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Scenes from Small-Town Uganda with @sarahgenelle

For a look at everyday life on a coffee farm in Western Uganda, follow @sarahgenelle.

Living and working on a coffee farm nestled in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda is just the latest stop in the nomadic life of Sarah Castagnola (@sarahgenelle).

Sarah’s parents taught at international schools, which meant relocating the family to a different country every few years. “When I moved to Oregon for university I was exited to put down roots,” she explains. “However, it was only a matter of time before I yearned to travel again.”

Sarah’s studies and work in micro-finance have taken her across the globe, and, in April of 2013, she accepted a Peace Corps assignment in the small Ugandan village of Kyarumba. Living and working in Uganda often means it’s easier to share a photo on Instagram than it is to find running water or electricity. “This is the paradox of living in a developing country,” Sarah says. “Cellphones are ubiquitous, however women and children spend hours each day fetching water.”

Sarah, who plans to continue traveling after the Peace Corps, hopes her photos educate and inspire: “Opportunities happen when you take risks and follow your passion.”

Congrats on being featured by Instagram, Sarah!

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Non-Dominican Cooking in the DR

cruzandoelmar:

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I’d like to say that I am usually a more inventive cook, pero me da pena cocinar in my family’s kitchen as I feel I’m in the way half of the time, so I try to keep my meals under 20 minutes.

Above you see peanut noodles. Cooked some pasta — AL DENTE (Fun Food Fact: Dominicans cook pasta for a good 30-45 minutes until its disgustingly mushy). Steamed veggies on top of pasta pot using a colander. Tossed everything together with some peanut butter,  teriyaki sauce, and some hot sauce. For something so simple this is delicious. 

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Easiest meal yet. I took some of the white rice my family makes daily and stir fried it with some soy sauce, broccoli, and egg. (Another Fun Food Fact: Most Dominican families will make the same lunch daily which they refer to as la badera — this consists of rice, beans, and some type of protein, usually chicken)

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Probably the healthiest meal I have made and everything came from the colmado for under 130 pesos which equals to about $3 USD. (Fun Food Fact: Most families I have spoken to shop solely in local colmados and not in the bigger supermarkets that exist in Jarabacoa. Colamados are probably best compared to bodegas. They carry all of the staples like rice, beans, salami, junk food, and lots of alcohol. Some will have veggies available.) I mixed a can of tuna, tomato, avocado, cucumber, and carrot with some lime juice, salt, and pepper. 

So there you have it! Maria inventando in the DR.

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graceoverseas:

GUYS. The secret everyone has been keeping from you for the last 24 years is that aged, salted eggs taste exactly like cheese! Okay, maybe not exactly, but certainly more than the plastic wrapped ‘American cheese’ slices they sell at 711. Go forth and gin kai kem, my friends

graceoverseas:

GUYS. The secret everyone has been keeping from you for the last 24 years is that aged, salted eggs taste exactly like cheese! Okay, maybe not exactly, but certainly more than the plastic wrapped ‘American cheese’ slices they sell at 711. Go forth and gin kai kem, my friends

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notrefined:

People ask me a lot about Ukrainian food. The answer, in a word, is: cabbage.
This is not normal cabbage, however. This is cabbage on another level. This is cabbage that can kill a man. It weighs an absolute ton and I could probably go bowling with it if I wanted, provided I found some carrots to serve as pins.
This guy is literally the size of my head and it was the smallest one I could find (there were others for sale that were almost twice its size). I mostly bought it to prove a point and now I’m going to spend like three weeks trying to be creative with cabbage dishes, sigh.

#also beets and potatoes!! those are also a huge thing!! #cabbage cabbage and more cabbage #this is what i shall be eating for the forseeable future #ukraine #cabbage

notrefined:

People ask me a lot about Ukrainian food. The answer, in a word, is: cabbage.

