Saturday, August 7, 2010

Africa Day

  Last Tuesday (August 3rd) the YSSPers organized an Africa Day party.  There are several YSSPers who are actually from Africa (Malawi, Senegal, South Africa), and one from Brazil, which was deemed an African country by cultural influence, since Brazil had not found a home in any of the other cultural festivals.  A number of others, myself included, were deemed honorary Africans and helped out in the planning, organizing, and cooking.  The cooking was a huge production; some chefs were up until 5 AM the night before, and enough food was made to feed an estimated 80 or so attendees.  Here are some photos of the food that we had (watch out for drool on your keyboard):

  That's Aapo on grill duty, cooking up various meats that had been marinated in what I think was a Senegalese spice mix (?).  It was all incredibly yummy, but I only got one hurried plateful because I was on duty managing various things.  I was very sad when I realized the food had run out!  Here's the line for the food, which just got longer and longer until there was no food left:

  What was I so busy doing, you might ask?  Well, for one thing, I was in charge of the Africa Day Trivia Quiz.  You can download the quiz and try it yourself; here are the flag images related to the first question, and here are the answers.  The best score on the quiz was 26, attained by two teams.  We were completely unprepared for a tie, and hurriedly improvised a run-off round that also ended in a tie.  We had had other prizes prepared, but there was no way to split them fairly between the two teams, so we gave up and awarded both teams a bottle of wine from Sheila's party supplies instead.  Here are the winning teams (photos from Aline):

  Of course we had a variety of theme drinks.  Here's the last springbokkie being distributed and consumed:

  A springbokkie is a South African shot made of a peppermint schnaps of some sort (lower layer) and a cream liqueur from South Africa called Amarula.  Hayley has become an expert at making them in large quantities.  I'm very fond of them; I need to find Amarula in Montreal or in the States!

  There was a (non-alcoholic) drink from Senegal, made from the fruit of the baobab tree; I don't have a picture of the drink (clear, dark red), but here's a photo of the fruit:

  I didn't taste the baobab fruit, somehow (too busy photographing to eat, I guess), but the drink was yummy.  Fruity.  :->

  We also had caipirinhas, courtesy of Aline, the Brazilian YSSPer.  Here's the caipirinha assembly line, the South African caipirinha delivery system, and Aline enjoying her creation:

  There were desserts as well, but I didn't get photos of them.  There was a sort of syrup-soaked cake, and fried dough twists called koeksisters, and probably other things as well, but I was busy with the quiz and didn't get to taste them.  Happily, I had been present for the actual cooking of the koeksisters the evening before, and so I got to taste them fresh; they were really good!

  I got busy around this point, put away my camera, and didn't take any more photos the rest of the evening, so I will switch here to photos taken by Aline.  She documented the emergence of the vuvuzelas after dinner:

  There was also, of course, dancing to some excellent African music:

  It was a really great party all around.  To finish off, here are two of the primary organizers, Arame (from Senegal) and Hayley (from South Africa):

  And here I am, dressed for the festivities thanks to Arame:

  I felt half Roman, half African!  Next week is Asia Day, which promises to be amazing; they have been secretly practicing dances and some sort of theater piece, and there are rumors of more delicious food being cooked.  Stay tuned!

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