A TASTE OF KENYA

  Kenyan lunch at Red Cross Akershus District office

Kenyan lunch at Red Cross Akershus District office

“We are, at almost every point of our day, immersed in cultural diversity: faces, clothes, smells, attitudes, values, traditions, behaviors, beliefs, rituals.” Randa Abdel-Fattah.

There are things you are sure you know. Things you can be asked about when woken up in the middle of the night and you won’t break a sweat to answer. Something like your name, right? One of the things I used to know or at least I thought I knew for sure was that lunch meals are taken somewhere between 1300-1400. But there are exceptions. You can imagine the look on our faces when on our second day at the office at around 11.30am a colleague asked us if we could join them for lunch. I thought I didn’t hear her correctly so I asked if she meant lunch or breakfast. “Lunch”, she said. Talking about lunch here in Norway is a story we will write about another day.

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” Mark Kurlansky, 'Choice Cuts' (2002). I totally agree with these sentiments. I mean, who wouldn’t. We held a country presentation on Wednesday at the district office. Part of this involved making a Kenyan dish in which we made ugali, fried mutton, kachumbari (salsa) and Kenyan tea. For those who are wondering, ugali is like a cake only that we don’t bake it. We make it by boiling water first and later adding white maize/corn flour to the water little by little while stirring until it solidifies into a thick cake. No spices, no salt, nothing else and it is ready to be served. Just like that. Very easy, I bet you want to try. “It looks like a brain¨, someone commented as we served. “So, do you eat this as a side dish?” asked another “No, no, no, served with vegetables or meat, we have this as the main meal. It is a staple food” I explained

 

Later after lunch we made a presentation about Kenya by giving the general information about our country, our culture and our people. It was interesting because most of our colleagues either know people who have been to Kenya or have been to Kenya before themselves. The fact that we are home to the big five and small five animals makes Kenya a great tourist destination. The tales of having the best SAFARI experiences in Kenya are known far and wide. We made a presentation about activities of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) which is the leading humanitarian organization in Kenya giving assistance to the most vulnerable in the society. Majority of its volunteers are youth. In cases of emergencies KRCS is usually the first in and the last out.