Saturday, July 28, 2012

Banana Pancakes

A couple of weeks ago at church in the village of Mwakiwasha, some women asked if I knew how to make chapattis, a kind of flat bread common in Tanzania, originally brought from India.  I told them I did and they asked if I would teach them.  "No problem," I answered, forgetting at the time that while I do know how to make them I did not know how to make them with no measuring cups or spoons or anything like that.  Brett also volunteered me to teach banana pancakes.

So I went to my trusty friend Margaret and asked her to show me how Tanzanians measure.  It's all about what looks right in the bowl.  One of interns, Krista, helped as well.  It was a fun afternoon of learning and of experimenting with recipes for pancakes that don't involve expensive or hard to get items like baking powder or milk or eggs.

We went back to the village a few days later and set about our cooking class.  We also cooked for the first time on the new rocket stove our interns helped the villagers make (a rocket stove is a small cob stove that uses less firewood as well as prevents small children from falling into an open fire).  It was all generally hilarious.  One of the older mamas could not roll out dough to save her life (we used glass bottles as rolling pins).  It seriously took her 15 minutes to roll out one 6-inch circle and it still was not at all a circle.  Most of the others did ok, though.  It was a challenge to cook in their pots.  They don't have skillets and the pots they have are not exactly high quality so it was difficult keeping the food from sticking and burning.  But we managed and the chapattis turned out very well.

The big hit, though, was the banana pancake.  They had never eaten anything quite like it before, and they claimed it was "tamu sana." -- very delicious.  I'm hoping banana pancakes start spreading across Tanzania as a regular food.  I would love to occasionally be served that for breakfast instead of rice and beans.  Don't get me wrong, I really like rice and beans, just not at 9 in the morning.

It was fun just working with the women like this.  It was the first time I was not just made to be a visitor, sitting by myself in a chair while all the other women worked.  Building relationships takes time, but I know in the end, it will be well worth it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Things have been busy this last month.  Brett went to Arusha for the first two weeks of June for an agriculture class while the girls and I stayed in Geita.  It was not the most fun two weeks of my life, but we managed to fill our days.  We played with cloud dough, a kind of sand box substitute that was recently introduced to us.

Baylor likes to play dress up and her favorite thing to be is a ballerina.  She loves any skirt and calls them all tutus.

Harper was a duck.

A few days after Brett got back our college interns arrived.  We have five interns with us for the summer and so far it's been great.  At least it has been for us; I hope it has been for them.  They've spent a lot of time in the village and have gotten to see town life and work as well.  Baylor is thrilled to have them around.  They're all great with the kids and are amazingly tolerant of my super extroverted and energetic two year old.

One of our interns discovered that if you blow in Harper's face, she always closes her eyes and sticks out her tongue.  This, of course, happens often now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

To Dar and Back

Getting vaccinations here is a bit of a chore.  We have to find some way to either bring them from Dar, Kigali, or Nairobi and keep them refrigerated (which is difficult with our electricity situation) or actually go those places ourselves.  Some friends went to Nairobi in April and brought back Harper's two month shots, but no one was going to any of those places near the time for her four months shots so we had to figure something else out.  An American university opened a clinic last year in Mwanza and we were told we could actually get the vaccinations there so we decided to check it out.  We asked ahead of time if they had the vaccines and could we get them and were told yes, so we made our way to Mwanza (a three hour drive is much more appealing than a fifteen hour one.).  Unfortunately, the clinic only had one of the three of the vaccines.  We were grateful for the one we got but still needed the others.  So, Harper and I hopped on a plane and flew to Dar.  We got a taxi at the airport, drove to the clinic there, got the shots, went to lunch, and drove back to the airport, where we waited 6 hours for our flight which was delayed.  But we did eventually get back to Mwanza that night, tired and grumpy, but with a new resistance to several strains of disease.