Inspired by my own blog entry a while back, and a cloudy, rainy morning in Kigali, I woke up and decided to attempt to make a batch of gluten-free, vegan pancakes. I must say they came out delicious!! I have limited ingredients here, of course, so i needed to make a few substitutions here and there, but there is certainly not a lack of whole foods in this country. Believe it or not, finding non-wheat flours here is super easy. They do not grow wheat here so most of the flours are made from cassava, millet, rice or sorghum. I used a mix of cassava and millet flour, substituted the sugar for some agave (that one was brought from home) and substituted the soy or dairy milk for coconut milk. Sprinkled in some cinnamon and voila!
It is mornings like these that I realize the simplicity of things, especially cooking. Using fresh, local ingredients makes it so easy and healthy. It is so satisfying to wake up and be able to indulge in such a breakfast. But it is also makes me feel a bit guilty. It makes me wonder how so many people can be hungry here when there is such an abundance of healthy whole foods.
I had the opportunity to find out the answer to that question over the last two weeks as I helped Gardens For Health International (GHI) conduct surveys of households all over the city, to whom they provide assistance. I got to see a lot of Kigali, and meet some amazing people in the process. An experience that certainly was a reminder of how much we take for granted.
GHI partners with 10 different co-ops throughout Kigali, all of which provide land for households with at least one member suffering from HIV. The land is used to grow crops in order to provide food security and nourishment to support their treatment. Throughout the course of the week I was paired up with a young Rwandan temp named Alfred, to conduct surveys in these households to help get a better idea of what foods they eat, what foods they grow, and if the gardens supplied by GHI are aiding in their adherence to treatment.
I knew that life here in Kigali was simple and that its people didn’t have much, but I don’t think you can ever really be prepared to witness the reality of life in an underdeveloped African nation. Nor do I think I could ever do it justice in writing, but I feel the need to try. However, in an effort to keep these blog posts short(er), I will describe my experience in a series of entries over the next week. An experience that has made me appreciate what I have, and realize how life here can be so difficult and so simple at the same time. So stay tuned!