I'm currently writing my blog from my cottage in the Drakensberg, Champagne Valley, Kwa-Zulu Natal; South Africa
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Morning has broken over Omdurman
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Sunrise over Omdurman
For spectacular skies, click here
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Khartoum Long Life White Bread
For Grant's birthday last week, I baked him a loaf of white bread. (Instead of cake, of which he 'd eat one slice and I the rest!) I'd never made this recipe from a magazine affiliated to a large supermarket chain in South Africa. The bread turned out perfectly and was appreciated by the birthday man!
Long-life White Bread (PnP Fresh Living Magazine July 2009)
Makes 2. I only made one loaf therefore used half the ingredients.
1 kg White Bread Flour
10 g Instant Yeast
2 Vitamin C tablets - crushed (optional)
250 ml Milk
30 ml Canola Oil
Dissolve Vitamin C tablets in hot water and add milk (it may get a slightly curdled look).
Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, mix to form a ball and knead for about 8 -10 minutes on a well-floured surface to form soft pliable dough.
If necessary, add a little more water or flour, depending on consistency.
Grease mixing bowl with canola oil and place dough in bowl.
Cover with Clingfilm and allow to rise, until doubled in size. (On a warm day the dough can be left at room temperature but on a cold day make your own little ‘incubator’ by placing the bowl on a cloth-covered cooling rack over a deep roasting pan, half-filled with boiling water).
Knead dough again once risen.
Butter two 200 x 100 x 70cm-deep loaf tins.
Divide dough into two.
Roll out dough 2cm thick, and roll up like a Swiss roll.
Place into loaf tins, seam-side down. This helps the bread to rise more evenly and have a better ‘dome’ shape.
Allow loaves to rise again until they reach the top of the tin.
Preheat oven to 220°C and bake for 35 minutes.
Turn loaves out of loaf tins and return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes to crisp the bottom crust.
Place bread on a cooling rack covered with a clean cloth and allow to cool to room temperature.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Khartoum Cats - continued
On Saturday, (see here if you wish)I posted about the disappearance of one of the cats I've been feeding in the city.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Khartoum Household Help
In August last year, when I first met my Khartoum household help, Mirriam, I knew she and I would get on well. She couldn't speak any English and I could speak even less Arabic, but that didn't pose any problem. She works for me on Mondays and Thursdays and for Issam, the general manager on Wednesdays and Sundays.
After being on leave for more than two months, Issam had a substantial amount of washing. Last Wednesday as Mirriam arrived at his flat downstairs, the power failed. Grant phoned me from work and said he was coming home to start the generator. He also said that Mirriam would need to do Issam's washing in our tub as his is broken.
A while later, Mirriam came up the stairs to my flat, dragging the largest bag of washing I have ever seen. She set to work washing, spinning, hanging items on my clothes line; in between, popping downstairs to do the housework. At about 1pm she began to iron. She ploughed on valiantly but at 2pm she packed up and she said she would finish Issam's ironing the next day. I wondered how she would fit it with her work at my flat, but knew she would somehow.
When Mirriam arrived the next morning, she was not alone; she had another woman with two small children with her. She introduced her companion as her sister Safira. She said Safira had come along to help with Issam's ironing. I thought this was very innovative of Mirriam and welcomed them both.
The children were so well-haved while their mum did the ironing. Here in Khartoum it's the first time I've seen anyone iron on the floor, but it obviously works well!
Throughout the morning, while Safira ironed I took a few photos. I was so impressed at how well-behaved the three-year-old was. I gave her a few highlighters and sheets of paper to keep her amused. The baby, also a girl, was fed, put down on the floor next to her mum, where she fell asleep.
Mirriam and Safira pose with the children for a photograph
Once the ladies were dressed in their street clothes, I asked them to pose for me. Yesterday I printed the photos, Grant cut them and we gave them to Mirriam.
For other posts on That's my World, Tuesday - hosted by Klaus, and team members Sandy, Sylvia, Louise and Fishing Guy - click here
Monday, February 22, 2010
Khartoum Visit to the Dentist
The dentist, who spoke excellent English, met us at the top of the stairs and welcomed us to his surgery. I thought this was very professional; I'm not sure, though, whether Grant was encouraged by this gesture or even more nervous. (lol!)
We had to wait in the dentist's reception area while a family of little boys had their teeth examined. Eventually it was Grant's turn. When the dentist beckoned him to the surgery, he fair jumped up and ran inside. While he was in there, I popped outside to photograph the dentist's name plate on his door. As I returned to the reception, I saw Grant walk out of the surgery with a sheet of paper in his hands. It was a prescription for antibiotics. He had an abscess under the tooth (Ouch, no wonder the pain had been so bad) and would return to the dentist in a week's time.
