This weekend, the tenants in the flat next to mine had a big barbecue in the common backyard and invited everyone in the surrounding flats to come. Apparently these weekend barbecues were a regular thing last year, but this was the first one since I have been here. It was attended by a large number of ex-pats, mostly in their 20s and 30s and most of them working for some service organisation or other. (These service organisations are called “NGOs” for “Non-Governmental Service Organisation.”)
And they were from all over the world, too…some Americans, but also folks from Spain, Holland, France, Venezuela and several other countries. There were also folks from Zambia; some were service workers as well and some boyfriends/girlfriends of the ex-pats at the party.
The three little girls who are daughters of the on-site manager were also invited. They had made (with help from one of the girls who lives next door to me) a delicious chocolate mousse. This was devoured within 15 minutes of being put out on the table. Other folks had brought offerings such as cous-cous salad, baba ghanoush, some kind of spicy popcorn, fresh pineapple with rum and mint and other kinds of salads and side dishes.
But the real deal was the meat. The huge grill was filled with charcoal and after the coals had turned to embers, piled with meat of all kinds. Marinated ribs, sausages, steak, pork, chicken, shrimp…there was even a kind of cheese that could be grilled. Unlike a typical picnic where the meat is eaten along with the rest of the food, this was like a separate meat course. Good thing, too, as there was no room on the plate for such things as salad.
A lively game of Beer Pong was set up and played with great gusto throughout the evening. I was informed that the red Solo cups being used were “regulation” and had actually been shipped over from the states. Over near the pool, a more sedate game of Jenga was taking place. The little girls darted in and out, always somehow having a full plate of food.
It was fun talking to everyone about where they’d come from and where they’d been. After a few hours, I went back to my flat, but the party continued into the night and I could hear the laughter and the cheers from the Beer Pong game for quite some time.