Food, friends, and adventures

June 9, 2011

Saturday I sat around all day while Betsy and Crystal were at a village meeting. I got to catch up on my blog (though clearly its taking awhile to post them) and do some reading. In the evening I started planning with some friends for a trip to Serengeti next weekend. Once Betsy and Crystal were home we headed to Lauren’s for Betsy’s birthday dinner type thing. The food was once again great, absolutely amazing food especially for here (eggplant parmesan, alfredo, sausage, soup, and it goes on). I am amazed when people cook because the kitchens are completely old school and it must literally take hours. I got to meet Case and Elona for the first time and they were great. They’ve been living here with their children for two years now. The plan from Thursday was for everyone to go to the disco in town (even Norbert and my parents). The medical students have been telling us how fun it is and we are all shocked there is such a place here. Of course all of the people over 30 ended up not going to the disco but Lauren and I didn’t either.  After dinner we just hung out and chatted for awhile.

Sunday was another lazy day but after a group got back from the snake farm. (I opted out of that for obvious reasons in regards to my relationship with animals here). But when they came back I went with them to do a sunset climb of Harar. It was very slippery but the view at the top was amazing. We sat on a cliff and could hear baboons below us but unfortunately we couldn’t see them. From the top you could see the entire area surrounding Haydom and all of the massive open land. After a relaxing and very amusing sit at the top we headed back down quickly so we wouldn’t be hiking down in the dark. Lauren, Jaap, and I had the hardest time with the little rocks on the way down. We were slipping everywhere and Jaap was woohoo-ing (very mariokart style) every time he slipped. He did end up falling, which was very entertaining but to be fair he had a hurt ankle from a week ago. The drive there and back was very bumpy and the last 5 minutes involved making your own road.

The view from the cliffs on Mt Harar

Monday was Betsy’s birthday and instead of a song she got Kahsa and Alexander to gargle water to the tune of happy birthday. Kahsa managed to spit the water out of her mouth a couple of times and Betsy said it was the best birthday song ever. I have started helping Caroline and Upendo fill out paper work. There are thousands of samples that are all being PCRed so each one needs a form. I managed to complete the 2100 forms in 3 days. On Wednesday I got to help with plating the Elisa test.

Today (I finally have caught up!!) I played soccer and managed not to get hurt. After seeing the other injuries Crystal and Betsy were pretty sure I would get hurt playing but I survived and it was a lot of fun. We had the usual dinner at Christian’s but a much smaller group because some went into town to eat. Tomorrow I head off to Serengeti with Marion, Jaap, Eljakim, and Johanna. I’m very excited and hope to see lots of monkeys and leopards!!!

So this is the food paragraph. If food has really sucked at the guest house we go to the canteen which is the cafeteria for the hospital. We get rice, beans, and chinese cabbage for about 66 cents. Delicious and it gives us no stomach issues. We get fresh mangoes and avocados from town for about 20 cents. We also get guavas in two varieties and of course BANANAS. Food in the guest house sucked but we got new management and the food has been looking better. They now serve vegetables at meals!!!  I mainly eat beans and rice like at home so not very eventful meals, except the local meat and vegetable dishes at meals. Marion had a great line the other day when we were asking about medical service and she said “Compared to the food it is much better” but now we may think the food has surpassed the service. At breakfast there are now the cutest bananas ever. They’re half the size of our typical banana and the inside looks slightly different. Today was the greatest; one banana was so small and cute I couldn’t even eat it. The samosas and the flat bread here are by far my favorite local foods. Ugali was weird at first consistency wise but now I really enjoy it and eating with it is quite an art. Its corn based with the consistency of a hot dough. You roll a little portion into a ball and then use it as the utensil to grab meat or veggies. It is a similar concept as naan or something but the doughyness of it makes it very messy. Beef is the staple meat here. Eating at friend’s house on the complex has really saved me because of the repetitiveness of lunch and dinner. Needless to say I’m very excited for my parents to pick me up at the airport to go eat amazing food in SF or even to get to Arusha where there are restaurants.

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