Monday, June 3, 2013

Old Fashioned Home Cooking

Don’t let the title deceive you, this post is about how incredibly busy we are. I recently read an article about busyness, not business, that would be stupid, busyness, which the article says is also stupid.

Settling into our new life in Kigali has been a lot of fun, but seems to only be happening a little at a time. America arrived on a Wednesday, and started her job on Thursday. Don’t start getting all worked up about how insensitive her employers are/were, it was her own choice. We “stopped by” for her to see the restaurant and meet her boss Alissa, and she then sort of just stayed until the place closed that night.

America arrived at a really awkward – and sort of critical – time for the restaurant. The previous head chef had left several months before, the outgoing general manager was not only leaving, but leaving for South Africa a few days after America’s arrival, add on top that the owner was also leaving for a week-long trip a few days after that. So America had to pick up enough to basically run the show on her own as soon as she got there. And so began her 26-straight days of working. Add on top of it that after only two or three days in Rwanda, I was leaving her in a new-to-her city, off to Uganda for a required workshop for Global Health Corps fellows. I don’t know how she puts up with me.

Soon enough things normalized, the new chef arrived, the owners returned, and days off became part of life again.

My work has grown consistently with more and more responsibilities, taking me all over the country, and potentially to other countries in the future. On any day I may be overnighting for one or several nights out in the districts conducting trainings, health facility assessments, or simply following up with progress of the various projects I oversee.

When I am working in Kigali I am often running (behind) to meetings or rushing to finish a report, proposal, budget, project material, etc. Between morning, noon and night both of us are at work in some capacity. Weekends often quickly fill up with still work for the one of us in food service, and church responsibilities for both of us.

America is the new Primary President at the local LDS branch, which is Mormon speak for works with the children for two hours every Sunday. Tyler is the Young Men’s President, Mormon speak for directs all activities of male youth from 12 – 18 years old, he also teaches two back-to-back one-hour classes on Sundays, first for all youth male and female, and then for just the boys. We have a love-hate relationship with our church responsibilities, which is definitely not Mormon speak, shhh don’t tell anyone.

So settling in has been somewhat of a challenge with little to no time to, say, buy furniture. We love our house, it’s beautiful, in a nice location (albeit a little bit of a drive from town/work), and so far has felt very safe. After looking at several and finally picking out a cheapish car to get us by for the time being (which I might add that I accomplished while simultaneously participating in two work meetings) getting around town and to and from home has been much less inconvenient. Accumulating furniture is taking longer than the car, and harder to do while working it seems. Our beautiful house is empty except for our bed (which we love) and an oven I was able to make happen before America ever even moved here (which required me to push start the falling-apart truck I hired to transport it to our house while the Rwandans gawked).

Despite the oven being half of the furniture we currently own, we find next to no time to cook. Fortunately America’s job is at an amazing restaurant, so a lot of our diet now comes from there. The oven has seen more use for Winston than for us, by a long shot.

We were concerned from the start about what food we’d give Winston, as PetSmarts and Petcos are harder to come by in East Africa. Typical dog food is almost impossible to find, unless you want to pay $50 for about a week’s worth of junk Purina (which can only be found at one place in the whole country). So our search for an acceptable recipe to make his food at home began. We finally decided to try something that had been recommended by other dog owners in the city. Super simple, and easy to make: a couple scoops of homemade white rice, two raw eggs, some vegetable oil and a scoop or two of dried sambaza. Sambaza are small sardine-sized fish from the lakes in the region.

Fixins for delicious grub
We weren't sure how he’d take to homemade food, or the fish. Let’s just say that whenever we come home from work or anything he does his super excited growly howl that he does and runs to the kitchen. Winston is OBSESSED with his new food. He snarfs it down and licks the bowl across the room well after there’s not a trace of it left, then goes back to the kitchen to see if we’ll make him more.
Waiting anxiously for water to boil
Pouting because the food isn't ready soon enough
So yes, we make our dog homemade food, and no we don’t make food for ourselves, and yes that is an adequate indication of our priorities, and no we are not ashamed.

One of his favorite spots now for some reason...?

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