Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tues. Dec. 25th - Christmas prep

On Christmas morning, I got up and came downstairs to join the preparation. Nicole, the head kitchen lady, was bellowing at the top of her lungs, "Eat your breakfast quickly because I WANT EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THIS KITCHEN HELPING ME!" Fabiola was already hard at work grating coconut, so as soon as I was done eating, I took over for her so that she could eat. I grated coconut (and knuckles) for 20 minutes and then joined the rice squad.I bet you didn't know this, but if you want your Haitian rice to be cooked at the utmost quality, you have to clean it, much the way my mother cleans through blueberries that we pick before we make a pie. About 15 of the girls, plus me, and Bryn spent the majority of the morning picking through plate-fulls of rice to remove any bad grains or little leafy things that had gotten mixed in. They have this amazing technique of tossing the rice (Nadia is doing it in this photo) to separate the good from the bad. For once, a Haitian technique that I mastered within minutes!

Getting in the Christmas spirit

Redecorating the tree

Look at my beautiful rice!
As noon arrived and the pile of rice grew smalled, Levy started putting up the rest of the decorations. I brought over some of the boys to help and we turned the covered courtyard into a hall worthy of a Christmas party.
Of the 6 boys that blew up balloons with me, only Acheley could tie them himself. So give me that balloon!
We had the music blaring the whole time (High School Musical soundtrack, actually), so I was perfectly happy to only be tying balloons because it meant I could keep singing. It's hard to sing when you're blowing a balloon.

Argusto hanging balloon clusters for me.

Nadia hard at work in the kitchen. I do not know why she is wearing a purple plastic bag on her head.

The fish - I watched them get gutted on Christmas eve, and then I walked in on Christmas day to see they all still had their heads and their eyes! I decided I'd stick with the chicken come meal-time, and leave the fish for braver souls.
Breading the fish.

Mikerlange - she is only 13 years old, but she works just as hard and is just as cheerful about it as the 17 and 18 year old girls. What a gem!
Kattia does not like getting photographed anytime, but especially not when she is being goofy.
Bernadin, stealing a moment's peace before I put him back to work hanging things on rafters that I am waaaay to short to reach. Doesn't he look thrilled to be helping out?
Bringing out the presents that the Bergeron family financed.
Fabiola getting the paperware ready.
Merline Guillaume, my Haitian mama, working in the kitchen.
Youdemie, getting the cabbage chopped up to become cole slaw.

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