Strangely enough, now that the toothache has subsided and he'd been to the surgery, Grant seems to have lost his fear of dentists. He said Dr Hamo was most professional and would commend him to anyone in Khartoum reading this post.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Up Close and Personal
For more on pets, click here
Saturday, February 20, 2010
May integrity and honesty protect me, Lord, for I put my trust in You. Psalm 25:21
honesty, reliability, veracity, uprightness
worthiness, decency, respectability
Earlier this week I popped over to my new and favourite spaza shop down the road. I first visited this shop when I was searching for a sewing kit. You can read about this here, if you wish. This particular evening he had a number of customers before me, one who kept scrimmaging in the freezer, lifting an item, querying the price and replacing it again.
Eventually it was my turn and I placed my order of one fresh fruit juice and a small tub of vanilla ice cream. The price was SDG2 which is less than one US$. I paid him with SDG5 and at that moment a women leant across me and asked him for an item. He gave me my change, and turned to serve her as I left. I stopped off at the spaza shop just opposite our apartment building to buy a pack of fresh pitas. As I opened my purse, I saw that I had an extra note. Call me crazy but I am always aware of the notes and amounts in my purse at any given time. Here in Khartoum I am extra concious of the denominations as I'm still trying to get used to the currency. Without buying anything at Mohamed's shop, I turned and walked back to the first shop. The owner was serving yet another picky customer. When she left, I said to him, "I paid you with SDG5 and you gave me SDG8 change." He clapped his hand to his forehead and when I placed the 5 pound note on the counter, he thanked me most profusely.
The shop owner might or might not have remembered overchanging me that day. Whichever way, he couldn't have done anything about it. But I would have remembered had I not gone back with the extra money. Acting on this is called integrity.
This brings me to a very sad point in today's post. About a person who lacks integrity. A week ago I posted about the Khartoum cats , which you can read about here. For the past ten days, my husband and I have been feeding three stray cats. One is here in our courtyard. The other two are in the city in two different locations. One of these had two kittens about three weeks ago; one kitten survived. The mother cat and kitten belong to the shop owner where we buy our bottled water. I bought tuna from his shop and was feeding the cat every second day while leaving a tin (and my can opener) for him to feed it on the days I did not get there. My husband popped in there on Thursday to buy our water and was taken to see the cat behind the fridge. He came home and reported that the kitten, whose eyes were open, looked like a little slug it was so well fed. The shop owner fed the mother cat while he was there.
On Friday we stopped there and I went into the shop clutching the customary bottle of milk. I found it strange that the owner didn't seem his effusive self when I greeted him. There was a youngster in the shop who greeted me in English. As I walked to the back of the shop to check on the cat, this lad followed me. Expecting to see the mother cat and her kitten in the nest behind the fridges I was surprised to see it was empty. I turned back to the youngster and the shopowner who'd joined us at the back, and asked where the cat was. The young boy told me that it had left. The owner assures me that he had searched for it but the cat was there last night and gone this morning. Trying to think straight after receiving this shock, I couldn't believe that a mother cat, who was safe, being fed and pampered, would pick her kitten up and walk out of the shop.
I walked back to the counter where the shop owner had returned to serve a customer and said I would leave one tin of tuna and my can opener. If he managed to find the cat, to please feed her and re-install her in her nest. Always before, whenever I spoke to this young man, he'd look at me with an open and friendly expression. Yesterday however, he could hardly face me while we were talking and when he did lift his eyes, I noticed a closed expression on his face.
I left the shop feeling utterly dejected. When I told my husband that the cat and kitten was missing, he immediately said that the shop owner had sold it. Until then I'd not considered this but now it made sense. I am going back today and if the cat is not in the shop, I will ask the shopowner for my paid-up-front tin of tuna and can opener. I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that the poor mother cat, who literally tasted a luxurious life for the past ten days and is perhaps starving again tonight.
The cat at the vegetable stalls continues to thrive. It had a sore eye, so we bought eye ointment, and after cleaning both eyes with cotton wool soaked in water, I managed to massage a little ointment into the eye. The Calico Cat waits downstairs in our courtyard in the morning as well as at night now. My husband says she is pregnant, and on closer inspection I realise he may be right.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Another Winter Sunrise over Khartoum
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Khartoum USA Magazines
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The shopowner (on my right)in the previous photo was sent by my husband to find me
Marcell was looking for a pair of jeans without slogans or embroidery, so while the men were in a shop which sold Western-style clothing, I snapped the above photo. There is such an eclectic mix of textures and colours in the material on display. Hanging on racks at eye-level on the left were ready-made Western-style garments for women. Hanging above me on the right, were traditional jalabiya/Arabic mens' robes
There are many photos of my husband and Marcell
walking along ahead of me
These men had beautiful displays of hijabs and while Marcell and Grant were busy looking for denim jeans without slogans or embroidery, I clicked away...
Just outside the primarily textile display hall, we came across the above scene. I just loved the huge bowls of dried fruit and vegetables.
Inside the next covered hall, my olfactory senses were assailed with the most divine fragrance of spices and herbs. Once again, we weren't sure what they were, so my husband, who normally cooks our spicy dishes, wasn't interested in looking. I took photos though...
These looked like legumes of some sort: I recognised whole brown and green lentils as well as the fruit of cream-of-tartar
Just around the corner from the dried fruit, vegtables and spices displays, we entered an alley with more beautiful cloth