (me) and watching a movie with the boys (Abdoulaye), we headed over to our turkey day hosts' home.

It was such a treat to join our family traditions (I brought sherbet and cranberry juice!) and celebrate with dear friends for whom I am truly thankful.  I looked back, just for kicks, to my Thanksgiving post from last year and I can remember how anxious I was as I prepared to leave for Senegal and attend Abdoulaye's fiancé visa interview.  This year, Abdoulaye carved the turkey and we cut a pumpkin pie together after the meal was over.

This year, and every day, I'm thankful for a lot of things.  I'm thankful for the men and women who serve our country (in so many capacities!) like my brother-in-law to be, Dan, and my best-friend-in law, Tony, and my friends in the foreign service.  I'm thankful for my handsome husband who finds ways to make me feel special in remarkable and unremarkable ways.  I'm thankful for our home and our dear friends who fill our life with love and joy and a family that wraps us up in love.  I like to think I celebrate Thanksgiving all year long - and I am certainly a proponent of having an attitude of gratitude - but I appreciate Thanksgiving as a reminder to be truly thankful all year long.   Hurrah for this day of thanks!

A conversation with Muhamed, a Guinean friend, pretty much sums up the day.  He asked for a few clarifying points on Thanksgiving before we packed up our car to head over for dinner.

Muhamed:So, what happens when we finish eating?  Is there a ceremony or...?
Me: Nope, we just eat and then sit and talk and then eat dessert.
Muhamed: Well, how would you compare it to a holiday in Guinea?
Me: Um.  Well, it's kind of like Tabaski?  Except it's not a religious holiday and we just eat.
Muhamed (to the group):  Eh, Americans like their holidays!!
Me: Yes, yes, we do.

More pictures from our day here!

One good-looking group of people.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

An Amani Ya Juu Holiday Season!

Image source
Are you struggling as much as I am with what Christmas or holiday gifts to get for friends and family?  I'm not only struggling with what to get folks but really from where to get them.  On the one hand, I've been trying (key word: trying!) to adopt a more minimalist approach to life.  Less clutter and tschokes around the house means less clutter and tschokes to clean or arrange.  Do I really need more stuff?

And yet, I do want to share a little something with certain family and friends who I think might really appreciate a special gift.  Cue Amani Ya Juu.  I stumbled across their shop in Mt. Pleasant in Washington, DC last summer while I was subletting a room in the neighborhood.  The shop itself is quite compact and yet they've managed to stock it with quality, hand-crafted goods sourced from Sub-Saharan Africa and women's collectives, providing training and employment to women in need and desire of both.

From their website:
Amani began in 1996 with four women sewing placemats together in Nairobi. Since then, Amani has grown to over 100 women representing ethnic groups and experiences from all across Africa. As women return to their homelands, they carry Amani with them. Amani has established a presence of peace in five African nations (Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Uganda) and two US cities (Washington, DC and Chattanooga, TN). Each Amani center is locally registered and independently managed with support from an international leadership team.
This Sunday (November 17th) and again on November 24th, Abdoulaye and I will be hosting Amani Sales in our home from 2-5.  We'd love for you to join us for tea and some snacks and to hang out and peruse some of Amani's gorgeous offerings.  Check out their website for some of what Amani has to offer.

Is there anything you'd especially like to see offered at our sale?  Let me know in the comments below!  Disclaimer: this isn't a commissioned sale - so no pressure to buy anything!  We're hosting because we like Amani's mission and way of doing business and want to do our part to help support their purpose:
Amani is committed to holistic development. Women gain experience in stitching, quality control, purchasing, bookkeeping, management and design. As new women enter the program they are mentored in quality workmanship with strong emphasis on ethical business practices and harmonious relationships with people of different backgrounds.
Avoid the mall this holiday season and if you're inclined to purchase treasures, come on over and get them from the comfort of our home.  Contact me at jennifermorgandavis [at] gmail  [dot] com for our address and/or questions.  I hope to see you soon!
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