Today I got invited to traditional lunch from Cote d’Ivoire at my colleague’s house. It was his wife’s idea. It consisted of acheke, fried fish, salad, another veggie dished that got mixed with the salad and home made hot green salsa (my favourite!). They said they eat with their hands but I could have cutlery if I wanted but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to make this experience as authentic as possible. So I dug in! It was unusual and harder than I thought but also very liberating.
It was lovely to get invited to their house, meet their children (the smallest one was truly adorable!) and the nanny and I felt honoured. It is not everyday someone opens their home to a stranger and shares their life with them. Needless to say I was touched and very excited. Everyone was so attentive, we started with drinks before lunch (juice and soda), then the little one got told to show me to the bathroom so I could wash my hands, then his wife served me food before she served her husband in true African tradition. We spent the lunch hour chatting and laughing and I found out that they were paying $200 pcm for a four-bedroom/three bathroom house with a huge balcony and views. Unbelievable!
I also shared my not-so-pleasant attempt at a trip from the weekend and Sanwidi said he was going to talk to a friend of his who also works at the office and he could possibly take me to the lake. It all got confirmed later that day so I’m just waiting to hear from the tour agency about another trip and sort out dates.
Throughout my visit the children were trying to speak English (Dad actually actively encouraged everyone to speak English on my behalf) and they were quite shy. The little one opted for showing me her French books instead 🙂 They were all better when nobody was around and it was just us. 😉
Lovely lunch/experience was over and we were back at the office. It was hot, we were full and we really didn’t feel like working but we had to.
The lady who normally brings us tea and cookies came over to check if everything was OK and if we had exhausted our substantial cookie reserves. She asked why I haven’t touched the milk and I said that you don’t put milk in lemon tea and that you only do it with regular black tea. She said she would get me black tea. I said that it really wasn’t necessary. I was very happy with the lemon tea and besides I still had more than half a box left. ‘No!’ she protested. ‘I plan it!’. OK then. I can’t say no if you ‘plan it’. We all laughed and felt a bit more awake and ready to do some work. The following day she brought two boxes of tea – regular black and vanilla. Not to mentioned the two bags of cookies and chocolates. Better not tell her I am not much of a sweets person huh?