Food at the Village

Blog entry created by: Meagan

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Expecting the Worst

Toned, tan, and fit- these three words describe my expectations for myself by the end of the trip perfectly.  So far, though, I remain as far away from those “ideals” as when I left home.  In fact, Europe left me heavier than I have ever been, and as pasty white as ever. Great…  Well, just another reason I was looking forward to Africa!  The common phrase about not wasting food because “there are children starving in Africa” had led me to believe that I would be losing weight in Kenya, whether I liked it or not, and I was ok with that!  Stereotypes are deceiving though.  Here at Nyumbani Village, lack of food isn’t an issue!

Tea Time!

I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that tea is a very common drink in Kenya.  I’m not a big tea drinker; iced or hot, I just can’t seem to get into it.  Kenyan tea is the exception though- I love it!  I don’t even consider it to be tea; it’s milky and sweet and absolutely delicious.  I would compare it to a chai, but with fewer spices.  At the Guest House we have tea 3 or 4 times a day: at breakfast, midmorning, afternoon, and sometimes with dinner.  It’s nice to have a choice besides water!

The Most Important Meal of the Day

There are 3 breakfasts that we rotate through at the Guest House.  The most common one is yams/sweet potatoes.  I’ve only ever had yams with Thanksgiving dinner, so having them for breakfast seemed a bit strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.  They’re actually pretty good!  Another breakfast is bread and butter; simple, but nice.  We’ve only had it twice so far.  My favorite breakfast of the 3 is mendazi.  It’s a special treat, because it’s a lot more work for the chefs than any of the other breakfasts.  It’s basically fried dough (like a doughnut but without the sweetness) and it’s delicious!

Rice, Beans, and Goat

Lunch and dinner don’t vary too much day to day.  One thing you can always count on having is rice.  I’m fine with rice; it’s the rocks and the pebbles in the rice that make me cautious about eating it.  You have to be especially careful when you chew, or a tooth might be chipped.  Sakuma wiki (a green, leafy vegetable) mixed with spinach is also found at almost every meal.  It’s really bitter, so if I do eat it (I don’t usually) I mix it with something else.   The rest of the meal is one of the following: green grams (lentils with some tomatoes and onions mixed in), beans, beans with maize, or beans with cabbage.  Not a ton of variety, but it’s filling!  Two times a week we get meat (usually goat) in a delicious stew with potatoes.  Sometimes we also get chapatti, which is like a tortilla but thicker- I love it.

And We’re the Lucky Ones

While our food may seem rather bland and lacking in diversity, our menu still has more variety than what they’re eating in the homes.  Meat twice a week and lots of beans and rice didn’t seem like a whole lot at first, until we found out that the kids only get meat and chapati 4 times a year!  Now I feel slightly guilty those 2 times a week we get stew.  As you can probably imagine, the four occasions (Easter, Christmas, and 2 Kenyan holidays) are greatly anticipated all year long.  We’ve decided to spend some money so that the village can have meat and chapati once while we are here.  I’m really excited that we’ll be able to give them such a special treat!

All in all, the food that we eat at the village is really good.  Our chef’s at the Guest House, Senator and John, do a wonderful job and we’re so grateful for all the time and effort they put into keeping us fed!  They do an excellent job with what they have! Even though there’s not a ton of variety, the food is filling and tasty.  I’ve even developed a taste for goat :) I’m not sure how all this food is going to help with my weight loss goal… But I guess it’s a good thing that I’m definitely not starving in Africa!

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 | Categories: Kenya, Snacks and Food, Well for HIV+ Village- Kenya


One comment

  • Aunt Lori says:

    Oh dear Meagan….It sounds like you are continuing to embrace all of the new experiences you are gaining. I’m glad to hear that the starving children in Africa do get fed! Is that thanks to American Idol?

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