Thursday, 23 June 2011

Food, glorious food

'What is the food like?' Seems to be one of the first questions people have asked me since returning. So I thought you may be interested to hear a typical days food, it is no where near as bad as I was expecting.

Breakfast - normally at the Convent.
This would normally comprise of bread (this so called bread was really just white cardboard) and butter. The bread was so bad Rhea, Leo and I decided to spend £7 on a jar of Marmite to disguise the taste, £7 is a lot of a jar of Marmite but I think the girls would agree, it was well worth it. There was tea and coffee for the people who like that sort of thing, made with powered milk. Not one person mastered how to make a cuppa without the milk going lumpy! Sometimes, very exciting times, pancakes were served - hoooooray!!

Eating at the Convent with Rhea, Leo, Abby and Judith
 Chai (tea break at school)
At Chai there was chai and freshly made fruit juice to drink. There was always a hard boiled egg each and a mundarzi (? I have no idea how to spell this word so I've spelt it phonetically). Mundarzi is like doughnuts, the Vocational class used to make them for us and to sell to the other students. We ate them dipped in sugar- very healthy! The children received bread and chai, some bought food from outside of the school grounds, sometimes this was their first meal of the day.

Lunch normally was fruit salad, much to the hate of Rhea and Leo. One day, when I had taken my malaria tablet before I went to bed the night before, I felt really sick. So sick I had to leave the Nursery for fear of being ill over a small, innocent child. I mentioned this to Matilda, the Mama who looks after us, and she insisted on getting me chips. They did the trick- honestly chips are good for you! For a few days after we had chips everyday until we decided that if I ever wanted to fit into the bridesmaid dress eating chips was not the way forward so we returned to fruit.

Dinner (At the Convent)
Dinner always had rice, meat which varied and included the skinniest chicken in the world, something we think was beef but could have been goat, fish or liver. There was a vegetable, grown by the Nuns, we mainly had delicious minty peas or cabbage and a sauce. It was all really tasty and ample food. For pudding there was often fruit or, sometimes, pancakes. We learn that the African people tend not to separate their meals so would eat the fruit or pancakes the same time as their main course. They all thought we were mad eating pancakes on their own covered in sugar. We went to one of the teacher's house a couple of times for dinner that was very similar.
Typical food, including water melon with the meal. The chip looking things is fried banana.
 Sometimes we ate out in restaurants when we were craving certain food, very similar things available as over here, Chinese, Indian, Italian. Of course when we stayed with Alison and Neville we ate like Kings, Neville is an incredible cook and would cater to our ever need, a lovely lamb dinner after discussing who my Mum's lamb roast dinner is my favourite food and even baked beans on toast when I was homesick and wanted comfort food. This earned him the title of Chef.

The children's lunch and evening meal was the same everyday. They had rice/ ugarli and beans in a sauce. Ugarli (again not sure on the spelling) is difficult to describe, it's tasteless a bit like rice, looks like really white mashed potato but is stiffer so you can pick it up and scoop the beans. The children ate in the dining hall or outside and some had to share plates and cups. I actually enjoyed ugarli and beans but couldn't eat it everyday but, compared to some children, they are very lucky to be eating three times a day.

Eating ugarli and beans with the girls (I always sat with the girls, they loved asking me about Mary Hare- the deaf school in England) I was lucky to be able to sit at one of the six tables- the other children ate sat on the floor.
I had a go at making Ugarli which was very heavy going on the old arm muscles, this pot that I'm stirring would serve approx. 240 kids. The top (this also has a matching pair of shorts which I will put a picture on in the future).... nicknamed the gecko outfit,
was kindly made for me by one of the teachers.

The School Kitchen
Now there are two important meals that need special mention. First was my good bye meal with all the volunteers. Alison and Neville took me to one of the best restaurants I've ever been. The food was cooked at our table by the most entertaining chef. It was delicious, funny and just brilliant.
Our Chef!
The second meal is the leaving meal Leo and Rhea made me. Rhea decided to bake mashed potato pie, now called the famous mashed potato pie. What is a mashed potato pie I hear you ask, well it's mashed potato with raw onions, a ton of cheese, served slighly lumpy because we couldn't find a masher with baked beans and more cheese. All served on safari paper plates and me wearing a merry Christmas paper hat as they couldn't find any other party hats in the shop. To drink we had the strongest rum in the world and limited supplies of coke. It was great and we had such a laugh- the perfect end to my time in Africa- I will never forget it.

One of my leaving dinners
Overall the food was great and I don't know how I managed not to become the size of a house. Hope that answers a few questions. Sorry about the spelling/ sentences making sense, I'm not a fan of reading back over what I've written, reminds me of writing essays at Uni! Happy Birthday Martin, much love xxxx

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Well, I'm home and what an adventure I have had. The first week being back on  English ground I can only describe as a 'reverse culture shock', I didn't really want to talk about my time in Tanzania and wouldn't look at the pictures. However, the ultimate Hen weekend soon snapped me back into Western way of life and I'm feeling a lot more settled now.

I've decided to continue to write my blog as there is still a lot I want to say and now I can hopefully add photographs to previous posts and futute ones, I have really enjoyed writing them and hopefully everyone enjoyed reading them. I managed to write a journal everyday I was out there, something I have never done before, so the plan is just to be able to read back and write great masterpieces on here!! I bought a USB so I could transfer my photos from my laptop to the computer, it ws 8GB, the amount of photographs I took amount to 24GB, I think I might something else!!

Today I skyped Judith who is still out there, she seems very well and it was very good to talk to her again, also she had an office full of children so I could see them and sign some hello's, good to see their smiling faces again! Also found out that, against all odds (no kit, thinking Kili was the height of a ski resort with helicopter access and electricity plugs, a worm in the leg) Rhea and Leo, also named Rio- the baby gappies, MADE IT UP MT KILI, I am so proud of them, well done ladies.

SO, am going to start writing the next proper blog soon...