Saturday, May 15, 2010

10 things I have learned about food...

1 Even if you run out of oil, eggs, and sugar you can still make pancakes. All you need is a banana, some honey and a little creativity.
2 Eating healthy by default is a whole lot easier than being healthy by choice.
3 Stewed pumpkin and beans is delicious.
4 So is stewed dried fish and potatoes.
5 There are many many ways to eat a peanut. Boiled with rice, roasted and chopped with rice, made into peanut butter with rice…
6 Pounding rice is a good work out before eating rice.
7 When ‘bread’ is the ariest, driest most bland version of baguette you can imagine- you start to crave a whole wheat sandwhich more than an ice cream cone…well maybe that’s not true but man do I miss bread.
8 One end of a cucumber is different than the other. They cut off the thinner end and “scrape out the bitterness” with the cute piece. Try it out- perhaps American cucumbers are different- let me know!
9 When a cucumber is about 1 kg and has started to turn yellow on the outside it’s getting super super bitter on the inside and the seeds are now tough. I may have cucmber vine growing in my stomach as I type. Scary.
10 Cassava root- a huge staple in Niger, Madagascar and I’m pretty sure many other places in Africa- is one of my favorite staple foods here. Most think it tastes like nothing- but I’ll grow it in America since I won’t be able to find it at the grocers. The leaves are good too- pounded with peanuts and served with rice (see number 5). Mmmm cassava.
Well I’m off to IST (in service training) and I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months at site now. I would like to change the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” to “In retrospect, time has flown.” I find that to be more the case-though don’t get me wrong- I’m having plenty of fun. Three months in means I’m 1/8 done with just over 20 months left to go- for those that have asked. I’m sure that time will fly as well.
So what’s been up? What’s the news (as they say over here)?
Well, I’ve started my compost pile- a necessary project even if just a way to dispose of food trash and paper. I have also planned and dug out my garden- it’s going to be rockin! I’ll plant once we get back. Tantely (my neighbor/ counterpart) have also decided to test out these hot boxes and cookstoves that we were taught in training to see what works etc so w can teach other people in the village. The cokstove project will be especially helpful in this town 15km from me that I went to a couple weeks ago.
The town is Mahatsara (which means to make good) and it’s right outside of National Park Mantady- a 10000 hectare reserve of primary rainforest where SAF/FJKM is collaborating with other organizations for a reforestation project.My trip out there was pretty sweet though I got a stomach bug and had to walk back the 15 km still sick- not too fun but still beautiful.
We also had a Cinco de Mayo party- not on the 5th of May. It was sad because it’s the last time I get to see a new friend of mine. Her work here is done so she’s going home, but I will be at IST when she leaves. So we celebrated with tortillas and beans. It was great teaching Gasy friends also in attendance to make food from a different culture. Americans are lucky that they are exposed to such a wide variety of not only food, but music, culture and styles- even if it’s not quite authentic (Taco Bell?) it’s still more than most are exposed to. So go enjoy some Daal, or Pad Thai followed by Gilato or Flan!
Mazotoa and until next time peace!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Tomorrow. This is a shout out to my Mom.
Dear Mom,
Sorry I never became a ballerina. Now that I am in Madagascar, I have found my dancing skills to be seriously lacking in the booty shaking department. Perhaps if I had taken your advice and been a dancer instead of a soccer player I could have represented better when made to dance with my Malagasy friends. I don't know how it's possible but it's truly as though their butts are not attatched to the rest of their bodies when they're dancing. Quite the site to see.

This is a quick post because frankly it's impromptu and not much exciting or funny has happened and why fill this blog with dribble? I'm healthy (ish), happy, working hard and most excitingly about to see all my fellow PCV from training at IST in a week! I'm so excited!
I promise a better post to follow. Everyone wish your mother a happy day- and appreciate the fact that you're in the world right now thanks to her. Give her a hug- and if you see MY mom- give her a hug too- from me.