Something that has taken a while to get used to is the change in food that they have here. In the United States everyone is so worried about a ‘balanced diet’ with the proper amount of meat, fruits, veggies, carbs, and dairy at every meal. Being here my meals consist of starch, carbs, and some more starch. I have eaten my fair amount of yams, rice, and cassava dough. A couple of the volunteers are vegetarians here so we rarely get served meat, which may be for them or may be because meat is too expensive and hard to find. I haven’t figured that out yet. I had decided once I got here and saw some meat being cooked with flies swarming all around that I should maybe veer away from eating meat while I’m here. Being partially vegetarian hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be even though I have daily cravings for a ‘Totally Tuna’ sandwich from Jimmy Johns and a Chicken Finger platter from Zaxby’s.
For breakfast we either have rice water, oatmeal, or sometimes on a good day eggs with bits of tomato and onion. There are always jugs with hot water so that we can make tea or instant coffee. I’ve learned that tea, creamer, and sugar aren’t too bad all together and I’ve been drinking it every morning. There also is usually a loaf or two of bread and another lucky day is when we have enough peanut butter and jelly so that everyone is able to have some.
When lunch rolls around we are all usually ready to eat after a long, hot morning at school. It varies between rice or yams with this sauce which I think is made with tomato paste and palm oil. We also have rice and beans every now and then. Boiled eggs are served a lot of the days but unfortunately those have never been something my taste buds enjoy.
Dinner Time! It’s always a guessing game as to what we’re having that night as we walk from the home where all us volunteers are living to Vanolia’s which is where we eat our meals. Everyone hopes that it’s their favourite meal. Mine I’ve discovered is steamed rice with tomato sauce that has bits of scrambled egg and cabbage in it. We’ve had the traditional Banku and Fufu which I have no idea what they actually are made of but they weren’t my favourite. Fried yam slices that resemble fries, rice balls, and noodles are other things we have for dinner.
It is definitely different but I am getting used to all of the carbs. Luckily the heat and the amount of walking are balancing out my large intake of all only carbs.