Archive for the 'Reflections' Category
The Recipe of Love: Ingredients
A few cloves of Garlic
1 Chinese cabbage
2kg or so of stewing beef
8 packs of Royco Usavi Mix
About 30 loaves Bread (I’m not entirely sure about this figure though!)
A fraction of a 2litre bottle of cooking oil
Green peppers (I cut these!)
4 Oxtail stock cubes
About 500g of flour
LOADS of water
1.Begin the morning by collecting weekly donations and buying the remaining ingredients.
2.Get to the Lutheran Church, on Chatima road in Mbare.
3.Unload supplies and set up cooking equipment in one of the church’s halls.
4.Put a large pot of pasta to boil.
5.Fry up garlic, onions, tomatoes, and beef in cooking oil.
6.Slowly add the rest of the vegetables and seasoning, with water.
7.Have a good chat and few giggles over the large simmering pots.
8.Thicken with flour and add cooked pasta.
9.Boil for as long as possible.
10.Serve hot, with a smile and 2 slices of bread.
Serves more than you would think – I estimate that well over 70 children, their mothers and grandmothers had a bowl, with many having seconds and even taking some home in the lunch boxes they had brought along with them.
Yesterday, I helped make this soup, (well, more like cut a few vegetables!) and saw firsthand the impact that so few ingredients can have on a struggling community. Every Tuesday afternoon, the With Love Foundation runs a soup kitchen from the Lutheran Church in Mbare, serving up a hearty soup with slices of fresh bread to hundreds of women and children in the community. The soup does not necessarily follow this recipe, as members of the foundation use whatever ingredients are available on any given Tuesday, and this, they say, has often made for some interesting soup variations.
Speaking with one of the foundation’s founding members, Chenai Mudede, over the large bubbling pots of ‘love soup’, I soon realized that this weekly labour of love was not easy to sustain, with the foundation’s members funding the majority of the initiative from their own pockets. Though the ingredients list may not seem like much, these weekly amounts certainly do add up to quite significant costs, which are becoming more and more challenging to sustain.
As she spoke, I looked around and compiled a mental shopping list of the ingredients I had seen thrown into the large pots, and thought to myself, “Surely it wouldn’t take much in the way of donations, to gather all these things on a weekly basis.” There is nothing outlandish on this list of ingredients! I began to imagine how much more soup could be made if Harare residents donated the odd packet of Usavi Mix here, or a packet of carrots there. It is, after all, the little things that count!
I first heard about the With Love Foundation soup kitchen towards the end of 2012 when I read a news report on what was then a fairly new initiative, and made it a New Year’s Resolution to get involved. However, like so many resolutions, it got tucked away on my never-ending to-do list. It wasn’t until mid-March 2013, when I met a lovely girl from the organization, that I was given a gentle but firm reminder of what I had promised I would do.
Yesterday, through a recent partnership between With Love Foundation and Kuumba Foundation Trust, a Christian organization I volunteer with, focused on rebuilding and maintaining healthy family structures, I finally found myself at the Lutheran Church on Chatima Rd, in Mbare, Harare, cutting green peppers, and setting up benches for the Women’s Parenting Workshop the two organizations had collaborated to host in conjunction with the weekly soup kitchen. While the soup bubbled away, members of the Kuumba Foundation Trust spoke to the group of mothers that had gathered, addressing parenting issues, centered especially on effective communication.
That soup smelt amazing and I found it hard to concentrate on the women’s workshop I had come for, as the rich aroma wafted throughout the churchyard, drawing larger crowds by the minute. I wish I could tell you all how wonderful the soup tasted, but unfortunately I didn’t get to have any. By the time I finished recording video and taking photos of the Women’s Parenting Workshop that was also taking place outside, all the soup was gone! Well, if the speed with which those two giant pots were emptied is any indication of the soup’s great taste, then it’s safe to conclude that this week’s batch was a culinary masterpiece.
I wonder what next week’s soup will have in it!
Did you know!
Already Baker’s Inn donates loaves of bread each week, Pioneer Gas provides a free monthly gas refill, and several individuals donate in cash and kind. If you would like to donate ingredients for next Tuesday’s soup, pledge ongoing support or volunteer your time, please contact With Love Foundation via their email address; info [at] withlove [dot] co [dot] zw, their Facebook page; www.facebook.com/WithLoveFoundation, or using their Twitter Handle; @WithLoveZim.
