Ginger Creations

We have a lot of fresh ginger growing in the garden behind our house and so, being the frugal and innovative missionaries that we are, decided to plan our weekly menu accordingly. For those of you who aren't aware, the part of ginger used for eating/cooking is actually the root of a waist-high leafy green plant.

First, Eric harvests the future food product (being careful not to disturb the nearby pumpkins)
Here's the root portion
The final product: Ginger Carrot Soup accompanied by Carmelized Onion/Sundried Tomato Focaccia. Both created by Eric the Master Chef. The next day we had Ginger Glazed Tilapia (it was supposed to be Mahi Mahi according to the recipe, but we make do) which was also yummy, but not photographed. Other ideas, folks?


Quiz: "The Price Is Right" at Toyworld

In Nairobi, there is a shopping complex called ABC place, which is a wazungu (white people) oasis. In one place, we can get fresh veggies, excellent meat (including a crocodile steak that I'm eager to try), yummy groceries, fresh groceries, deworming meds, go to a Barclay's ATM, and grab a lunch of awesome cappuccino and a bleu cheese burger. There was even a hair salon specializing in white people's hair, but it has since moved. Alas.

One of the lesser known features of ABC place is ToyWorld, which is on the second floor, but it has long been rumored that you can find all sorts of western kids' toys there, if you were willing to pay the price. A few weeks ago, we decided to venture upstairs to ToyWorld, to see what it was all about. Whoa. You can really find a lot of stuff there.

Listed below are five items we found at ToyWorld, listed in no particular order. We would like you all to guess the price (in USD) of each item. For extra credit, guess which two items are exactly the same price. There is no penalty for over-bidding, so no $1 guesses. Sorry, Bob Barker.

-1 Hotwheels Car
-8 Crayola Markers
-Cranium Game
-600 piece picture puzzle
-Kids bicycle

Answers (with some other pricing just for fun) to be revealed in future post.



"The only real, practical measure of my appreciation for the goodness and mercy of God to me is the extent to which I am, in turn, prepared to show goodness and mercy to others.

If I am unable to forgive and extend friendship to fallen men and women, then it is quite certain I know little or nothing in a practical sense of Christ's forgiveness and mercy to me."

-Phillip Keller


Spices of Zanzibar

As mentioned in a recent blog, we were in Zanzibar for a week. During that week, we took a spice tour, highlighting some of the interesting things grown on the island. Prior to the tour, I had no idea how many of these spices grew. See if you can identify some of them from our photos (note: some are fruits, not spices). Answers at the bottom.

1--Nutmeg and mace (mace is the red part that wraps around the inner nut of nutmeg)--the outer shell of both is discarded

5--Hot peppers (in swahili, pili pili ho ho. Apparently pili pili is spicy, and "ho ho" is the noise you make after eating one of these because it is soooo hot)
6--Coconut (haven't you always wondered how they get coconuts down? There is a rope circle that gets placed over both feet for extra traction. Huh)
7--Vanilla beans
8--The red stuff that makes tandoori chicken red (we can't remember its name), also used in cosmetics and, according to a guy from New Zealand on the tour, cheese (to make it more orange-y)


To Zanzibar by Motorcar

Probably one of the first times I ever heard about Zanzibar was during Gross Anatomy, my first year of medical school. There is a ton of stuff to memorize, and to help ourselves out we come up with elaborate mneumonics. One was the branches of the facial nerve (I think), remembered by the phrase "To Zanzibar by motorcar!" Now, I can't remember any of the branches, although the first one starts with a T, and then a Z apparently...

All this to say, I was surprised one day to discover that Zanzibar is actually an island off the coast of Tanzania--part of Tanzania, actually--and is only accessible by ferry or air. No car bridges. Huh. Now that we're in Kenya, the exotic locale of Zanzibar is actually quite close, and we spent a relaxing week of vacation there recently (as highlighted in our previous "teaser" blog).
Zanzibar is great because it's got its own history and culture—it was an important trading post for the past 500+ yrs with a lot of Arabic/Middle Eastern influence. We stayed in Stone Town for a few days at the beginning, an area of town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its historic old buildings, narrow winding streets, etc. We also went on a spice tour. There are many spices grown on plantations throughout the island, like cinnamon, cloves, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, etc, in addition to tea and coffee. Got to try coconut water and jackfruit while on the tour.
Breakfast on our hotel's rooftop terrace--you can see the Indian Ocean in the background!
Eric enjoying the coconut

After 2 nights in Stone Town, we traveled to the southeast coast of the island to a small town called Bwejuu with really beautiful beaches. I've never seen such fine, white sand before, and the water was so clear. We stayed for 3 nights at a little family owned “resort” called Robinson's Place, where our room was basically a treehouse. It was really cool! Only 2 walls, and a set of ladder-like stairs to get into our room. We could sit up in bed and look through the treetops directly to the Indian Ocean. Maggie did well, although we had to be really careful when she was walking around, obviously! She liked the sand somewhat, the water not much, and the hammocks and beach chairs a lot. :) There was not much to do except relax, walk along the beach, and eat. It was relaxing and enjoyable...and we also managed to find a geocache while we were there, our first in Africa.
Our room at Robinson's
Not so sure about this water....

Our last night in Zanzibar we drove back to town and enjoyed a boat ride along the coast in a traditional wooden “dhow” boat. Other highlights included fresh and CHEAP seafood—several nights for dinner we walked to the docks and bought freshly grilled skewers of shrimp, tuna, etc for $1-2 each. All in all, a great trip. Stay tuned for week #2 of our vacation, in which we traveled to Burundi...


Doors of Zanzibar

Ah, faithful readers, we have returned from a whirlwind 2 weeks! Sorry for the lack of blogging, but with Zanzibar and Burundi, unfortunately, do not come quick and easy internet access. We'll make it up to you in the upcoming weeks. As is the case with most vacations, one comes home somewhat rested but also tired from all the travelling and finds a whole lot of work waiting for them. Was the trip worth it? Of course! Are we tired? Definitely. We'll try to find time in our busy upcoming weeks to blog appropriately. So this is just a teaser blog of some fun photos Eric took of the doorways scattered throughout historic Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Stories and more pics to come!