Oasen (the church) and SBI (the training center) spared no expense and allowed Jeanne and I to spend whatever necessary to make this a real fiesta. Though short of time (one week), we made and distributed about six hundred invitations. Hoping to have as many as 250 people, we bought 13 kilo of ground beef for tacos and ten cooked chickens to shred for the burritos. We offered an authentic food experience with fruit punch, chips, salsa, soft and crispy tacos, and burritos made with chicken, peppers, garlic, onion, and tomato. Except for the el charro or black beans. the condiments were as expected – the same as you might find at Chipotle in America.
We began serving at 5:00 as people began to drive in to the campus parking lot. Though we did not get the 250 people we had hoped for, we did have many new faces show up along with many Christians from our church connections – about a hundred in all. It was an excellent turnout for them, since Norwegians are unlikely to come to anything they are unfamiliar with and the weather was less than ideal. By 6:30 I had to go buy more burrito tortillas. Fortunately every store in Norway (unlike Italy) seems to have a full supply of Mexican foods on their shelves.
We had thought to do all of this outside with traditional Mexican music blaring out onto the courtyard, but as the weather became even more uncooperative with wind and a cold rain, even the pinata-breaking was a challenge. Children gathered around it and pounded away with a bat under an awning in the pouring rain. After what seemed like an hour of swinging, there was a shout as a small trickle of candies fell to the ground. At first the polite Norwegian children didn’t know quite what to do, but once they caught on, they were pushing and grabbing like good Latino children.
At about 8:00 we drew for the $100 gift certificate we planned to give away and cleaned up for Sunday. It was a long day of preparation with many students and staff members helping with the set-up, signage, vegetable chopping, decorations, and punch. Students also helped by serving our “customers” for two hours. People were invited to give a donation to Ghana children, but otherwise we treated them to free food and an authentic Mexican experience… in the middle of Norway.