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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Meals in the Field
My last post inspired a reader to ask what I eat while I’m in the field. Excellent question! While in Tanzania, I try to eat as much of the amazing fresh fruit as possible, if it’s available. Typically during this time of year (the dry season), there isn’t much of a fruit selection in the villages other than some bananas and tomatoes.
However, we've had some unseasonable rain showers this year, and the markets are simply overflowing with pineapples, papayas, avocados, oranges, bananas and watermelons. You can easily eat one of each daily—it's so hard to decide! Everything is fresh, ripe, sweet and tangy…a great treat after a hot, sweaty day of fieldwork!
For breakfast, I usually have eggs with a typical Tanzanian breakfast item: Chapati. Chapati are made out of corn flour and remind me a little of pita bread, but they are thinner, like tortillas. Lunch is usually a quick fruit snack with some peanut butter and crackers in the field or in the car on the way back to our guesthouse.
For dinner, you can usually get either wali kuku, which is rice and chicken, or ugali, which is a Tanzanian specialty. Ugali is a type of doughy paste that is eaten with your fingers and dipped in a tomato-based sauce. I often eat another Tanzanian specialty, chipsi mayai, an egg-and-french-fry omelet, because the chicken can sometimes be a little greasy.
All in all, as long as I have fresh fruit, I find that I don't really miss too much from home. Then again, I do get occasional cheese and chocolate cravings or days where I'd really love a juicy cheeseburger or an autumn warm apple pie.
Thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, that in fact IS an Obama-branded "giant vacuum flask." At this particular hotelini (Kiswahili for restaurant), it’s used as a thermos to store hot water for coffee or chai.
It most likely is some sort of copyright infringement, yet I suspect there really isn't anyone policing rural Tanzanian villages for this sort of thing. If, however, anyone is interested, Obama-mania took Tanzania by storm a few years ago and there are a ton of Obama-inspired (though not necessarily sanctioned) products such as this flask, belt buckles, t-shirts, kangas (colorful cloth wraps women wear as skirts), socks, car decals and even sneakers.
I actually do owe President Obama a note of gratitude, because being from Chicago has apparently earned me some "village respect" since I come from the place where Obama used to live!
Serengeti Field Diaries
Lincoln Park Zoo is leading the Serengeti Health Initiative, a collaborative effort to preserve the wildlife of this African ecosystem while benefiting local people. Our Serengeti field diaries feature updates as scientists conduct vaccination efforts, collaborate with Tanzanian partners and encounter the Serengeti’s famed wildlife.
Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
An endocrinologist in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Santymire studies stress and reproduction at the zoo and in the wild.
A graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Anna is studying how rabies vaccination campaigns of domestic dogs in villages around Serengeti National Park affect population dynamics.
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