Andrew could be kindly described as directionally impaired (that would probably be the politically correct term for it), to be frank, he has no sense of direction. Thankfully we are living in an era of technology and the invention of satellite navigation made it possible for us to see each when we lived in different cities for four years before we were married. He was well known for day dreaming and getting lost on routes he’d done a hundred times before and with out someone directing him at every turn he could quite easily end up miles away, ironic given the project has required the team to find 5,000 people spread over 100 locations, many of which are not even on the map. He has however always been someone who places more importance on the “journey than the destination”, which is all well and good except for when I asked him how far this village was and he gave me a typical Kenyan response of, “it’s not so far”. To have reached 97 locations before today can only be described as a miracle. In fact, it has been down to an incredibly hard working team who have travelled to each and every location twice or three times before hand both preparing the clinic sites, meeting the village chiefs or elders, determining if the roads would be possible, whether we could get access to stable electricity and going to each and every home of the study patients to meet them in person, explain what we are doing and examine them with Peek.
Andrew’s “It’s not far” turned out to be four hours away, three hours of which were spent off road on what can only be described as roads with a very generous amount of artistic license. Not an ideal trip for delicate structure of the Croquembouche that is hard enough to keep in one piece when stationary. This French masterpiece, often used for weddings had 100 (representing the 100 villages) choux pastry balls delicately pieced together with chocolate (it was meant to be caramel but we ran out of sugar on my second failed attempt to make a suitably sticky caramel)
After packing up the Croq into the laundry basket and sticking material all the way round to keep dust out, I was pretty amazed it was 80% intact on arrival…
There are many things about our lives in Kenya which have become normal, but when we write or reflect on them we realise they are probably not. This week for example, not to mention transporting the delicate choux pastry tower baked late in to the night in to the middle of nowhere in laundry basket. Other slightly abnormal happenings included: buying our usual stock of UHT Milk when the bill came to almost £700?! They had managed to key in 888 Litres of milk rather than eight and it took several people to come and correct the error. It was even suggested that we pay it and be reimbursed, not an option we went for. We’ve had no electricity for the last 24 hours but are grateful that we still have water (for now), Lucas has spent a few hours Tuk Tuk spotting and we are working out the purchase of a load of bakery equipment this Friday if all goes well…
Recipe – Chocembouche
The Choux pastry balls were made as in this recipe
We fashioned a cone out of cardboard and Sellotape which we then covered in a layer of foil and baking paper.
For the chocolate sauce melt dark chocolate in a metal bowl over boiling hot water and when a fluid consistency apply to edges of the choux pastry balls to stick to one another. Finish by flicking chocolate all over it and be prepared to make a mess!
A Peek inside the eye clinic