We’ve been living in Kenya for over a year now. There were times when life here was so uncomfortable and frustrating that we couldn’t wait for our time in Kenya to be over. Things change. This place is in our hearts, and as the saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” It is not that the frustrations are not here anymore, it is more that we’ve grown to live with them, pick our battles and accept some things are the way they are. There does come a point at which we have to stand up and say we can’t accept all things as they are.
However long we spend here, we will always be seen as foreigners and that is okay, what is hard is the way people look up to us just because of the colour of our skin. It is very sweet when throngs of school kids come and shout “Mzungo, mzungo! How are you?” It is however symptomatic of a major problem that can be seen in so many walks of life here. They see us as better then them. Or the flip side, the value they place on themselves is less than on us and this leaves us with a deep seated uncomfortable feeling.
The bakery is a vehicle for social change, it could frankly have been a hospital or a car show room, but the regular, “you should open a bakery” made us really think that maybe we could try…
It’s not about the bakery, but what Jamii Bakery stands for. A company that values and empowers it’s staff, that provides opportunity and training for a future. A company that is honest and transparent and proves that honest business can pay. A company that doesn’t compromise on quality in an attempt to maximise profits. A company that provides a healthy alternative to existing food providers in attempt to buck the trend against the rise of food related illness and premature death across the world – Africa has the greatest rate of increase in people being diagnosed with diabetes than any other continent, largely due to the rapidly increasing availability of processed food and the movement of people to urban centres, without the infrastructure (such as the NHS) to deal with the burden of disease that is a certainty to follow. A company that makes it’s community rich, by using the profits to fund eye care to those who are most vulnerable and least able to fund their own treatment.
It started off as an idea, then it became a dream. Now we have land (pending), the designs for a purpose built building (amazingly being donated by a local Kenyan vision sharer), a business plan, a bakery consultant, an application for company and NGO status and the belief that this could one day soon become a reality…
Our lovely friends sent us these when we moved to Kenya, they have served as inspiration
Friends and family have been a part of this journey so far and we are so often lost for words by how amazing you have all been in supporting the projects and us.
Lucas’ amazing cousins George (8) and Jack (4) Harrison who visited us (with their parents Matt and Donna) in August are running the great south run next weekend with blindfolds on to raise money to help with the bakery-eye project. When they were visiting they came out to the field with us they were quite moved and were really excited that they could help. We are so proud of their efforts!
George and Jack in training
We were also really touched by Pete and Dan’s baking efforts in Malaysia to mark our half way point, we really miss you guys.
This week, friends we have only met once (through our old neighbours Rich and Sarah) were in Kenya for less than a week and amazingly made the effort of a six hour round trip from near Nairobi to see us for just over two hours. Liz and Wilf who support a children’s home in Thika had even brought us baking goodies from Waitrose (so thoughtful) and Lucas some toy animals which he loves. We were really lost for words at the effort and so wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all of you!
These muffins were inspired by Jedidah, one of the eye project team, (who has had many ideas for the bakery) and were baked for YOU.
Recipe – Strawberry crunch muffins
3 medium eggs
160g castor sugar
200g grated butternut squash
80g ground almonds or cashews
130g white plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g chopped strawberries
50g chopped cashews
50g plain flour
50g demerera sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare the muffin cases, 12. To make the topping mix all the topping ingredients and rub together until all combined and put to one side.
2. Make the sponge as in tractor in the mud cake. Leave the chopped strawberries aside.
3. Divide the mixture into each muffin case.
4. Divide the chopped strawberries out and place a few pieces in the middle of each muffin.
5. Sprinkle the topping on each muffin.
6. Place in the oven for 20mins ish. This may change on your oven, check the sponge is cooked if a knife comes out clean when pressed in and try not to burn the topping, you can always cover with tinfoil if browning too quickly like in our random temperature generator!