The Refrigerator

About a year ago, we received a very generous donation from James Brundidge at the TV Channel Nova that allowed to a) upgrade our solar power to support a refrigerator, and b) buy a refrigerator! Granted, it took several months (6?) to actually get the fridge, get the power, and get everything working – but by the time I left Serengeti last year, we had a fridge!! And a freezer. We made ice cubes! Ice cubes!!!

[These are the things that are exciting in the field. Sorry.]

See, before the fridge (and, more importantly, the freezer), our food was kind of limited. With someone traveling to “town” (Arusha – 6-12 hours away depending on the number of breakdowns and punctures) only once every 8 weeks or so, meat and fresh veggies and other delicacies (crackers, milk, cheese…) were a little hard to come by. Meat is wicked expensive here, so we don’t eat it a lot anyway, but beans and ‘soya chunks’ (meat flavored soy mince) gets old. Really. Old. So every two months, when someone came back from town, our meat menus (say, twice a week) would go something like this:

First day from Arusha: Chicken! Also, all the leafy greens, as they go off in about 2 days. Cheese.

Rest of Week 1: Any other meat (pork chops) we might have gotten, all the remaining leafy greens.  Peppers, tomatoes, and carrots, as they start going quick if on the shelf.  More cheese.

Week 2: Minced beef. Cut off the green bits and cook for several hours in spices to hide the taste. Cut off the moldy bits on the peppers & tomatoes. Finish the cheese (not because it’s going bad, but because it is just that delicious).

Week 3: Bacon & Sausages. They seem to last longer than the fresh meat. They don’t even turn green! I’d rather not think about why. Salvage what’s possible from the peppers. Cabbage.

Weeks 4-8:  It’s back to only beans & ‘soya chunks’ (flavored fake meat), rice, and potatoes, and cabbage. At this point we start looking for reasons why we desperately need to go into Arusha…

So. Needless to say, the refrigerator was life-altering. The cheese still disappears by week 1.5 because a certain Swede [Daniel!] eats little else until it’s gone, but everything else has changed. No more green meat. No more warm beer. No more powdered milk. Now when I get home after a long day, I have cold beer. Among other things. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Epilogue: It is now week 4. Somehow, all of our vegetables, cheese and 99% of our meat have been consumed…by a week ago.  I’m sure we need to go to Arusha for something…


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About ali swanson

I'm an ecologist studying how large carnivores coexist. I spend way too much of my time trying to stop hyenas and elephants from munching my camera traps!

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