Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our diet here in Uganda

This blog is to give you an idea of what our everyday diet is like here in Uganda.  For Ugandans, the diet does not change much.  They pretty much eat the same thing day in and day out.  When we are out in the village drilling, we tend to eat the same thing for breakfast everyday – porridge and mukake.  For lunch we have beans and posho.  I have included some pictures to give you a visual.  Porridge is very similar to runny grits with sugar.  It is made from posho flour.  Mukake (don't know how it is spelled) is sliced and dried sweet potatoes that have been somewhat rehydrated in a saucepan with warm water.  It is served as a large browninsh-gray clump that you all eat by pulling pieces off.  It has turned out to be the only thing I am not very fond of.  I have gladly eaten everything that has been served, but the rehydrated sweet potato lump just didn’t do it for me.  I even ate fried termites one evening after our Land Rover hit a large termite mount which bent our sway bar and temporarily rendered our vehicle undrivable.  The termite mount accident drew a large crowd both because of the excitement and because we exposed the delicious termites.  Some man walked up to me and said, “my friend, have you ever had these (termites)?”  I had not, so I grabbed a few and ate them… then grabbed a few more.  They sort of tasted like sunflower seeds to me.

This is our normal breakfast when drilling.  This is a pretty typical Ugandan breakfast for this area.  The brown stuff is mukake (spelling?).  It's rehydrated sweet potatoes turned into a mash.
Termites are not part of our everyday diet though.   On a typical day we eat what the Ugandans eat.  Lunch almost always consists of beans and posho.  Beans are just dried pinto beans that have been cooked usually with a little tomato and onion.  Posho is sort of a really thick grits-like substance that has little flavor (possibly no nutritional value), but is super-filling.  After eating it you can feel the cement-like posho filling your stomach for hours.  This is also the reason the Ugandans seem to love it.  One thing I have learned about the Ugandan diet is that many of the foods they eat on a regular basis have been chosen because they are filling.  People here like to feel full.  It would seem that a balanced diet is less important than a feeling of fullness.  People here have known and will probably know again at some point hunger, and they eat the foods they do because they are inexpensive, and are filling.  The traditional Ugandan dishes are very good and we like it when we get the opportunity to eat these foods. 
This is a photo of our table when we are out in the village drilling.  These are beans and the white stuff in the middle is posho.

You cannot find canned goods here, so everything must be purchased fresh.  That is not a bad thing because we are able to go to the market often and buy fresh potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, greens, fruit, beans, and peppers.  With the abundance of fresh produce we always have a number of options.  From these fresh vegetable we make soups or cook a bunch of stuff together in a skillet.  Ronnie has taken to experimenting in her cooking and every single meal she has cooked here has been wonderful.  On a typical day, when we are home, we eat porridge or bananas for breakfast.  For lunch we usually eat beans and posho with the Global Care staff.  For supper we change things up quite a bit.  Rice, beans, and potatoes are pretty much our staples.  We live close enough to Lake Kyoga to get fresh fish, so sometimes we eat Nile perch either baked or fried.  We are very blessed to have fresh fish available daily if we choose to buy it.  Ronnie has made homemade spaghetti sauce from tomatoes a few times and we have had noodles with it.  Fruit is readily available so some of our meals consist of cut up pineapple and mango.  I like to include avocado with just about everything I eat.  One great food we found here is called a "rolex".  It is a chapati (greasy tortilla) with eggs and tomatoes and onions rolled up inside it.  Rolled eggs is where they get the name rolex.  These things are great!

We have supermarkets in town that carry many western food stuffs such a cereal, ground meat, juices, cracker and cookies, yogurt, milk eggs, noodles, sometimes cheese, etc.  It is nice that these things are available, but because they are imported and not easy to get, they are generally very expensive, even by U.S. standards.  A box of Kelloggs corn flakes can cost 20,000 ush which is approximately $8.50.  So we tend to pass up many of the foods we were used to eating in Texas, and have adjusted our diet.  I rarely if ever miss anything food-wise.  We do not eat meat very often, and being a huge carnivore I was afraid I would experience beef withdrawals, but it has been painless not having meat all the time.  I think this must be just one more area where God has so graciously blessed us.  We have not lacked for anything or been in want.  The food here is great.  We even have great quality coffee!  Having an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables has certainly made us healthier.  I am trying to counteract the healthy fruits and vegetables by eating as many greasy chapatis as I can.
This boy caught a bush rat for us to eat.  Bush rat is not currrently on our menu.  I declined his offer and  let him keep his catch.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I was jus looking at life in Uganda and your blog came up on my search. It is defenetely yet but I looks I might moving there for a job in Kampala, love to be in touch if possible. My name is Maru Guierrez and you can reach me at my email: