Saturday, November 24, 2012


As usual, I want to share with you a new fruit. We tried these last year but I never posted about them. It’s the time of the year again where these “fruit” have made an appearance. You can buy a liter of them for about a quarter. Then, they are so plentiful, the guy we bought them from decided to give us an extra liter for free. You basically just bite into them, spit out the shell, then suck out the fruit. Inside the fruit are a few large seeds that you suck around and spit out. They are really sweet and juicy. I asked a Tanzanian what they are called but they are only referred to as “fruit”. Swahili is a language that is not nearly as descriptive as English. I am sure these fruit actually do have a name, it’s just not used by everyone.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! Jon and I aren’t doing much today, on actual Thanksgiving day, however, we are hosting 18 people at our house on Saturday. We decided to celebrate Saturday because most of us volunteers had to work today. Most friends will arrive Saturday morning and we are trying to make this as traditional as possible. We managed to find a turkey, a costly turkey that is. We got an 11 pound turkey for about $60. In addition to the turkey, in Tanzania we will be able to make mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, veggies, and homemade bread. For dessert, we, along with other friends will make from scratch pumpkin pie, apple pie, cake, chocolate pineapple pie, and a few others. We are giving it a Tanzanian twist by making a bucket full of guacamole.

I have explained to a few of my classes about Thanksgiving and about what we are making. In Tanzania, traditional holiday food consists of chicken, rice, spiced rice, and soda. They think it is really funny that we are eating a turkey (well, everyone but me) and that we are eating potatoes instead of rice.

This year I am thankful for me being able to actually be in Tanzania. Although daily is pretty much a challenge for me, it is a really good experience. Despite all of my health issues that 2012 has challenged me with, I am grateful to be able to spend this holiday with my American friends in Tanzania. I am also thankful for the best husband I could ask for. I know that’s all mushy and stuff, but I am just so thankful for Jon. I am always thankful for all my loving family and friends. I think they know that, though. Happy Turkey Day everyone!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Milk man

Exciting village news for the Mortelette-Tomasikiewicz household. We found a milk man! We used to get milk bi-weekly when we went into town, but as you can imagine, without a refrigerator, we can only get enough for one or two days. There’s a milk factory run by an Italian organization that we used to get our milk from. Now, we get it delivered by a local village man who owns two cows. We gave him a monthly schedule of when we want milk and he delivers it to us on his bicycle. A half litre costs us .33 . He brings it to us in an old soda bottle in a plastic bag. We go into the house and pour it into another container of ours and we return his bottle and plastic bag for him to reuse right there on the spot. Since the milk comes straight from the cow’s udder, we must boil it before we can use it. Jon is super excited about our new milkman, he loves milk. Personally, I don’t like the taste of milk but I am excited to cook and bake with fresh milk…literally milked that day…and to have milk in my coffee in the mornings!


Bringing our milk to a boil for 3 minutes


Sanitized and ready to use

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roasted Marshmallows

When I was in America, I brought back some marshmallows for Jon and I to put in our hot cocoa. We actually have not been drinking as much hot drinks as usual because the days have been pleasantly warm and standing in the sun has been enough to warm us up. My second idea for use of these marshmallows was to include them in a dish that my mother-in-law always makes for Thanksgiving. As it turns out, we can’t get sweet potatoes at this time of the year (bummer!). So, last night, I had this idea to roast the marshmallows over the fire we use to cook. I tested one first and it was so delicious! I had Jon wait inside and close his eyes. When it was ready, with the marshmallow a little expanded and darkened, I popped it into Jon’s mouth where he was really excited about roasting marshmallows. We enjoyed some marshmallows as an appetizer before dinner.



maybe bigger marshmallows would have been a better idea…we’ll take what we can get!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beetle Juice

This huge beetle recently has visited me every time I am doing laundry outside (at least the last 3 times!). It' scares me because it sounds as if a mini bird is about to attack my head and I always scream loudly and put my head down to protect it. Jon reassures me to stand still. After about a minute later, it’ll fly away. Do these beetles bite or sting? I have no clue, but I don’t want to find out. Finally, one landed and Jon took a picture of it. Shockingly, there is such thing is “beetle juice” because it left some behind after it landed. As it turns out, Beetlejuice is not just a popular movie from the 90s, but a nasty residue left behind from a beetle bigger than a hummingbird.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

A mid-November update

There's been quite a bit going on with me now that I have returned to my village. Some updates that have changed things up around here is that my little buddy Ben has moved to town with his family. I will not longer have the pleasure of entertaining him at the house. I am sure we'll miss him. It will be interesting to see whether his friends decide to come over and play despite him not being there anymore. Our last day at our house, he colored and blew some bubbles. My school schedule has decreased a little bit. I lost 6 periods a week to a Tanzania English teacher who will teach the students literature. I am fine with this because it's only a month more of school and because personally, I don't want to teach literature anyway. I am still teaching them grammar. This means I am only working Tuesday - Thursday now.

My first weekend back to my village, Jon and I participated in the graduation ceremony. It was more meaningful for Jon because he actually taught these students. I put together a little video to show you what a Tanzania graduation consists of. In addition to calling the names of the students and various speeches by guests of honor and the principal, the students put together entertainment acts. Graduation is a joyous event followed with free lunch for all participants.