I never realized how much work it takes to make rice here. Before Emily came over, I started sifting the rice and picking out all the bad pieces and the little rocks. It took a long, long time, and thankfully, Jason and Emily came and helped wash the rice after it had been sorted. Then we put it on the charcoal fire to boil.
While the rice was cooking, a bunch of the guys played Uno, and Sarah, Emily, and I played with puzzles with the kids. It was really fun just to play and talk with all the kids. Emily kept talking to my kids in Nangjere (which is funny because they don't really speak a lot of Nangjere) and saying, "Do you want problems? Come here, fight me." Her family has taught her how to say some really funny things...
Then Emily and I seasoned the rice, and dished it out. There was a lot of rice. We served up one huge bowl to the six guys, one bowl to Sarah and the little kids, and then Emily, Berthe, Ruth, Pidi (13 year old from Jason's family), and I shared a bowl. Every once in a while, Emily an I would start talking in English, and Berthe would say, "Talk in French. We don't understand English, and we want to know what you're saying." So we would translate into French, which turned out to be funny because once we had been plotting against Berthe in English...
After rice, most of the visitors left, but Sarah and the kids from Jason's family stayed because we had invited them to spend the night. The kids continued working on the puzzles, while Sarah and I talked to Pierre. First I asked him how he became Adventist, which was a fun story to listen to. Then Sarah asked him to tell how he had met Hawaa, and how he decided that she was the one he wanted to marry. This proved to be a much less interesting story than it might sound because Pierre would just laugh and tell us little things like, "Well, we grew up together," and, "She just interested me." It was still fun nonetheless, and just being together socializing was great.
Finally, we all decided that it was far too late (9 pm) and we all needed to go to bed. Bruno and the two visitors slept outside Bruno's hut on a mat, Pierre went into his hut, and then Sarah, all the kids, and I put out a mat under our hangar. It was more than a little crazy. There were nine of us all on one big mat. Sarah and Dorcas shared a blanket on one end, Anne, Esther, and Romerick (10 year old from Jason's family) shared a blanket all squeezed in the middle, and finally, Ruth, Pidi, Berthe, and I with a blanket over our feet on the other end.
It was really fun to lay out on the mat with all of them and look at the stars. At first there was a lot of giggling and squirming, but everyone finally settled down and drifted off to sleep. Unfortunately, I didn't really sleep much. I was on the very end sharing a pillow with Berthe, and she kept on rolling over and pushing me off the edge of the mat into the dirt. I was kind of uncomfortable and woke up every hour or so because my neck was stiff or my arm was numb again. Finally, at 4 am, I woke up cold and realized that if I was going to get any good sleep at all I would need to go back to my hut. So I did. Of course, at 4 am, this decision was a little late because there were only 2 more hours left for me to sleep.
In any case, it was an awesome night, and I hope that there are many more nights under the stars on mats with my family. And I hope that they pass a little less crowded and more comfortably.