Pape and Cheikh. They look like brothers, don't they?
Pape and Cheikh. They look like brothers, don’t they?

Pape Dièye, who is Cheikh’s Senegalese brother and one of our closest friends, came into town yesterday and stopped by for a visit. Before he arrived, I changed into a long skirt – not because I had to, but because his wife always dresses for our visit and I wanted to treat him with the same respect. As the proverb goes, “Eat for yourself. Dress for others.”

Our last trip visit to see Pape's family
Our last trip visit to see Pape’s family

When dinnertime rolled around, accompanied by a power cut that eliminated the use of kitchen lights and the microwave, I toyed with the idea of ordering something for delivery. (Have you had the falafel sandwich from down the street? Yum.)

But I decided to (quickly) open the freezer and see what I could find. A couple leftover grilled fish fillets that I’d frozen and some roasted tomatoes and zucchini (same scenario). Into a skillet they went, along with some green olives. I boiled some spaghetti and put a scoop of pesto on the side. And then a wedge of lime. Everything tastes better with lime.

The whole meal took maybe 20 minutes to make. Those were apparently minutes well-spent! Pape remarked as we ate that, here in Senegal, to make a meal for a guest is very important and appreciated and that ordering food made by someone else does not show the same hospitality.

Pape and Pape. One of my favorite pictures.
Pape and Pape. One of my favorite pictures.

The twinkle in his eye made me think he knew exactly what I’d been considering 25 minutes prior. But I really appreciated his thoughtful way of letting me know that I’d done well in his culture.

Phew. Saved by the freezer! Now, must remember to always keep something on hand for situations like these…