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Becoming Kenyan

Kenyan women and American women approach meal times quite differently. To the point the cook at the retreat center has asked me why I don’t like the food. Don’t like the food!  But I eat everything, including the ongali.  For those who listened to our stories from DRC, you may remember our first tastes of fufu. Fufu is a paste made from cassava flour and boiled water. We tried, we couldn’t eat it. Ongali is the Kenyan version made with cornmeal.  As an American, I will say it is much more palatable. It is similar to polenta or grits.  The problem is that American women eat only a little, while Kenyan women heap their plates and enjoy every bite.

I’ve actually started approaching tea time like a Kenyan. Mangazi, or beigent if you prefer the French term, are fabulous little fried sweet dough. I confess, I ate six of them yesterday, and pouted when today’s tea was served with rolls instead of mangzi. Perhaps tomorrow the cooks will prepare them again.

 

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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