Collectables, Cambridge and Culinary delights

Meet Carina. She is from Australia and in Grade 5. She and a group of friends love doing detailed drawings and colourings. Carina had the idea of creating collectable cards - not something you usually find in Ethiopia. They developed the project using the 'Moshi Monsters' brand and even contacted the company for permission to copy their characters. These cards have been sold for a Birr (just over 3p) each and Carina and her friends decided to donate the money they raised to help the local girls who come to 'Yetesfye Birhan' each week. Between them, Carina’s group put together 25 bags containing soap, tissues, toothpaste and a few sweets and gave them out at the last meeting. I am pretty sure that Carina and her friends benefited as much from their fund-raising project as the girls receiving the gifts.

Have you ever wondered what happens with different time zones and International Cambridge exams? After all, students in Australia will know the questions before their friends in Africa for example and potentially could communicate, giving some an unfair advantage. I'm not sure how Cambridge deal with this, but if some students here have exam clashes and need to do them at different times from their peers the answer is that a group of students has to be supervised overnight in school and kept away from computers and mobile communication devices. However by the sound of it their necessary ‘sleepover’ was also lot of fun.

There is limited off-site boarding at Bingham. The boarding parents are lovely (and the sort of couple that you would be perfectly happy to have look after your children if you had the need). Boarding is housed in a six-bedroom property which they tell me is great for ‘hide and seek in the dark’ and other similar games. There are two middle school Korean boarders whose parents are working down in the southern part of Ethiopia, a thirteen hour drive away. Another lad stays in boarding sometimes during the week to prevent him travelling the two hour drive, every day, to and from a place where his parents are running a school. We shared a meal with the ‘boarding family’ recently and managed to squeeze eight of us into our small apartment.

This led me to think about our daily diet generally and muse on how much more labour-intensive it is to prepare meals here compared to the UK. Our regular diet looks something like this:

Breakfast – Granola (We make granola from a recipe which includes oats, flour, dried fruits, honey, nuts and grains. The mixture is baked in the oven on a metal tray. It comes out a bit like Harvest Crunch).

Orange juice (squeezed from green oranges).

Coffee (we buy green beans, our house-worker roasts them and we grind them as the need arises).

Lunch- Sandwich or roll (Sometimes I buy dough from the 'sook', cut it into a dozen pieces, knead it, prove it and bake it). If we want a change from cheese or tinned tuna I hard boil some eggs to make egg mayonnaise (Ham is difficult to get and a very occasional treat).

I bake at the weekends and make cakes or biscuits, partly for lunch and partly because we usually entertain once a week, visit friends or attend events that require an edible contribution.

Fruit at lunchtime is usually apples or bananas which are a bit less messy than mango.

Dinner- Meat and vegetables need preparing and cutting up but if a sauce is required I begin with butter and flour (no packet mixes here). You can get tinned tomatoes but they don’t come ready chopped. Sometimes it’s easier to skin and chop up the fresh ones. But spices are readily available now.

Each evening I make up some milk from powder and put it in the fridge so it is chilled for breakfast the next morning (we’re used to it now).

I guess our diet is relatively healthy, but I know we are both looking forward to a bit of culinary variety and ingenuity in the UK next month.



Chris in spite of the obvious differences there would never be any doubt that your menus would be interesting and always  tempting to the taste buds!! X

As usual Chris you are so organised !!!!!!

I find that cooking things from scratch is very rewarding, especially when everyone tucks in and is enjoying it. I think your doing very well with the limited culinary resources, and as for roasting your own coffee beans, thats something ive never tried!

I can sell on some of those cards to my card collector contacts in the UK if you could bring some back with you when you come.  Then I could donate the money back to their charity.  If they are up for making some, then let me know because I have a couple of requirements in order to make them saleable.  This would make them rather more than 3p each I garantee.
It's as sure a thing as my being unable to spell garuante...

Hi Mum,
You are looking healthy in the picture, it is a great one and in now my desktop background :-)  I can't wait to cook with you when you come to Southampton!  The fundraising efforts are moving, I am trying to get the 11 to 14 year olds at church fundraising, I may well tell them about this.  Thank you!

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