Today is Friday which means that it is food distribution day for the families we support. During Covid lockdown and until very recently, this was being done by taking bags to each house and leaving them outside the door to be handed over at a distance. Now that social distancing is less of an issue here (although it is still mandatory to wear a mask) they can come back to the office to collect their food.
Today they were given maize flour and kales – their staple diet as they can make ugali from the flour.
When we arrived at the office they were literally crowding outside the door and the team were trying to get them into an orderly queue. Women with children went in first. Each received a large scoop of flour into a bag, and a handful of kales. A good quantity of the kale had been grown up at the farm plot which we visited earlier in the week. There was none left over and there were people still turning up asking for food.
6 bags were retained for people too ill to visit the office and we then went out as a team to take these along with the remaining two dresses for the ladies who had been unable to come to the office. It is always an interesting experience to walk through the slum because there are so many sights and sounds around you, as well as smells. It was lovely to see some familiar faces too. Ray has some amazing photos that will no doubt get to the website once we get back home.
We encountered our rather scary, very drunk lady again who insisted on following us asking for money. We then saw her throwing large stones at her equally drunk husband because he wouldn’t give her money, and he apparently told her to go and cook him some food. She said they had none but she had just received a bag from Doxa, which he produced and sent her packing to use it and prepare him something. Joyce assured me that this was not unusual and I had no need to be frightened of her as if she attempted to harm us, the rest of the locals would sort her out! Most other people simply want to say hi and possibly tap knuckles with you.
On return to the office Joyce and Sarah set off to the market to buy papaya for the soap making which was the project for the afternoon. She had received the recipe yesterday and today was joined by two other ladies, Fancy and Joanne, to measure and mix all the ingredients. They donned their white coats and gloves because of the sodium hydroxide. As they work through the process, Joyce videos it to send back to the Enactus team at Exeter University so that they can see how it is going and make comments that may help improve it. It did smell delicious, especially after sweet orange essence had been added to all the oils. With that and turmeric, the end result was a deep rusty orange colour. It will now be left in the mould for 4 weeks to set hard before being turned out and ready to cut into blocks that could be sold if the project moves into production.
The day ended with a pleasant stroll down the road in a lovely balmy temperature with the team to “Shemejis”; a local eatery of the highest standard!!!! It serves barbecued meat – chicken, goat, lamb – with chips, coleslaw, spinach and tomato salad eaten with your fingers directly off the tables – no plates supplied. The meat is roughly cut up for you and loaded onto boards and then you all dive in. The complimentary starter was a tin mug of what can only be described as a mixture of strained potato water and pure fat. Neither of us could stomach it, but the lads loved it and helped us out by drinking ours too. They tucked into the food with very hearty appetites as meat is a luxury to them. Having cleared the table, the eight of us plus Maverick all crowded into a tuc tuc for the short journey home, a true African massage, particularly for the two youngest squeezed into the back!