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Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 36 Mumias June 13, 2011


One of the first lessons I learned here in Kenya was that time does not really mean a whole lot.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to stay for just another ten or fifteen minutes and once they know they got me it’s off to kill a chicken and prepare a meal.  What ten minutes really means is an hour and a half or longer.  The hospitality of the Kenyan people is truly amazing.  They have such a high regard and appreciation of any and all visitors that come.  

Today I learned that when a white man and especially a man comes to cook for about a dozen  people the word gets out and before you know it the number changes from a little more then a dozen including children to over forty.  Talk about sweating bullets I was told about ten adults and up to five or six small children.  I counted twenty adults including myself, two older children, and twenty two smaller children.  Two of the original ten couldn’t make it Morris had a school treasury audit and Ben’s wife was sick.

Before Hezron picked me up I went to the Nakumatt up the road to purchase what items I thought I would need for a dozen or so people except for the meat.  Making spaghetti from scratch and I do not have a clue to what cooking appliances or utensils I will have.  I also decided that I would make coleslaw for the salad since there really isn’t a selection of lettuce to choose from and only one type of tomato.  I thought I would also try to make some sort of garlic bread but all that was available was sliced bread so I bought a big loaf.  Wasn’t sure how I was going to cook it and it proved later that I wouldn’t be able to.  The bread just ended up being buttered and it was great no one knew that it was supposed to be garlic bread and toasted.  Once Hezron picked me up I rechecked the inventory and decided that I should buy another bag of spaghetti noodles.  You see I only had three bags of noodles so I thought I had about 3 pounds.  I wanted to get another one just in case it did not look like enough to feed everyone.  This proved to be my saving grace and the fact that I don’t have a clue to how many grams are in a pound.  We picked up the extra noodles and meat headed to Mumias picked up Melissa in Shibuli and off we went.

My coleslaw recipe was a large head of green cabbage, a small head of red cabbage, vinegar, mayo, sugar, sweet onion, celery salt, pepper, raisins, and chopped almonds.  I had brought the Natural California Sun-Maid raisins and almonds from the states I though it would be a great addition to the coleslaw.  The spaghetti sauce was minced beef, red onions, sweet onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomato puree, diced stewed peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed garlic, garlic salt, salt, sugar, beef bullion, Italian spices, and lots of love.

Once we got to Mathews home in Mumias it became apparent that there was starting to be more people then I had planned for.  I had plenty of help getting everything prepared.  First we prepared the coleslaw with all the ingredients except the mayo which went in just before we ate.  While Mathew was preparing the jiko and kerosene stove we cut up the onions and green peppers for the spaghetti sauce.  Once everything was ready we started to brown the meat with the onions, green peppers, and garlic.  Once the meat was browned we started to add the various cans of tomato products and I looked into the pot.  I instantly decided that there was no way this was going to be enough to feed the crowd that was assembled.  Now what the nearest Wawa (for my east coast friends) or 7-11 happens to be 8,000 miles away.  I am in the middle of the bush in Kenya with the nearest store over an hour away.  There was nothing I could do except add water to the sauce and thin it out a little.

While I was fretting over the sauce the water was starting to boil in the 15 gallon pot on the jiko.  I asked for a big pot and I got one.  Hezron commenced to put in three bags of spaghetti noodles into the really huge pot of boiling water.  I told Hezron to go ahead and put the forth in also.  He told me that it would be too much.  All I could see was up to forty people and I know how much ugali they would be making if they were feeding this crowd.  Granted half of them were kids but it still did not look like enough.  Well Hezron knew something I did not.  What I thought was 4 pounds actually was more then 6 pounds.

Cooking Kenya style

Is this pot large enough

Never seen a Mzungu cook before

After everything was done and the table was set the older men outside were starting to be fed.  For some reason they were not allowed to come into the house.  I guess I should have asked why.  Aaron, Josh, Jennifer, Nanette if you are reading this you would have been proud of me.  There were 20 or so kids outside and I was worried that they might be left out.  They were so excited to see the Mzungu cook and all I could think about was running out before they were fed (kids are fed last here in Kenya).  I asked Melissa if we could feed the children and she gave me a smaller pot that was next to her.  I filled it with noodles added some sauce mixed it up and asked Melissa if she thought it would be enough.  Everyone got to eat and I was left to assume that everyone had their fill.  We did run out of sauce but had some noodles and coleslaw left over.  After it all I was so relieved that everyone enjoyed their meal and did not go home hungry.

Getting their first taste of Spaghetti

Associate Bishop loves his spaghetti

While I was eating I noticed that some people were putting noodles on their plate then putting coleslaw over the noodles and then putting the sauce over it all.  Oh how I take eating spaghetti for granted.  This was the first time almost all of them had ever eaten spaghetti.  It turns out that my good friend Hezron who has had spaghetti many times likes to mix his food up.  The others saw what he was doing and naturally thought this was the proper way to eat spaghetti.  Hezron said it added other flavors to the taste of the spaghetti and it turns out that it tasted pretty good that way.

Hezron demonstrating skettislaw

Today I really enjoyed making a pot of spaghetti for my friends here in Kenya and I told them that I really appreciated them for letting me do this.  After dinner we chatted a while and then took some more pictures.  Mathew took me around his property showed me his cows, chicken coop, and then he showed me his charcoal making venture.  He takes his left over wood from the furniture store and turns it into charcoal.  Some he uses but most of it he sells.  The charcoal will sit in the smoldering pile for three days until it is ready.  Tomorrow we will be going to the orchard site to lay out the post holes for digging.  Mathew will be up to cut the raw timber for the support posts.  Hopefully we can also finalize the amount of acres available for planting more fruit in and around Kakamega.

 Mathew and the children

Hezron and the Freedom Ministries Staff

Getting the kids assembled for a picture

What a great smile

Making charcoal (burns for 3 days)

John wanted to see a motorbike (with Ben)

Take care and God bless


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