Archive for March, 2012

31
Mar
12

bukari

Bukari is a very important Congolese dish in this part of the country.  It’s maize meal boiled and formed into large balls eaten with steak, tomatoes and ground and boiled cassava leaves.  Emmanuel has stressed the importance of bukari adding that it would help Yvonne transition if we could have bukari with her, soon!  He’s invited us into his home so that his wife can teach me how to prepare it.  While hotel staff says bukari is the essence of being Congolese, it’s where “we find our strength,” the hotel doesn’t serve it.  That’s what they told us anyway.  I guess if you know the right people, make some calls, they’ll get it done and to your room in about 15 minutes.

First, everyone must wash their hands.  Next, a short prayer is said and the meal can begin.  A small bit of the prepared maize meal is pinched off and kneaded in the palm of one hand.  It is then used to scoop up a bit of cassava leaves and eaten, yumm!  Not sure how the steak worked in, but it was delicious.  So tasty that Francine ate every bit of one (three total steaks, meant to be shared by five of us).  Atta girl!

She’s trying to impress her uncle Erick 😉

31
Mar
12

just some photos

31
Mar
12

sleep

Have you ever been so exhausted that you could think of nothing but a full, uninterrupted night of sleep and woken up thinking, “That!  That was exactly what I needed.” only to find out it’s been one hour and 17 minutes since you went to sleep?  That happened to me last night, twice.  The second time it was closer to an hour and a half, quite the bummer.

Tonight my girl Yvonne who has hardly eaten in four days and spent most of each day screaming, got up from my lap after a few hours in a sling (screaming a good chunk of that time) and crawled into bed.  She is so traumatized and so scared and confused and I can’t even imagine what else.  Heartbreaking.

 

 

30
Mar
12

chicken wings

That’s Francine and Yvonne’s favorite breakfast item, chicken wings.  Who would have guessed?  Our hotel has the most awesome breakfast buffet, but few items we’d consider breakfast staples stateside.  Among so many beautifully arranged items there’s mushroom soup, rice, about 15 kinds of breads, juices like ginger and tamarind, chicken wings and some more standard breakfast items like eggs and sausages.  We’ve struggled to find something Yvonne will eat, so let’s give wings a try.  I’ve never seen chicken bones so thoroughly cleaned.  Francine did the best she could with hers.  When she thought she had all the meat eaten (I’d agree it was gone) she’d hand it over to big sis Yvonne who’d find a few more bits.  The perfect breakfast seems to be chicken wings, rice and brioche.  Hmmm.  Any takers on all the home-made waffles in my freezer at home?

Just because every post should have a photo or two.

30
Mar
12

water

Francine and Yvonne love water:  water to drink, water in the shower, water to dip our brioche in, water in the sink after going potty, and water in the baby pool.  They pretend to need to potty just so they can wash their hands.  Their delighted squeals of laughter when the water splashes onto everything when little fingers get too close to the tap is so wonderful to hear.  Who cares about water streaked mirrors and soaked towels?

The baby pool was a major success!  We were a little reluctant to try it.  So much so that at first we didn’t even put on swim suits.  We just thought we’d sit in the edge and splash our feet a bit.  We were wrong.  They love water!  We had naked babies for a bit, but Bibi raced upstairs to get the swim suits and returned with a ball to play with and two night gowns.  Oops 🙂  The girls stripped down and we put the nighties on anyway.  They were having a blast but so worried about getting their clothes wet.  They kept one hand clutching a handful of nightie at their chests and quickly rang out any part of it that got wet.  We splashed and splashed, each other and ourselves.  So much fun!

Next time we’ll try out the Hello Kitty halter top bikinis!

We’re just starting to try it out here.

30
Mar
12

please

Bibi and I are trying to model please and thank you.  It’s sometimes hard to remember with hungry girls and just the wonderful stress of the situation.  Last night both girls wanted Cheerios in a bowl so they could stir them for a while (no milk) and slowly eat them.  This was awesome news for Yvonne who has hardly eaten at all.  No surprise for Francine who happily eats whatever is handy.  I held off on the request for the Cheerios repeating “Say please” with a smile on my face.  I got the first response from Francine, a small and quiet sss sound.  Good try, but not close enough.  With some more prompting she finally attempted the whole word and got pretty close!  Yvonne finally tried too.  I think it made them enjoy the snack even more.  They seemed really proud of themselves and “please” is getting easier and easier.  Their first word in English!  What should we work on next?

30
Mar
12

the suitcase, part 2

I mentioned the suitcase a few posts ago.  It’s impossible to say how much it meant to have Emmanuel give it to us, for him to have taken the time to so thoughtfully prepare it.  Now it means even more.  The girls love to open it.  They love to look at their own things.  They’ve tried on and repacked, after carefully refolding, the entire contents, more than once.  They’ve added some prized possessions, like necklaces I made for them with their photos on one side and mine on the other.  They’ve added photo albums that I brought with their photos as well as photos of me, our extended family and their bedrooms.  They’ve even stuffed their dolls into it.  Zip it up and close the clasps and a few minutes later reverse it all.

It’s hot here, and humid.  I won’t describe how humid too graphically, but Missouri in August would be a refreshing change.  Yvonne brought with her a really cute yellow sweater with a faux fur collar and buttons on the front.  She’s wearing it today.  I’m wearing her today.  Thanks for that, Emmanuel.

The second unrelated but cute photo….