Friday, April 25, 2008

Making Nshima

Nshima is the basic foodstuff here in Zambia. It is made from mealie meal, flour made from corn and is cooked with water to make a thickly textured substance which has a mild corn taste. It takes quite a bit of stirring and certainly works your arm muscles! The photo shows Philip and Rachel assisting Josephine, our house help, as she cooks it but I think she did most of the hard work... It is then eaten with 'relish', a word used to describe a whole host of accompanying dishes from chicken cooked with onion and tomato (the Melville's favourite) to kapenta - small fish fried whole with salt. To many Zambians you have not really eaten unless you have had Nshima! A pastor friend of ours says 'rice is rice but nshima is food!' You have probably heard of the increasing price of foodstuffs worldwide and mealie meal is no exception. It has risen around 20% in the last few months and this is going to cause real hardship to thousands in Lusaka and beyond.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Birthday season

Most of you know that Philip and Rachel go to school at LICS (Lusaka International Community School) and that made their birthdays recently far more international than usual! They turned 11 and 8 respectively and we just had a few of their friends round to celebrate. What was so great was that these six kids come from all over the world. There were two Americans (but one of them was born in Botswana), one Chinese, one Dutch, one Brit and one Zimbabwean. Here is a photo of Rachel on her birthday with her friends.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


We had another reminder today of how tough life is here. Our guard/gardener, Richard, came to say goodbye as he went home this evening and asked if he could take home a couple of things. There were an old paint pot and a large empty Hershey's syrup tin. To us they are just a couple of things that were kept in the shed as they might be useful sometime. They are just as likely to get thrown away. Why did Richard want them? Because they are useful to carry water in. He asked before taking them so that there was no misunderstanding - unfortunately with some other workers things have been taken that we needed that should not have been, such as our ladder. Like most people that live in the compounds his house has no indoor plumbing and water has to be collected from a communal tap and so what is worthless to us has good value to him. He has a young wife, a daughter of seven and a baby boy who is just over six months old. Two of them have been in hospital in recent weeks and here the family has to take food to a patient, it is not provided. Do pray for Richard and his family.