I had not intended to post another blog entry until after we reached Niger, however, tonight's last fine meal in the US (not to say the dinner we'll have tomorrow night will not be good.....) , was at a historic restaurant in Philadelphia, City Tavern Restaurant on South 2nd Street. It was phenomenal. The food was excellent, the wait staff were dressed in authentic looking Colonial dress, but the diners were even more memorable. As a send off to ourselves, Dave and I chose to eat dinner in this historic place just because we could. (That is the same reason we are putting our lives on the line and going to Niger with the Peace Corps.) Anyway, tonight I touched the actual gold Emmy won by this restaurant as part of a television show featuring the restaurant and their noted Chef Walter Staib. The shiny gold statuette was being shown to a guest in the restaurant who was writing a book on 100 year old restaurants and the City Tavern Restaurant was one of them. The restaurant manager came to our table and let me TOUCH the gold Emmy! What a treat! We had already talked with the author about restaurants he had visited and found there was no 100 year old restaurant in Memphis and that he loved the Rondevous which was not quite old enough for his book. He also told us that his son was writing a screen play for Tom Hanks and that he was already dusting off his tux for the Academy Awards since he was sure his son's movie would be a winner! Then the City Tavern Restaurant manager appeared and proudly displayed his award. Also in the restaurant at the time were a young engaged couple in which the groom had just returned from Afghanistan, a grandfatherly appearing man with his two beautiful granddaughters, and 2 ladies of the academia type who were also intrigued with the impromptu show by the restaurant manager.
So what does this have to do with the life-changing event we face as we leave on Thursday for Niger? I think it demonstrates what we have here in the US that most people of the world would not even recognize----enough wealth and prosperity to get excited over an award for a t.v. show, enough financial resources to dine at an expensive historical restaurant and think about our forefathers who also ate here , and a last chance to enjoy a meal in a relaxed environment with friendly people we did not even know before departing for the unknown......or go down the rabbit hole...............Niger.
The people of Niger are experiencing a food crisis again. Many are starving to death, especially the young children. My hope is that I can detach from the frivolous, disconnect from the internet, recall but not dwell upon what life is like in the US, and do something to help the people of Niger. In some small way I hope that Dave and our fellow Peace Corps invitees will be sworn in as volunteers on December 30 and be able to improve the lives of those we encounter through our mutual projects and ideas. Stay tuned. There will be no Emmy Awards in Niger, but maybe there will be greater rewards to those whose paths we cross. I also hope for the same life changes in Rawanda, since seventy more Peace Corps invitees departed from our hotel today, reaching that country tomorrow. Salamu alaikum. (Peace be with you.) Judy