There is nothing more beautiful than a sunset on the Zambezi River, and listening to the hippos while drinking a nice cold beer. And Mana Pools is possibly the best place to do this.
Recently I went on a four-day trip to Mana with a friend, and was amazed by the beauty and serenity. There is an abundance of animals along the river (especially at this time of the year with the bush so dry) from herds of elephant and waterbuck to lions and hyenas. As my friend said there is nowhere else in the world were you can set up a scottle and make breakfast while the sun rises with waterbuck and hippos less than 500 metres from where you are sitting. On one particular morning, we sat quite peacefully eating our breakfast as a lioness (only about 300 metres away) summed up her chances swimming across the river, dodging the crocodiles.
It is the best place to escape from the stress of everyday life as you feel totally submerged in the remoteness. Even in the main camp there is a general respect for everyone else’s privacy giving a very relaxed atmosphere to kick back and watch some game, or just chill under a tree with a good book.
I saw a group of police officers fill a kombi at the Copacabana rank and I found it rather curious that these cops made more numbers than civilian passengers; surely they would bankrupt the kombi owner.
I wondered why the tout would allow all of them into the vehicle, remembering of course that where I am from, police officers don’t pay for a kombi ride!
But turned out they were all paying customers.
Another eye opener about how things are done differently here perhaps, yet I chuckled recalling that for kombi drivers in Bulawayo, the whole idea of giving a cop a free ride right in the front seat is so that the driver is waved through by traffic cops checking for everything from vehicle fitness certificate to driver’s license.
The travelling cop becomes the driver’s Moses, parting the road for safe passage.
What then here where the cops are paying full fares, by the ways of logic, there is obviously no protection to speak of and I am trying to picture a scene where traffic cops stop a kombi full of fellow cops who are paying passengers. Perhaps the same would apply? Wave the kombi through, I mean?
Yet the whole idea of cops and free rides has been met with some daring by certain Bulawayo touts, and I recall a tout looking a young cop in the eye and asking him if he if he had money for the ride.
The dumbfounded cop stared blankly and hesitated before the kombi sped off without him!
In any case, if you think of it, the parallels extend to all sectors of the country’s troubled present: many politicians have been fingered in demanding protection fees from sectors as diverse as farming and mining where extortion has been the order of the day: pay up and I will make sure your farm is not expropriated!
And the small fry, the poorly paid cop, can only have a free ride ostensibly to protect the driver from having his vehicle impounded, at least only as long as the cop is in the kombi!
Yet seeing the cops in Harare pay their fares like everyone else did brings a sense that perhaps this relationship between kombi drivers and cops is based on reports of cops smashing kombi window screens so why reward them with free rides!
We have all heard the bad effects of drinking Coca Cola, how it will rot our teeth and poison us, but then again, so will most soft-drinks, and in fact, most processed food. However, it is not just the drink itself that is getting flack at the moment, but also the actual company. Recently the Coca-Cola company has had a lot of problems in a multitude of countries over their environmental and social implications on the respective countries it is based in. They are accused of doing terrible damage to the environment and having a dodgy work policy. I even have a friend who refuses to drink any Coca-Cola product, not because it is bad for her, but because she wants to boycott the company altogether.
However, it is difficult to point fingers so quickly, because although there are a lot of issues with Coca-Cola deals, such as the current law suits in India, their policies are not all bad. Coca-Cola does support some significant causes, such as “Fighting for an AIDS free generation”; a project in collaboration with other companies like Nike, Girl and Converse. Their aim is to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015. They also are one of the biggest sports sponsors, sponsoring major events such as the FIFA world cup. It was also the first commercial sponsor of the Olympics in 1928.
As with most big commercial companies, Coca-Cola does have problems with corruption and dodgy policies but overall one of its biggest problems seems to be its connection with the United States, in modern colonisation. The idea of “Coca-Colanisation” had been brought up in many parts of the world, accusing the United States of colonising countries with big corporate companies such as Coca-Cola.