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Day 13 – Part 2

The food here is good; there is just a lack of variety and a bit too much grease. I was helping make chapattis at home and was trying to use less oil and Mia took the spoon away from me to add more oil. The main staples are rice, chapatti, and ugali (which is a dense corn meal block which you smoosh in your finger to then use to pick up other food). These are usually accompanied with lentils, cabbage, cowpea leaves, kale, spinach, hominy, green banana stew or kidney beans. There are a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables available but most of them are cooked down. I try to buy a mango or sweet bananas (tiny bananas) from the ladies by my work to get some fresh fruit. There is also a juice stand that sells fresh passion fruit juice that is amazing.


Hot tea is a must here; chai breaks are built into the day like in England. Chai is actually the Swahili word for tea. Here they drink it piping hot with milk and sugar. I’m getting used to it but I still don’t understand how they can drink something so hot when it’s blistering hot outside. Chai is served with a breakfast that usually just consists of bread and jam or mandazi, which are pieces of fried dough, kind of like donuts but not as sweet. At work we have a chai break around 11:00 where we can also purchase a chapatti for a snack. There is also chai in the afternoon when we all get home from work.

Here fat is advertised as something good. There is a commercial on TV for margarine that drives me crazy because it says doctors recommend fat and vitamins and blue band provides these fat and vitamins. The tag is ‘daily blue band daily growth’ and has a kid snarfing down white bread and blue band margarine so he will grow up taller.

Although we have a stove, Mia does most of the cooking on the jiko; it took me awhile to get used to the smoke in the house but now I’m fine. It is heated with briquettes made out of charred wood. So not environmentally friendly for multiple reasons but oh well. I read a cool article on the airplane on the way here about solar cookers; hopefully they will take off here. They get so hot that they can boil water and thoroughly cook meat.


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