Thanksgiving Lunch with Journalists

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu
November 18, 2015

Welcome to my house for lunch to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. It is an honor to have you here with us. As I said before, I hope to have open and frequent communication with the media during my time in this country as Ambassador.

This is an opportunity to thank all of you for the hard work that you do. To be a good journalist is a difficult job in any country. You work long hours and make many sacrifices in the effort to provide good information. As you all know, access to information is a fundamental part of a functioning democracy.

As an Embassy, we are dedicated to helping promote reliable and professional journalism. Through our cooperation with PCI in the Possibilities Project (Peace, Opportunity, and Security), this year we have trained 100 journalists in communication, journalism, citizen security, organized crime, violence and the problems of land possession and wood trafficking (45 of them from Managua and 55 from the North Caribbean Autonomous Region). This training helps improve the way information is reported and transmitted on sensitive topics.

We also provide English classes to journalists all over Nicaragua. 72 journalists have participated in the two-year training that we have sponsored with our partner, CCNN in Managua, Estelí, Chinandega, León and Matagalpa. USAID is working with local partners to promote journalism equality in general, particularly in the areas of agreement and digital marketing.

Now, I want to tell you the story of Thanksgiving Day in my country. Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a time to get together with family and friends, share a traditional meal, and express gratitude for the good things in life. Thanksgiving started with a celebration of the three day harvest completed in 1621 in what is today Massachusetts. Local Wampanoag Indians taught English colonists how to survive by local farming, hunting, and fishing. The settlers invited the Indians to a feast of wild turkeys, ducks, geese, fish and shellfish, corn, green vegetables and dried fruits. The Indians brought venison.

This Celebration still revolves around the native food of the Americas: turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, with slices of pumpkin pie for dessert. But, every region in the United States has local variations on the traditional meal. In the Northeast, a turkey could be glazed with Vermont maple syrup and filled with chestnut stuffing. The residents of Baltimore serve sauerkraut, and some in the South make cornbread stuffing with oysters and serve sugarcoated sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows. Chefs from the southwest might serve turkey rubbed with an ancho chili and cumin paste.

In many cities in the United States, volunteers prepare and serve dinner to the poor. Churches, mosques, temples and other religious centers adopt interreligious celebrations. Different from other American holidays, Thanksgiving Day is not attached to only one religious tradition, which makes it easier for people from different faiths to celebrate together. At present, many families come together on this day to eat large quantities and to enjoy an American football game.

Thank you for joining us today.
Now, enjoy the Thanksgiving meal.