This past week has been packed. I felt a lot more like an African… well maybe more like a lame “baby African” as my brother Sam (well technically he’s just a friend but he’s always at the house so it’s just easier to say brother) would say. Africans are tough. They don’t mess around, or complain. They just do what they have to do and they do it well. Take laundry for instance. The first time Joy and I did laundry, we didn’t really do it… Maureen and Ivan did the real work and Joy and I just sloshed the clothes around three different buckets to rinse them. But last Tuesday, pretended to be real Africans and wash them ourselves… It hurt. My back hurt from bending over for almost two hours and then I literally rubbed the skin off my knuckles from rubbing the clothes together. It’s an intense project. Not for the faint of heart… or fingers.
On Thursday it we began of learn how to cook. That’s the day when we leave from school early to help Maureen cook dinner. We didn’t do much, and it was kind of awkward, but it will get better. So, first thing we learned to make… oh my, it isn’t for the faint of heart either… they call them –greens. The first time we had them I was just excited because it was a vegetable, then we learned how their made… I had to gag them down at dinner, I tried chewing without letting it touch my tongue, and then just swallowing without chewing… it’s horrible. So what are greens made of you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s like green onions and something like spinach (some dark green leafy thing) deep fried in oil for a while, then while the onions and leaves are simmering and all hot and soaked in the grease we proceeded by adding an uncooked egg mixed with some floor and water. So in the end you get this like pasty green veggies in a strange milky looking sauce. I’m very grateful we have only had them twice… and hopefully never again. But the day was all bad. We got to learn how to peel and cut sugar cane. I didn’t know that we had to eat all we prepared though, and so my stomach was not happy with me after that, not at all. It hasn’t really been happy with me much lately. This whole past week I have been waking up around five or before to horrible stomach pain and nausea. Bathrooms are not easily accessible at that time, which makes it even worse.
Oh sister, you have spoiled me with your amazing cooking. On Friday we had a bunch of American styled treats at a missionary’s house… it just made me home sick, it couldn’t compare to yours. Or African food is dulling my sense of taste, things just aren’t as flavorful here.
Oh on Friday I went to part of an all night prayer thing in the Cathedral (where I go to church here). It was weird… not what I expected. I thought it was going to be more of a personal prayer/devo time with times for singing and such, not really. I didn’t feel at peace really any of the time. There was a whole lot of shouting, and even a lady falling on the floor screaming. I mean, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it just really shocked me. I was not prepared for it. And I was really tired so that probably didn’t help. And it was all in Luganda so people sat around us to translate, which was nice, I was very grateful. Until the boy asked me for my email. He even wanted me to write it in his Bible! That is one thing that drives me crazy, you can’t even talk to African guys without them expecting you to in return give them your number or email. It’s so annoying. I told the boy he would be fine without it, and then left.
But Saturday was by far my favorite day in Africa so far. We got to cook with Maureen! And a bunch or her family was there too, we got to meet two of her other children besides Ivan (the oldest) her younger son Reagan was there and then her littlest, Maureen was there as well. She is 6 and super adorable. We played football (aka soccer). And Reagan took tons of pictures for me with my camera. But yeah, we made matoke! They are a very sappy banana. We peeled them (with knives) and then cut them in half. We cut banana leaves from the trees next to our house and even picked a few po-po (still not really sure what that fruit is but we had it in our soup and it tasted okay). Then we wrapped the matoke in the banana leaves, the craziest thing is that after they cook it comes out looking like you mashed it… but you don’t! I was so shocked.
Then we made cookies! And they actually came out well! They looked more like miniature ho-cakes but they tasted like cookies.
Recipe for the ‘Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Cookies’:
2 cups floor ¾ cup butter 1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking soda 1 cup brown sugar 1 egg
½ tsp salt ½ cup white sugar 1 egg yoke
Recipe edited African style:
2 partially full mug lids of flour
2 pinches of salt
1 small tub blue ban
1 partially full mug lid of sugar (they do not like it really sweet)
2 crumbled up milk chocolate bars
Once you have the dough, roll it out into small ball and then flatten like a little pancake
Light charcoal on outside cooking stove
When charcoal is ready, place sauce pan on stove… and pray
Place dough on pan and cover with lid for 2 min
Flip cookies with a fork or sauce pan avoiding at all cost touching the sides of the sauce pan because it’s around a million degrees and hurts like crazy (I didn’t do so well with that step) recover and then let them cook for another two minutes.
Remove scorching cookies and place on a plate to cool
Repeat until all the dough is cooked
It was tons of fun, and they actually tasted pretty good! Our family even liked them and wants us to make more! I was very excited, it was so much fun!
Then we made Chipatti!!! It’s good, but so greasy, partly why my stomach hates me so much at the moment. Fresh homemade chipatti’s are the best way to go, way better than bought ones. These one’s I even really liked because they didn’t have as much oil on them because we were running out.