Whether we’re from the United States, Mexico, South or Central America, it never hurts to give thanks. An official “Thanksgiving Day,” however, is truly a U. S. holiday, traditionally all about friends, family, food, and football.
The recent Thanksgiving celebration at Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter was an all-new experience for most of the refugee minors who live there, almost all from Central and South America. The traditional Thanksgiving menu looks pretty strange to many of the kids, according to Sarah Hill, Bokenkamp’s director of volunteers. “So they’re trying completely new foods,” Sarah says, “and it really makes you think about what we eat during the holidays. Like green bean casserole. It’s one of my favorite dishes ever, but it’s really kind of a weird concoction when you’re trying it for the first time at 16 years old. Stuffing is another food that is kind of strange when you think about it.” The Bokenkamp cooks did take liberty with the cornbread stuffing, and added some jalapenos.
Turkey is also a pretty unusual main course in Central America, but it turned out to be a big hit with the Bokenkamp kids. After the big Thanksgiving lunch, one of the volunteers came outside and fried another turkey while the kids were out playing soccer. “Munching all day long even when you’re full beyond capacity was another tradition we were able to pass on,” Sarah Hill said. Overall, the Bokenkamp staff who stayed for the Thanksgiving festivities said everyone “had a blast!”