Saturday, July 28, 2012

Article for the Peace Corps Journal - July 2012

This is a story I wrote last month for a Peace Corps newspaper article.
I love cooking…have always loved to cook and shall probably never lose that passion! It does come, however, with some challenges. I remember cooking huge wonderful Sunday dinners for the immediate and extended family while my three children were growing. As they grew and “spread their wings” across our wonderful country, I faced the challenge of paring down my meals to accommodate only one or two people…a challenge I was able to meet successfully. And so, my enjoyment of this art continued. In 2010 I was invited to join the Peace Corps in the tiny country of Lesotho, where papa and moroho are the basic foods…day and night! I am still in Lesotho and still enjoying cooking! My biggest challenge here was first learning to cook my meals on an open flame or a two-burner gas stove. Both were easy challenges to meet. Ah, but my love of baking! How was I ever going to bake my cakes, scones, cookies and pies? The Peace Corps supplied all volunteers with a HUGE cooking pot which I quickly converted to a Dutch oven; I did this by lining the bottom of the pot with empty tuna fish cans…one layer of cans for a certain temperature and a second or even third level for items which tended to cook faster on the bottom, so as not to burn those bottoms. It worked and I was able to bake again! I am a volunteer at three different primary schools in the district of Leribe. In these schools, I have met the most wonderful, dedicated and fun-loving young people I could ever hope to meet. All of them remind me, daily of my three children and three grand children at home. To help them celebrate themselves, I have begun the tradition of baking cakes, cupcakes or biscuits (cookies) for them on each of their respective birthdays! For the past two and a half years, I have managed to bake something for each and every teacher and principal at all three schools and for my host families. What fun it’s been to watch their surprised faces as they’re called into the principal’s office for a meeting, only to find a cake filled with burning candles and a group of fellow staff members singing “Happy Birthday” to them! It thrills me to know that in all three schools, not only is “their day” something that is looked forward to with anticipation, but I have seen how, during these gatherings, the teachers have learned to communicate with one another on a more personal and warm level. One of the schools has already decided that this is a tradition that will not be dropped when my tour is finished in Lesotho! In fact, that very same school had a birthday cake for me for my seventieth birthday this year!!

1 comment:

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