Thursday, June 21, 2012

Top Ten Food Adjustments in Ghana


10.)  When I make coffee in the morning, it is made with Taster’s Choice Crystals.  There are no flavored creamers here.  In fact, I have not found a place to buy fresh milk.  The creamer comes from a can of evaporated milk and has a golden-tan color.  After a week here, this is the taste that now begins my day.  And I am thankful.

9.)  Rice, rice, and more rice.  Every day we have enjoyed rice as part of our evening meal.  We have had jollof rice, rice balls, rice with meat sauce, rice with red red, rice with spinach sauce, rice with chicken, and the boys greatly enjoy rice with Adobo seasoning on top. The second main starch here is cassava – a root that is served numerous ways.   With two gluten allergies in the family, rice and cassava are a blessing.  We are thankful for these new starches in our diet.

8.)  While there are no berries here in country, but the fruit available for purchase is delicious.  Mangoes, watermelon, lemons (we call them limes), apples, bananas, pears (we call them avacados), and starfruit add delicious flavor to each meal.  We are thankful for the fruits we have.

7.)  We are served lots of fish, tilapia.  After we have seen how it is usually sold it seems challenging to eat it.  Women stand on the side of dirt roads and carry the fish on their heads in the hot sun.   Other women are “smoking” the tilapia in large basins over open fires.  Most Ghanaians eat the entire fish – eyeballs and all.  We are thankful to be served fish pieces without the heads attached.  Here, we always eat what we are served, and we are thankful.  One son isn’t crazy about the fish taste, but it’s growing on the rest of us.

6.)  This morning we are served sausage and onions over oatmeal.  What Ghanaians call sausage, we call hot dogs.  Things here are very different.  Not bad, just different.  We are thankful for the new flavors that surprise our tongues.  Would you have thought of this concoction?

5.)  The outside of the tea box reads, “Remember, boil only as much water as you need.”  The water out of the faucet here should not be consumed unless it is boiled.  Water for drinking or washing vegetables must be filtered, treated or boiled water.  Drinkable water here is mostly sold in plastic bags, although there are a few bottles available.  After purchase, it must be toted back to the house for drinking.  Oh Lord, thank you for our years of clean water from the tap.  Thank you that, even here, you have provided running water for us when so many around us must walk for miles to carry water back to their homes.   We have much to be thankful for.

4.)  Sweets are rare.  Very little candy, desserts, etc… are readily available.  There are not cupcake shops on the corners.  Fruits must fill the sweet tooth.  Even the chocolate bars sold by vendors on the side of the road are more bitter than sweet.  We know our bodies don’t need as much of these things as we consumed in America, so we are thankful for a new way of eating that will curb our desire for sugar.  (However, if some jolly ranchers, skittles, m and ms, or kit kats arrived in a care package – oh yeah, we would eat it with much joy!)

3.)  Nothing here is “pre-made” or convenient food.  EVERYTHING is created from scratch.  Food preparation is time consuming and difficult, especially for non-Ghanaians.  There are not lunch meats or sliced cheese for sandwiches.  Even the bread here must be sliced.  The rice is not minute rice.  It takes 20 minutes to cook.  There are not easy snacking foods for purchase except plantain chips, boiled peanuts, or grilled corn.  Gone are the days of Doritos chips and candy bars.  We are thankful to be forced to minimize our need for “snacking” throughout the day but learn to eat only when we are hungry. 

2.)  Shopping here is very different.  Food, computers, car parts, bicycles, dishes, furniture, etc... are purchased from roadside stands.  Everything comes with a FREE bonus - a layer of red dust that becomes yours for the wiping.  There is not a Super Walmart, Sams Club, or Kroger Plus.  The largest grocery store is about the size of a Dollar General store in the US.  And, as a person who looks very different in this culture, I must know the amount to pay before I check out.  Yesterday, I was told the total was 202 cedis for a 133 cedi purchase.  The man had to recalculate, and found the 133 cedi total to be correct.  I'm learning to be assertive as needed.  The day before Reid had to tell the cashier to give him change because her plan was to keep it.  We are learning but we are thankful God gave us minds to understand the money, exchange rate, dollar value, and to figure totals in our heads. 

1.)  This past week, Godwin had hired a precious woman to cook for us.  Doris has made our dinners and some lunches.  The food has been incredible because Doris is an incredible cook.  We have been truly blessed to acclimate slowly to our independence.  Today, as we try to move into our house, I will cook on my own for the first time.  Wow!  Please pray I can figure out what to put together from what is available.  We are thankful for everything here.

  Things that are new and different have revealed the great amount we can learn.  Over time, as this becomes home, we will learn to love the flavors of Ghana.  Tilapia, cassava, and rice will be served around our table.  As a guest, you will be served Ghanaian feed more than American because that’s what is available here. 
The Lord ‘gives us our daily bread.”  (Matthew 6:11)
   We thank Him.
   A missionary told me to record all of the new things in the beginning because, over time, these things will be normal for our family.  I'm trying to do that.  I've been forced to realize the ease of my life in America.  So many things that are so simple in the US require much time and effort here.  I can't believe I ever complained about standing in line at the grocery store when everything I needed was in the cart!  Oh, please forgive me Lord.  It was so simple.  Now shopping for our family will require many stops and many different places with many new challenges.  
  I'm learning.  And I still have so much to learn.  My main task for the next few days is learning to cook food our family will enjoy around the table with some Ghanaian flavor mixed in.  I thank God for His provision of new food for our family.

"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' 
Or’ What will we drink?’ 
Or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; 
for the heavenly Father knows you need these things.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added until you.
Matthew 6:31-33

1 comment:

Cynthia Taylor said...

I would love the address in Ghana.