Saturday, June 25, 2011

How a Vegan does Africa

How many pinch me moments is it possible to have in a day?  Or even in a short two-hour drive down the M10?  Can it really be possible that I am in a small village outside Livingstone in a country in the middle of Africa? 

We pulled into Mwandi this afternoon and simultaneously I felt home and in a foreign place.   Sitting beside Rury in the Land Cruiser on the way in, I heard all the stories and tales of a life I knew nothing of.  But as we rolled into the village I felt as if I knew the people and the environment already.  However, as I really began to see the village, the people, I realized I was in a world so far removed from any experience I have known and I have so much to learn about this place.

I am overwhelmed.  I don’t know what is laid out ahead of me in the next 10 days.  I don’t even know how to describe what I am feeling right now.  I haven’t begun to process the day.  So rather than try to be deep and philosophical at the moment, I want to change gears and do something unorthodox on Vegan Faith…talk about food!

For a mission to Africa we have been exposed to some pretty reasonable living conditions.  I had no idea what to expect at all.  I was fully prepared for the worst of the worst!  But I have been pleasantly surprised every step of the journey by the organization of this trip. We have followed in the footsteps of many missionaries before us who have paved the way for safe and joyful travels to a land that is very foreign to Westerners, if for no other reason than to make accommodations tolerable to encourage many more missionaries to Mwandi. 

I hesitate to write about things like food and lodging because I don’t want to offend anyone or undermine the fundraising that we have done to get here. Even as I write these sentiments, I question the appropriateness of a post dedicated to food while I am serving many who go hungry every day.  This whole trip has me internally conflicted about my way of life versus the needs of those around me.  But as aforementioned, my brain is not functioning to process thoughts like these at the moment.  So I am going to quit trying to make sense of it all and just bring it to you…after all in my “real life” I write a food blog…it is my never-ending task in life to photograph everything I eat.  So whether it be appropriate or not…let me show you how a Vegan does Africa!
Each morning at Fawlty Towers I enjoyed a hot bowl of "Jungle Oats" served with mashed banana and cinnamon.  Of course I can't leave well enough alone and added my own banana and peanut butter on top!
Our first lunch in Livingstone was at a nearby cafe where Forbes and I shared a large Greek salad and toast served with avo and lemon juice.
Dinner was at the adjoining restaurant to the cafe.  They had an eclectiv menu including these "Fashion Sandwiches" which were just like sushi rolls, only made in a bite-sized sandwich.
After our tour of Victoria Falls we enjoyed a pool-side lunch at a nearby hotel within walking distance to the Falls.  The the Sun resort Forbes and I shared a create-your-own Nibbler Platter with potato wedges, veggie spring rolls and Falafel.  As well as another Greek salad.  This makes our fourth Greek salad since arriving in Africa!
Dinner on Thursday was enjoyed overlooking the Zambezi River and I enjoyed my first local brew while watching the sun set.  Mozi is just a light beer, very similar to a Bud Light.

Dinner was enjoyed with a fabulous view out over the river.  Grilled eggplant burgers.

Would you like some ketchup with your burger? 

If there is one thing I will bring home as a souvenier it will be this "Tomato Sauce".  It is quite divine.  I believe it is spiked with a cinnamon or nutmeg spice that makes it unbelievably tasty!  I am addicted!

My favorite meal in Livingstone would have to be our lunch on Friday before heading into Mwandi!  Across the street from Fawlty Towers (our hostel) is a little cafe called Kilimanjaro.  At this cafe I found my very first African Green Monster!  Forbes and I also enjoyed the Summer Salad and Veggier Burger. 

Finally on Friday we arrived in Mwandi, just a two-hour drive from Livingstone.  The Simba House is where we will stay for the next 9 or 10 days while we work in the village.  I would be lying if I said it isn't quite comfortable.  All of our meals will be provided here and I understand the food is amazing!  Our first dinner did not disappoint.
The dining room.
Plenty of veggies to go around.
It is amazing when you think you won't be able to eat vegetables and you are blessed with an abundance of makes me so very thankful!  The food has been amazing since I arrived in Africa and I realize how truly fortunate I am, that I may never go hungry.  It is very humbling to be here in Africa, to be treated so kindly by everyone I meet and to have comfortable living conditions while serving.  I owe so much to this village already and I am excited to get started!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm... I never would have thought it would be easy or possible to find a plethora of vegan (or potentially vegan) foodstuffs in Africa. I am glad you were able to do so!

    (Forgive me if I'm taking liberties with your brief explanation of the slight unease you mentioned concerning your way of live versus the life of an African..)I know what you mean, too, about the twinge of guilt at living as a vegan when others starve. Yet at the same time I don't believe reverting to consumption of animals would do any good in resolving that conflict. I just wish a system was in place that fed humans... vegetables. And grains. And fruit. And beans.