We have been waiting for this day for a long time, I get up at 6am for my run and am embraced by the dark and refreshing cold morning air, it is a beautiful sunrise that is over very quickly.
We eat breakfast at 7 and Andrew sets off, the van has arrived and the guys are doing a great job loading it up. Lucas and I watch from 3 floors up as box by box disappears in to the van, Lucas’ attention is interrupted ‘tuk tuk’ he almost jumps out of his skin with a massive grin emblazoned on his face – pretty impressive as we see at least 5 a day!
With the ups and downs we’ve had it seems like we have been waiting for this day for ages and it felt like it may never really happen, then whilst playing with his tractor Lucas finally did his first wee in the potty!! Thank God for tiled floors!
We are driving through Nakuru to a place called Keptembwa, we take a left turn off the main road, the car tilts forward and bumps along the dirt road, I am following Stew on his ‘picki picki’ motorbike as he uses his phone to track the GPS position Andrew sent him earlier. Everyone is staring, (we must be quite a sight, 6’11” white man on a motorbike followed by an anxious looking white woman in a green Peugeot in the middle of a busy urban area) we stop and hesitate unsure which way to turn, an arm comes in through the open window asking for money and wanting to know where are we going? It is clear we are visitors to this place! The windows go up so as not to draw any unnecessary attention and Lucas and I start sweating in my self made greenhouse. We drive on over and through potholes and dips, faces watching us, the school children chant ‘muzungo, muzungo’. The road becomes narrower until eventually we have to turn around, we are being stared at by everyone and all I want to do is get to the primary school where the team have set up. Eventually we arrive, Lucas is dripping with sweat, there are children everywhere, it’s playtime, my maternal instincts kick in, if I don’t hold onto my toddler he is going to be mobbed with hundreds of excited children all desperate to play with him! I keep him very close. Inside a dusty school building the team are doing well, we dish out lunch and when a natural break arrives they all tuck in. It seems the official first bake is a success! After a Lucas led tour of the dusty school grounds and a few team hellos we attempt our journey back.
I am crying, I don’t understand why? I should be so excited we have actually started the 100 clusters/villages and at last the count down can begin! As I drive I realise it’s because my protective instincts have been on over drive. Partly tiredness and partly questioning how do I be a good mother in this situation? I want Lucas to be able to greet and play with all the children, but the playground is so dusty and dirty, the kids noses are running and I’m sure they are mostly unwashed latrine hands. Trying to be a good mummy out of my comfort zone is certainly my biggest challenge.
After a good run around and play in the dusty, unfortunately broken playground at the apartments we head up for a shower which feels so good! ‘Da deee ‘arrives home 2 hours later, he is pleased, there are a few areas to work on and these will be addressed, but for now one down and 99 to go! That feels good!
All the equipment (there is a lot) ran from this one “safe” looking plug. Amazingly lasted most of the day before the inevitable power cut, thankfully the generator held it’s own.
Recipe – Caramelised Red Onion Baguettes
(one day before)
Ingredients – bread starter
2g dry yeast (1/2 tsp dry yeast is 1.6g)
150g wholemeal flour
200g strong white flour
(Poolish ferment French term) 12 hour fermenting time in the fridge
Can be left at room temperature but fridge means longer fermenting time developing better taste and texture.
- Stir yeast into warm water, then add in all flour and bring together.
- Cover with cling film and place in fridge overnight.
5 x red onions
1 table spoon brown sugar
50ml balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp of sage (2 leaves finely chopped if fresh)
Fry onions in the butter in a pan, sauté for 10 minutes on a low heat then add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and sage and leave to simmer on a low heat for an hour. add more balsamic vinegar or water if drying out.
Baguette (to make 15 baguettes)
All of the poolish starter
650g wholemeal flour
650g strong white flour
7g dry yeast
Ugali or semolina for dusting or corn maize flour
- Add the flour, water and yeast to the starter and mix with hands or dough scraper until a dough forms then tip onto a surface.
- Knead the dough for 10minutes then add in the salt.
- Lightly flour the dough and bring into a round (ball),then place back into your lightly floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave for 1 ½ hours in the kitchen.
- Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 15 pieces approx 200g each and leave to rest for 15 minutes on the work surface.
- Whilst resting prepare your trays. Use as many trays as you have available shelves in your oven. Take a piece of tinfoil and roughly make into a long cylinder, then wrap a piece of baking parchment around it, it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect, these are just dividers to shape your baguettes, lay about 3 vertically on your tray to make 4 compartments to shape your baguettes.
- Fold in the onion mix in to each baguette dough.
- Shape each baguette one at a time, squash the dough into a rectangle, fold both long sides towards the middle, then bring the outer side towards the middle again and pinch along the join, repeat this until the baguette has lengthened, pull a small piece of dough outwards at each end into a very small tip and twirl to shape.
- Sprinkle corn maize flour (ugali) or semolina onto silicone baking sheets or non-stick tray, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
- After approximately 1 ¼ hours pre-heat your oven to 250°C, once heated spray water or tip a small cup f water on the bottom of the oven to create an oven of mist to develop a lovely crust.
- Bake for 12-15minutes, once done leave to cool on wire racks or I use teacloths as I don’t have enough wire racks out of the oven.