Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Food Deprivation and Malted Milk Balls...


     I’m learning there are different kinds of food deprivations. There’s the kind I see here in my village amongst the villagers: not enough food to eat. Children, I believe, are always hungry unless they just finished a hearty meal of nshima, which is mainly to fill the tummy; not to please the pallet, and maybe accompanied by a relish such as pumpkin leaves or bush meat such as rats that had been killed in the fields while tilling or song birds slayed by slingshot. It’s hunger season now and yes, those are some of the few things available.

     There is another kind of food deprivation I’m personally experiencing: limited access to American food. Here in the village there is very little to choose from. There aren’t any restaurants or pizza delivery. Chocolate is not found at the tuck shops. The only way I can satisfy my American cravings is to buy food I like at the Shoprite in Solwezi; a forty-five minute cab ride away. I make this trip about once a month.

     Shoprite is a supermarket, but a little different from what we’re used to in the States. You won’t find Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or Tootsie Rolls, and the cheese is very expensive. I don’t buy ice-cream for two reasons: I don’t have a freezer and it would melt by the time I get back to the village anyway, and the ice-cream they sell in the store does not meet American standards as far as taste is concerned.

     I’m becoming creative with my cooking since living in a Zambian village. I have a broad array of spices I use to literally spice things up such as sautéed cabbage with tomatoes and onions and maybe some soya pieces added in. My sometimes intense chocolate cravings are quelled by powdered milk and cocoa mixed with sugar and water. The only meat I eat is with my host family when they serve village chicken (tough and stringy), or sausage along with nshima.

     The number one craving I’ve been experiencing starting three months into my service is malted milk balls; can’t find them here. I dream about eating a carton full of them. I asked my brother to send me some a while back, but when I received the package it contained two cartons of milk duds.

     “Malted milk balls,” is what I told my fellow PCV who is returning from a trip from the States who asked me if he can bring me back anything. Right now the carton is waiting for me in my mail box at the provincial house in Solwezi. In six days I will indulge in the little marble-sized delectable chocolate balls.

     Will this treat satisfy my on-going craving? Will I begin another new craving of a food I can’t get here in this country?

     Stress is what brings on these cravings for American food. The cravings can be very intense sometimes which adds…more stress.

     I am glad I have these cravings instead of just wishing I had something to fill my stomach like the village kids. They may never know the cravings I experience and I may never know their need to just fill their growling tummies.



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