Hello everybody! Whitney here.
First, thanks to all of you who have been praying for Romano. We have good news to report! He is recovering well, and Scott said he actually was transferred out of the ICU today, which is a step toward leaving the hospital. Praise God!
Life moves so quickly! It is hard to blog about everything and do it all justice. Below is my brief attempt to fill you in on a few of our recent happenings!
Last Friday evening we were invited to Pete and Lisa Kuyaya’s house for a Kenyan dinner (they are Kenya natives). They are two of the nicest people I think I’ve ever met! On Wednesday of last week Scott and I were attempting to squeeze a quick walk in before it got dark at 7:00PM. On our way, we were admiring a home with beautiful flowers growing all around it. As we stood there, Lisa, the Volunteer Staff Coordinator at Tenwek, came down the dirt road and greeted us and we realized that this was her home. We complimented her on the flowers and she laughed and joked and said their were more plants inside the house.
Or at least I thought she was joking until she invited us in for chai, Kenya’s national drink. (Ok, I made the “national drink” part up, but it should be as it is impossible to go a day without chai!) We accepted the invitation and we soon saw that she was not joking about having more plants inside. Pots and vines were everywhere. Vines were trained up the ceiling and over and across to the other side of the room. One could make a game of finding which pot a vine originated from!
Once seated, Lisa’s daughter, Maria, who is in third grade, prayed for our chai (so sweet!) and then Lisa served us the best chai we have had thanks to her fresh cow’s milk (unlike the usual unrefrigerated, ultra-pasturized milk that is common here that I think it tastes awfully funky) and a Tea Masala blend of spices which made the tea taste more like Indian chai. Soon enough, Pete, Lisa’s husband who is a dentist at Tenwek, was describing the wonderful food Lisa makes and how she is a great cook. Well, of course I had to find out all about what she makes and how she makes it. In the end, Pete suggested a Friday night duo supper where the two “expert cooks” would make the food (Lisa the Kenyan meal and I a dessert) and the two “expert eaters” (Pete and Scott) would do their share of eating. It is thus how Scott and I were invited to our first Kenyan meal in a Kenyan home and we looked forward to Friday night with great anticipation.
The meal on Friday did not disappoint! Lisa made so many dishes it was like a grand buffet! There was beef stew, beef stir fry, chapatis (like tortillas) with carrot and cilantro shreds inside the dough, sukuma wiki (cooked kale), cooked cabbage with cilantro, sauteed green beans and julienned carrots, a tomato and pickled ginger chutney, a tomato chutney with sultannas, Mukenye (mashed sweet potato and beans), Matoke(boiled and mashed green bananas) served with a peanut sauce, a lettuce salad with carrots and avocado, and homemade mango-pineapple juice.
It was all so good and fresh with almost all of the vegetable dishes coming straight from her garden–and if not her garden, then a farm a few miles away. Except for the chutneys, none of the foods had any additional spices or seasoning. I have been told by another Kenyan that lack of seasoning, besides salt, is common because historically spices have been expensive and thus they were never incorporated into the Kenyan cuisine (except on the coast of Kenya due to trade and the proximity to India).
For dessert, I made this fudgy chocolate cake set in a pool of orange curd from this recipe with a variation of these espresso meringues crushed over top of the cake for texture. I used my precious Ghiradelli chocolate chips I brought from the States (which I think my mom bought me for Christmas!) for the cake and I had to borrow beaters and an oven (my oven ran out of gas–terrible timing) to make the meringue cookies. In the end though it was all worth it and I’m so glad I went the extra mile because Lisa’s meal, and endless leftovers, were such a blessing to us!
The next day, on Saturday, Scott and I went with a group of other visiting medical staff to a town called Kericho (1-2 hours away) for a day trip. On the way we passed by beautiful countryside, followed by gorgeous tea plantation fields, and then ended at the Tea Hotel in Kericho for lunch. Below is a bunch of pictures (most taken while driving) so you can hopefully get a good idea how pretty the countryside is here and learn a few cultural tidbits. Enjoy!