This is not normal cabbage, however. This is cabbage on another level. This is cabbage that can kill a man. It weighs an absolute ton and I could probably go bowling with it if I wanted, provided I found some carrots to serve as pins.

This guy is literally the size of my head and it was the smallest one I could find (there were others for sale that were almost twice its size). I mostly bought it to prove a point and now I’m going to spend like three weeks trying to be creative with cabbage dishes, sigh.

    

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anythingforamonth:

A week of food in Vanuatu, part two

i) pounded roasted breadfruit with cream of coconut

ii) oatmeal and bananas

iii) breakfast cracks for life

iv) boiled crabs

v) watermelon

vi) crabs with taro, sweet potato and coconut milk

vii) breadfruit, roasted

viii) laplap - grated taro baked in banana leaves and topped with island cabbage and tin fish

ix) the worst thing i’ve ever eaten in Vanuatu: a heaping plate of rice topped with a stew of chicken flavored noodles, onions, peppers, tin tuna and flying fox (bat) 

x) the cucumbers are huge here 

Vanuatu island food culture Peace Corps Volunteer reblogs coconut oatmeal bananas rice fruit

sheenabeenaghana:

Cashew nursery at the primary school cashew farm - Reality, most of these kids may become farmers or inherit the land of their fathers and mothers. Might as well start easy with some hands on lessons in tree nurseries and grafting. My hope is that the school cashew farm can be a leading example in the village for other farmers. We will see!  

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sarahreichle:

Your Ecuadorian Fruit Education
Lesson #1: Taxo

One of my New Year’s resolutions and goals of year numero dos in Peace Corps is to try more Ecuadorian fruit. It’s not as if I don’t eat a bastante amount of fruit here, I really do. I just usually stick to the basics like mango, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit and oranges. I’ve tried other fruits here of course but I don’t usually buy them on my own… but that’s all about to change! I have a brand-spanking new blender with a juicer too! It would be a complete waste not to use it and to not aprovechar my time down here with trying delicious tropical fruits. So, get ready for installment one in your Ecuadorian fruit education!

Up first is taxo. I’m not sure what taxo is called in English or if there even is an English translation. It’s a strange yellow fruit that’s about 3 inches long and shaped like some large gorilla finger or a fat stumpy cigar. When you cut it open, the insides look like a pomegranate or maracuyá with the orange, gelatinous fruit surrounding many small black seeds. Taxo is basically only used in juices but as the lady at the fruit stand tells me, you can also cut it open and chupar (suck) the fruit out. According to my awesome Peace Corps cookbook, it’s also used as a topping for ice cream but since I had no ice cream around the house, I settled for making juice.

I cut them open, scooped out the insides and put it my blender with a bit of water. After blending for a bit, you simply strain out the seeds and bam, you have jugo de taxo! I added some sugar to the juice primarily because I’ve integrated here and you can’t drink anything without copious amounts of sugar added and secondly because taxo does have a slightly sour taste that needs some sweetness added. Overall, not my favorite Ecua-fruit and it probably wouldn’t be my first juice choice but taxo definitely has an interesting flavor and unlike any fruits I would typically eat in the States.   

This fits today’s Peace Corps Week Theme “Invite the World to Your Table" so well, we had to reblog! 

 

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sarahreichle:

Things I’ve Learned in Ecuador: #4 How to Make Empanadas

A little less than a month ago, I moved out of my host family’s house and moved in with Dani just until I finally move into an apartment of my own ya mismo. I was lucky enough to arrive in her site, Galera, on the week of their fiestas de la parroquia. The reggeaton was on full blast and everyone was out celebrating and drunk. Lots of cerveza going around!

Dani’s host mom, Esperanza, runs a little restaurant out of the house and since Dani and I are the brilliant, young PCV minds that we are, and because two heads are better than one, we came up with the idea that we should make and sell empanadas during the fiesta. First of all, it would give Esperanza a little extra income (PCVs are not allowed to make any money in country) and basically we just really wanted to eat some empanadas. Dani had already made some with her host fam a couple months earlier but it was going to be my first time making empanadas and I was super excited (and hungry).

