A few years ago, Sam and Becky Barber started the tradition of serving an American style Thanksgiving dinner to the students of Friends School. They would prepare turkey and dressing and all the other usual items and have the students out to their house.
When I arrived last year I asked Sam and Becky if they would be willing to do that again and they agreed to cater the meal here at school. I called again this year, but with their new commitments they were not able to do it so I asked Ms Candi what we should do.
By way of a little explanation, we celebrate this meal on the Friday after Garifuna settlement day on Thursday. Garifuna Settlement day is an official national holiday when people are off work. Friday is not a day off but it is designated by the ministry of education as ‘children’s day.’ Most schools have some special activities in the morning and let school out after lunch. I thought that maybe we could just order in pizza and that would be that, but Ms Candi said, “No, we can prepare it.” She quickly divvied up the tasks: Ms Darcel would make mashed potatoes, Ms Maggie would make the dressing, Ms Candi would fix the turkey and we could warm up corn and beans. Ms Candi’s aunt, who makes the powder buns for our morning snack volunteered to make pumpkin pies if we would buy the materials.
I kept hinting that I could perhaps help but…
First thing Friday morning we went to the Prebyterian church for our normal Friday Worship. When we returned, I worked with the students to make some homemade Christmas ornaments while Candi, Darcel, and Maggie worked on the meal. At 12:00 Ms Candi came downstairs to get us. We spent a little time remembering what we had done in worship and reflecting on what we were thankful for and then had a blessing on the meal.
The students were very good going through the lunch line and it got very quiet for a while.
I was pretty amazed. We had 17 students in attendance that day and 4 staff. We ate two 14 lb turkeys, 10 lbs of mashed potatoes, about a half of a large (restaurant sized) can of cranberry sauce, a large serving pan with two types of stuffing, a whole large can of corn, a whole large can of beans, and six 9″ pumpkin pies. And the staff didn’t eat much.
The students did a nice job of expressing their thanks to the staff and some even stayed around to help clean up.
I’m pretty sure they didn’t go home hungry.