Perhaps one of the core aspects of the family is the cooking, eating, and sharing of food. It brings us together and connects us. Martin, Raleigh Tanzania’s Volunteer Coordinator, tells me that sharing food is instinctive to Tanzanians. Under Tanzania’s vast roof, you don’t have to ask for food. You help yourself and nobody objects, you share what you have without a second thought. There is no ‘ownership’ of food, no selfish greed. In a country where one in three people are undernourished, and nearly 68% of the population live below the poverty line, this seems venerable.
The ‘Raleigh Family’ shares in this sense of community. Everything we do here at Fieldbase is a joint effort. We all pull together for the same cause.
Last week we hosted our own ‘Come Dine With Me’ competition whereby the advanced fieldbase member for Expedition 15K split up into three groups. Each group (about three people) had to then host an evening of food and entertainment for the rest of the Fieldbase Team (permanent staff, ICS teams, and any extras!) All in all, the aim of the game was to rustle up a three-course feast for around 20-25 people, on a budget of 40,000 Tanzanian Shillings (about £12). With a bit of ‘entertainment’ thrown in for good measure, of course.
Hours were spent conjuring up ambitious concepts of the menus and culinary deligts we would produce. Harder than it sounds, it turns out. Out we ventured to the local markets in an attempt to source the right ingredients in horrifically broken Swahili… (We’re working on it).
Team one, (Chef Kim, and sous-chefs Charlotte and Harriet), proffered to the table a delectable feast with an under-running ‘stick theme’. As you do. Points for originality. Carrot and cucumber sticks for starters served with raita dip, followed by kebab stick skewers of chicken and veg, and home-made meringues (sort of – turns out there is no whisk in fieldbase) for pud. Setting the bar high.
Team two, (Chefs Ollie, Zoe and Milly), went with a Mexican theme kicking things off with homemade guacamole and tortillas. Next up was chilli and rice, followed by bannoffee pie (sort of) for dessert. Ollie even conducted an Argentinian dance class for the masses in-between courses. We are, of course, all now pros.
And finally, team three, (Chefs Natalia, Anne, and Sue) dished up an exotic ‘around the world’ menu. This consisted of ‘Brazilian’ tomato soup for starters, followed by a tasty Indian Curry for main, topped off with French crepes with bananas and a magical pot of Nutella (A local speciality, apparently?) Anne took us through an origami making class in which we made our own paper plains, which we then proceeded to ‘race’, shrieking and whooping like hyperactive five-year-old children. Simple pleasures.
It’s amazing how sharing food can bring such joy and how the joint effort of preparing and cooking it can be so bonding. And, quite frankly, hilarious. Results were tight, with team two scraping a win with a high-scoring 9.5.
The next blog will introduce the newest members of our expedition family, the rest of the Volunteer Managers! Exciting times.