We pitched the idea to Esperanza and she was all for it, she even suggested that we sell bolones too. We also promised to be her ayudantes and sell the empanadas and bolones after we all made them since gringa salesladies can never hurt in this country. So we made up a list of ingredients and supplies we needed and the next day Dani and I headed off to Tonchigüe to buy everything. We ended up spending $26 in total for the verdes, flour, butter, cheese, napkins, pork and salad supplies that we needed.

That night the cooking began! We started by making bolones con queso. To make bolones, you first peel the verdes (green plantains) which is quite a challenge… unless you’re Esperanza and can peel a verde magically in .4 seconds. Dani and I struggled a bit more with the peeling process and by the time Esperanza had peeled 10, we had just finished with our first. After the verdes were peeled, you boil them with some achiote, which, going to be honest, I have no idea what it is. When the verdes are softened up a bit you mash them with a machacador (try saying that five times fast!). You can also mash them with your hands if you can handle the heat and boiling water that Esperanza added to it. You then mix a heaping tablespoon (or two) of butter into the mashed verdes so it’s more like a doughy texture. With this verde dough, you form the bolón then make a little indentation to add some queso to the middle. Once all the bolones are formed and stuffed with queso then you heat up your aciete and fry ‘em up! Top it off with some ensalada made from cabbage, carrot and onion drenched in lime and you’ve got a delicious little snack. We sold them for 25 cents each and within a few minutes they were all gone… a testament to Dani and I’s great sales skills.

Since the first day was so successful, the second day Esperanza, Dani and I upped our game and made bolones con chanco. This was más o menos the same process except after mashing the verdes and adding the butter, we simply mixed in the fried pork and served them up! According to Jeff, a fellow American (and very nice guy) who was living in Galera in September, they were delicious! Since Dani and I didn’t actually end up trying once since we sold them so fast (cha-ching!), I guess we all just have to take Jeff’s word for it.

By this time, Dani and I were starting to wonder when the hell we were going to start making the empanadas. Don’t get me wrong, bolones are good and all but they’re no match for empanadas. By the time we started making empanadas, word had gotten around what a successful little micro-empresa we had going on and Esperanza’s daughter Monica helped us to make empanadas and her son Kevin helped us sell them. To cook empanadas, first you mix the flour with eggs and butter to make the dough. The best part is when you have to smack the dough as hard as you can off the counter to get out all the air bubbles, which Monica is an expert at! Once the dough was made, we separated it into little balls, rolled it out, added some cheese then folded them over so they were ready to fry. Frying empanadas is also an art form. First you have to heat up the oil and make sure you have bastante in the pan then push the hot oil onto the side of the empanada that is face-up to make sure both sides are cooked well.

When the empanadas were done, Dani and I first ate some ourselves and then went out selling with Kevin and Jeff. Literally within five minutes we had sold about 20 empanadas. Not too shabby! People even came knocking on the door later that night asking to buy some. The next day Dani and I went for a walk on the beach with a teacher and some students from the colegio. When we arrived back at the house, we saw Esperanza, Monica and two more women cooking up more empanadas. Our little business idea had really taken off! The women had even made morocho, a corn-based drink with cinnamon, milk and a lot of sugar… it kind of reminds me of rice pudding except with corn. Once again, Dani, Kevin, Jeff and I went out selling and about 15 minutes later were all sold out.

By then the week-long fiestas were finally coming to an end so we took a break from our slaving over the stove and counted up the earnings. Overall, Esperanza made over $35 out of our little business, which we like to call Empanadas de Esperanza (or Empanadas of Hope). Not too shabby for a few hours of work here in Ecuador!

But sit tight, America! No worries, Empanadas de Esperanza is now considering how to sell and export to the States. Ya mismo, ya mismo

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