Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give thanks for the Beths of the world

I’ve been meaning to write about my friend Beth for awhile now and Thanksgiving seems like a perfect opportunity. I was thinking about her today because she, unlike most of the rest of us, will most likely not be sitting down to a heavenly meal of turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes followed by eight different kinds of pie. Beth’s in Ghana, a place where they certainly must give thanks, but they don’t have Thanksgiving. She went off with the Peace Corps a few months ago to help change the world in ways I can only admire from afar.

In the context of tomorrow’s promise of glorious gustatory indulgence, I found myself wondering how Beth is faring in the food department. It’s not that Beth’s a picky eater, but she tends towards the simpler end of the taste palette, famously preferring hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Her last trip-journal post mentioned that she was not a fan of the way fish is prepared over there, something to do with it being too "fish saucy." I didn’t even know Beth ate fish at all. If she’s referring to actual fish sauce, which is basically fermented fish juice, I can understand her disapproval if she’s not getting the good stuff. I’m guessing they must serve the fish with the head and scales on or pickled or perhaps stuffed inside the intestine of some larger creature. Probably all of the above. This past summer, I saw an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel in which he was extremely impressed with Ghanaian cuisine. I’m guessing Beth isn’t getting the same experience Tony did.

Either way, Beth’s making some sacrifices in ways that I’m not sure myself or anyone else I know has the guts to. Let’s all be thankful this holiday season that there are people like Beth out there going to the ends of the world, places that lack refrigeration and indoor plumbing, to try to spread some love and prosperity.


Jacob said...

I'm jealous. Joining the Peace Corps is one of the things (along with moving to Alaska) that I seriously toyed with late in college but ended up never actually applying for due to other conflicting commitments.

Julie said...

I had already picked up my Peace Corps application before I finally found a job at the RNT. They assured me I would get placement quickly thanks to my French.

Honestly, I'm a little jealous of your Beth. That sort of thing has got to make you a better person.