#10 We Prepare an American Dinner (But on July 5)

Alison and I had invited the 3 priests for dinner last night. Fr. Ngaruiya had requested an America meal—and what could be more American than hamburgers???? I had invited Catherine as well, to give her a chance to know the new guys and vv. I was pretty worried about seating 6 people around the small table in our tiny kitchen, so imagine my chagrin when Fr. N reported they had 2 seminarians as well!!!! ARGH! We’d be hanging from the ceiling or piled up on top of each other. Even it I moved out the stove and refrigerator there is no way 8 could sit at my table. However, Fr. N is very creative and evidently he was hungry for whatever we were offering, b/c he right away offered their kitchen and dining room.

We rushed home from school, having shopped the day before, and began chopping cabbage, carrots and an apple for cole slaw, as well as many fruits for fruit salad, and a nice platter of sliced tomatoes and onions. It felt like we were feeding an army. I had bought 2 kilos of mince meat (Kenyan for hamburger) and had another ½ kilo for backup. That’s 5 ½ lbs for 9 people, although I had forgotten about their cook, which made 10 (and there was a small bit left over, which I cooked for their little kitty, who hangs around the kitchen, hoping for a handout—really pretty little female). Of course we had potato chips—big surprise, I’d never seen them in the market before. I had planned to find a place to buy French fries (known locally as “chips”) but our kind of chips seemed more authentic. I had hesitated about the olives and pickles, figuring that none of them had eaten either one. In fact they had never heard of them, but I think every one of the Kenyans tried them and really liked them. At one point I even fetched the jars from the kitchen so they could see how they look (to facilitate finding them in the Naivas.) We even found nice sesame seed buns, not too thick, so what we served was pretty much what I would serve at home for an HB dinner—except for the lettuce. It’s hard to find it in the market and even when I have found it, it’s rusty and generally what would be tossed in a US supermarket.

After we had all the chopping and mixing, we piled everything into my trusty cloth bags and schlepped down to the rectory—maybe 200 yds, not far at all. We piled in and pretty much took over from Labin, their cook, who had stayed around. We appreciated his help in locating trays, bowls, serving utensils etc as well as showing me how to light their stove. I was dismayed to learn that 2 of the 4 burners are dead and the oven didn’t work (so I couldn’t top-brown the buns).

Catherine had come early so the 3 ladies, quickly good things together and on the table. I think I cooked 16 patties, all having cheese except for Alison’s. We didn’t eat quite all of them, but one of the priests and one seminarian ate 2. I was stuffed with 1.

Fr. Joseph is a fun-loving guy who loves to laugh and tease. He was there noting every step in the preparation process. Later Fr. N quizzed him to be sure he knew how to prepare them exactly as we had done. All in all it seemed like a great success. They all loved them, pickles, olives, ketchup and all. But then, what’s not to love about a hamburger? They were disappointed about one thing though. They (reasonably) thought hamburgers would be made from—-ham. Very logical, but I hadn’t thought to tell them it was beef. Then I began to wonder where the name came from. Did they originate in Hamburg, Germany? If anyone knows anything, do write to tell me. I’d Google it myself, but the internet is SLOW, except late at night.

I was disappointed about one thing as well. It was only after we got back to the house that I realized, ^%&^(*&)*)%$ I forgot to take a picture of the jovial scene for this blog post. What a doofus! I will get some later, and who knows, maybe I’ll het roped into doing this again (oh, no! not by myself—I’d have to insist they help.) It has been threatened!

2016 - #10 Fr. Ngaruiya 2016

I took this one today of Fr. N taking a quick cup of tea this afternoon before heading off to perform a wedding.

As we sat down to eat last night, I realized they didn’t know the order of operations, so I gave lessons in HB building…patty on the bun, topped with onion and tomato slices, plenty of ketchup on the inside of the top bun, than press, and replace anything that had slid out.

Alison and I have been logging pretty long days, especially for ladies of a certain age. Well, here age isn’t nearly as “certain” as mine, but she is retired! By the time we had cleaned up the kitchen there, schlepped the stuff back here and cleaned up this kitchen (actually, Alison did that) I was pooped!

Today, as yesterday, we each worked with a lot of girls, “revising” their exams, seeing what they had not understood, what is the logical first step, what does this word mean, what is the question being asked, interpreting the sometimes obfuscating wording and giving lots of advice and encouragement. If we have any slack time, we are working out our own solutions to questions given on the midterm exam, so we can smoothly address the above issues.

Wednesday is Naivasha Rotary meeting night, so at 6 we rushed off to get a few necessities and then off to the meeting. I had stuck my nose into one before, but this is the first full meeting I have attended this year. This is a very small club—13 members attended—but they are a bunch of activists. They have several projects going and are eager to complete one so they can embark on another. The meetings are fun, as they tease each other a lot, so it’s a contract of funny and serious. Here are 2 shots of the meeting.

2016 - #10 Rotary 2

2016 - #10 Rotary 1

They always begin the meeting with an opportunity for anyone to make an announcement. When it was my turn I said mine was really a request. “I’ve attended Naivasha Rotary meetings for the past 3 summers, bringing the customary club flag from Menlo Park to present to this group, but I’ve yet to receive a Naivasha flag to take back to Menlo Park.

2016 - #10 Margo receiving flag

At the end of the meeting, I was finally presented a lovely flag with a picture of a hippo peeking out of the lake. So nice and I’m sure it will be welcomed by the MP chapter when I get home

We didn’t get back until 8 pm, by which time we were majorly hungry and even the leftovers we scrounged from the refrigerator tasted good.

What we’d needed to buy at the market, besides paper napkins (here known as serviettes) and TP, was a new hot water cooker. Earlier when I filled it and set in on its burner, nothing happened. It has been on its way out for several weeks, so I wasn’t surprised. We found a very nice stainless steel model and eagerly plugged it in to make our evening tea. It was only then that I realized that the electric plug we used had been turned off!!!!! *&)&^(()_))*&*$!!!!! I plugged the old one into a turned on plug and guess what? Yep! Works fine. I guess we could try returning it to the Naivas, but return policies here are not like in the US. I doubt that a dumb mistake like I made would qualify as an appropriate return excuse. So I decided to give it to Julia, who occasionally comes in to “borrow” a pot of hot water. (Are you going to return this hot water you’ve borrowed???) Almost anything can elicit a giggle if not an outright side-splitting laugh from Julia. It’s fun to play to such an appreciative audience.

Tomorrow we are off early in the morning for the annual Maasai market shopping trek. Ben (former accountant for the parish) will drive us.


1 thought on “#10 We Prepare an American Dinner (But on July 5)”

  1. All of you are very busy! it is wonderful to read your adventures. Certain age does not seem to slow anyone down! Blessings


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