Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mstuni (the bush) Adventures...

A short-term team from Crossroads Christian Church (my home church Evansville, IN) came to visit all of us at AfricaHope last month. It was wonderful...having a taste of southern Indiana here, friends, time in the bush together at the lovely school of Olosirua, & watching people experience Kenya & the people here for the fist time, just like I did 6 years ago:) We camped out next to the teacher's housing at Olosirua Primary School for 4 days. Part of the group did VBS with all the school kids, & the other part taught at a pastor's conference in a nearby town. Here's some highlights:

• Rainstorm…a badly needed rainstorm. Only a couple of the tents leaked:)
• Hyena wake-up call
• Building about 20 new desks for the students, & repairing broken chairs
• Trying to carry water like Maasai women (place the strap tied to the large jerry can full of water on your forehead & let the jerry can hang on your back). Warning: it’s heavy & you could end up on the ground:)
• Watching the Jesus film projected on the outside of a manyata (mud hut) in nearby villages at night. Quite a few people were saved!
• Tomato sauce does not = tomato paste! Anyone know how to make spaghetti sauce with ketchup? :)
• Luncar eclipse. Amazing. And it made the stars even more radiant than they already were.
• Time around the camp fire. We ended up teaching Jackson (a co-worker of mine at AfricaHope) John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ :)
• VBS craft time with the school kids…bags with finger print people on them, prayer journals, a banner made with handprints in the colors of the Kenya flag. Love their little hands:)

• Watching the kids play with a large parachute…you know, those parachutes we used to play with at VBS that you try to run under before it comes back down on you. It brought back memories:)
• Nashipae…the Maasai name the students gave me. It means ‘happy’:) They gave us all Maasai names after they performed some traditional Maasai songs for us on our last day there. Precious!

• Passing out deworming medication to all the students. Not glamorous, but definitely helpful.
• Visiting a nearby bore hole that AfricaHope helped make possible
• Nyama choma = roasted meat. On our last day, men from the community slaughtered a goat & roasted it for us! The goad fat soup that also comes along with a slaughtering was….an experience.
• Being able to witness a community meeting led by Tim, AfricaHope’s director, about improving the school for the children
• Maasai beaded jewelry from the parents that we were all given before leaving
• A few Moran (Maasai warriors) came by for a visit & performed a song for us! They requested that we remember them & bring back pictures. We just so happened to have a Polaroid on hand!
• Getting to know the amazing teachers & kids at Olosirua :)
I do love being out in the field:)

**If you'd like to see more pictures from our time in the bush, click here**

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kenyan Cooking...

One of my language learning projects has been to learning how to cook Kenyan Swahili. I thought I'd go ahead & share the 'recipies' I've gotten so far(translated into English as best I can:) ), so you too can try out Kenyan cooking! One warning,'ll probably have to use a bit of trial & error since Kenyans don't use exact measurements:) I have found exact recipies online, though, if you like exact mesaurements & directions:)

Sukuma Wiki - My favorite! It means 'to push the week' in Swahili, because it can help stretch meals through the week. This kale dish (plus spinach sometimes) is usually served with ugali (listed below) or chapati.
- Chop up onions, tomatoes, green peppers, sukuma (kale or collard greens, & spinach (if you'd like a mix)
- Put the onions, tomatoes, & green peppers in a cooking pot
- Add some cooking oil or butter/margarine
- Place over medium heat
- Leave for 5 minutes, stirring together until it is cooked well
- Add sukuma & spinach
- Add a bit of salt & water
- Cover the pot & leave to cook for 10 minutes on low-medium heat

Ugali - a dense dough-like staple of the Kenyan diet made of maize flour. It is usually served with meat, stew, sukuma wiki, or cabbage.
- Put about 4 cups of water into a cooking pot
- Bring the water to a boil
- Add about 3-4 cups of maize flour (I've seen recipies that use cornmeal if maize isn't available) a little at a time while stirring it completely together with the water using a wooden spoon
- 'Press' the mixture against the side of the pot with the spoon to continue mixing it as it thickens
- Continue cooking & 'mixing' until it is 'ready' (another recipie said 'well cooked'). Basically it should be dense, no liquid, & require muscles to stir:) The color & amount of flour required will differ depending on the type of flour you use.
- Remove the pot from the heat & cover to cool for a bit until serving
- Cut into pieces & serve

Mchuzi - aka stew
- Put peas in a cooking pot & boil them completely
- Chop the tomatoes, green peppers, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, & meat
- Put the meat & a bit of salt in another pan. Boil the meat without adding water (the salt will draw liquid out of the meat, so it won't stick to the bottom of the pan) until all the liquid is gone
- Put a bit of cooking oil in with the meat after it has cooked
- In another pot, put onions & garlic with a bit of cooking oil, & cook until brown
- Add tomatoes, green peppers, cilantro, & carrots after the onions & garlic have browned
- Cook until the tomatoes cook down
- Add the cooked meat, & cook for 2 minutes
- Add cabbage, & cook until it has changed color & the stew has soaked up all the oil
- Add peas & a bit of salt
- Add a bit of water (a larger amount if you're wanting soup), & let it boil for about 20 minutes
- Add Royco (a seasoning sold here for mchuzi), & cook for a few more minutes

Chai - Another favorite! Great on a cool day:)
- Pour milk into a cooking pot (about a 1/2 cup per person)
- Add water (about 1/2 cup per person)
- Add tea leaves (about 1/2 Tbsp per person)
- Add tea masala spice if you'd like
- Bring to a boil, & let it cook for for 2 minutes while stirring occassionally (watch closely that it doesn't boil over)
- Reduce the heat a bit after the 2 minutes, & cook until the chai becomes the color of a latte while stirring occassionally
- Pour the chai through a sieve into cups
- Serve with sugar

Ugi - a mixed flour porridge...a drinkable breakfast:)
- Put water in a cooking pot & boil (the more water, the more diluted the porridge will be)
- Mix the flour in a small bowl or cup with a bit of water (2 Tbsp of flour per person) (we used Amaranth flour, but other recipies use corn & millet flour)
- Pour the flour mixture into the pot with the boiled water
- Mix completely, making sure there are no lumps
- Leave the ugi to boil for 15 minutes
- Add a bit of milk, margarine/butter, & sugar (1 Tbsp of sugar per person)
- Leave the ugi to boil for another 5 minutes

I Will Follow...

Loving this song right now :)

"By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way & by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." ~Exodus 13: 21-22

"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have & give to the poor, & you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" ~Luke 18: 22