Narok, where we will be living.
We've heard a little about Narok- it's mostly Masai who live there, with a light smattering of ex-pats. It's also the last stop before you reach the Masai Mara, which is Kenya's most popular wildlife reserve (slightly north of the Serengeti!) So, there are tourists regularly coming through to fill up on gas and maybe grab water for the road. We've heard rumors of a Nakumatt being built there. Nakumatt is the Kenyan equivalent of Walmart. While I'd never willingly shop at a Walmart here in the States, I'm sure I'll be hitting the aisles of Nakumatt to shop for appliances (we'll want a blender and toaster) and perhaps an oven and fridge.
Our house (forgive the poor quality photo- it's a screenshot from a Skype conversation) has a small cooking area, but from the looks of it, it has a lot of counter space, which is more than we can say for our current house. There is running water, sort of- that tank in the front fills with rainwater from the roof (there's another tank at the back) and in times of drought, water can be purchased from a truck. There's a two-burner propane stove, a small sink, and a whole lotta counter. That's about it (no fridge, no oven, no microwave). The couple (Chris and Amanda) who are currently living there will leave us their solar oven, but we may cave and buy a 'real' oven. (We like our freshly baked bread!)
The sink drains into a bucket so the water can be reused to water a garden, so I'll be shopping for herbs: cilantro and basil, chives and parsley. Chris and Amanda have had luck growing arugula, pepper, borage, spinach, basil, kale and chili. They didn't have much success with tomato, squash, onion, garlic, watermelon and cucumber. Fresh greens are a start, though- and there's a fruit and veg market about a 10 minute walk away!
Nathan has been sent with a long, exhaustive list of foods to locate. (I'm sure he's really excited about the treasure hunt.) I'm hoping for whole wheat flour and brown rice most of all, as well as olive oil. I just can't get that excited about white flour and white rice. I'm also hoping for potatoes, olive oil, and soy sauce. I can get creative with an assortment of fruits and veggies, so I'm less concerned about that. Chris and Amanda say that garlic, onions, bananas, corn and tomatoes are readily available.
In the picture above, you'll note a little hut to the right of the house- chickens! I'm excited for fresh eggs, and I'm also interested in learning how to butcher a chicken. We rarely eat chickens here because we're pretty conscientious about where our meat comes from (hormone free, vegetarian fed, free range) and for the most part, it's hard to find really humanely-treated meat animals. However, when I lived in Samoa, I was much more open to meat eating because in general the cows, pigs, and chickens were treated really well while they lived, and were about as free range as it gets- they strolled all over my village and ate a varied diet that included a lot of coconut. I imagine 'our' chickens will be pretty happy, as chickens go.
Aside from chicken-butchering, another project I'm excited about it is cheese making! I'm ordering a few kits from New England Cheesemaking (bad website, cool products) and am excited to make mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, and yogurt. We supposedly will be able to buy fresh goat and cow milk from our new neighbors!
(By the way, I plan to make steamed buns sometime in the next few days! I haven't forgotten my original challenge!)