For anyone who knows me, you know I cannot/will not/do not like to cook and for my first month back at site alone this was a huge problem. In short, no dinners for me. I was only eating breakfast and lunch and only because my org offers both meals. So what happens when you go from eating to not eating besides the obvious, you loose weight?... You get hungry...very hungry....upset.. and not a real pleasure to have in class. Basically, can you stay home today because your attitude sucks. Yes, this was me for my first month back at site. On top of the stress of deciding what was next for Matt and I, I was spiraling into a angry existence primarily from lack of food. Can I say I miss Matt and his awesome cooking skills or rather motivation to eat and cook every night....? YES
In the States I would attempt to cook some meals in an effort to cut down on Matt's work but here it's a different story. My days are spent riding to and from the fields, working in the sun and getting home in the evening. It's tiring and by the time I get home I am plain exhausted. On top of that, I can't run to a grocery store to pick stuff up...well I guess I could run...literally but that means a 25 minute round-trip walk into town to the market. Cooking itself is a huge chore, fetching water for cooking and dishes, although it's not far away...I have it better than others, trying to light the sigiri with matches that were assembled who knows where....they seriously break no matter what. It was all just this huge task I was not willing to try, not at least every night....
So, what happened? I'm lucky to have some awesome Peace Corps friends who noticed I was struggling and encouraged me to start cooking with the help of some simple recipes even I can make. The difference....completely noticeable and I am on my way back to being me. Ya, I complain about how inconvenient cooking is especially compared to how it's done in the States, but ....I am not in the States. I am in a rural village in Uganda and this is how everyone else does it, and has done it, and will continue to do it for some time. I had to "get over it".
So what did I learn how to cook?
Some Awesome Food!
Yummy banana, peanut butter & honey pancakes...yes I just learned how to cook them, spicy peanut noodles, stir fry, homemade ravioli with ricotta cheese filling from scratch, mashed potato stuffed bell peppers with tomato sauce on the stove.....did I mention I made cheese?
The list seems to get longer everyday as I try out new recipes and push myself cook..and it has actually turned into something fun for me. Who knew coming to Uganda would turn me into somewhat of a cook...