Life here seems to revolve around food. Sourcing it, preparing it, eating it.
Locating it is the first hurdle. Without the supermarkets that we're used to in the UK and America just being able to get hold of the ingredients can be quite the adventure. Last week my neighbour came rushing round to say someone was standing in a butchers in Arusha (in the north of the country) right at that moment, a couple of hours flight away and did I want anything as there is so much more available there. He is one of the MAF pilots who lives there and was going to buy it and send it down on a plane the same day!
Preparing it is another story. Absolutely everything has be prepared from scratch. Literally. From sifting the stones out of your rice before washing and cooking it. To blanching your tomatoes to use in homemade pasta sauce. To chopping up a slab of Cadbury's Dairy Milk into little bits to use as chocolate chips. To boiling your milk and then cooling it before you can use it, as it comes straight from the cow!
There really are several extra steps to every ingredient in every recipe and you have to be that much more prepared before every meal. It's like turning back the clock in many ways, how things once were before all the conveniences of processed food etc. The difference being we now know about the processed/pre-packaged/prepared options but can't access them!
So it is not unusual for my brain to just be processing what is needed for the next meal ... and the next few days meals too!
Dodoma is a great town but to be honest there really isn't all that much to actually do. Preparing food can not only be seen as time consuming but also as a family activity ... creating and experimenting with different things together and having lots of fun in the process. See Abigail below, styling her little sister's birthday present while Naomi was busy snoozing! Today we tried dairy free coconut macaroons (for a guest tonight) but had a little bit of fun, dying one half of the mixture pink and the other half blue!
Socially life revolves around food too. With nothing much to do apart from hanging out with people over a meal ... we have already found ourselves sitting around our table with new friends much more than we would usually (and that's without all our belongings arriving!). There is never a rush to go and do anything else as there isn't anything else to do. It's something I really enjoy about life here!
The life we live, food wise, is in contrast to that of many locals. With no electricity and no proper storage for food, they literally live from day to day. Buying what they need for the next meal, cooking it, eating and starting over again. I'm grateful for the conveniences that we have so that I don't have to run into town before every meal.
So, you see ... whichever way you look at it, it really is all about the food!