Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving in Tanganyika

Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving in Tanganyika

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving, a holiday to remember all the good things God has given to us, and normally celebrated with family around a table groaning under a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I’m in the USA this year and I’ve bought the turkey and my wife is working a day ahead to make the meal special. I’ve spent more Thanksgivings in Africa than in America. And my dad always told the story of the Thanksgiving in the 1950s in Tanganyika when they only had sweet potatoes. But let him tell the story. I found this manuscript recently in a box of Dad’s letters and papers, which had been in storage. Told by Ed Arensen As Americans in Africa, we still celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. We lived at Kahunda, a mission station on the shores of Lake Victoria south of Mwanza. A government boat usually stopped at our tiny dock once a week, but it had failed to arrive this week and we were out of food. The day before we had cleaned out our larder except for a bag of sweet potatoes given to us by an African friend. We had three meals before us and we would have sweet potatoes for breakfast, sweet potatoes for lunch and sweet potatoes for supper. We had three hungry boys and faced a rather barren Thanksgiving Day. We knew we wouldn’t starve. Sweet potatoes aren’t all that bad. In fact, my wife knew several ways to prepare sweet potatoes. But the kids really didn’t like sweet potatoes and we remembered Thanksgiving in America with a turkey...