Hash-up Mash-up

During quarantine, I’ve noticed that everyone’s new favorite hobbies are cooking and baking. I say amen to that. What’s better than a hobby you can EAT? I’ve been thinking I should revive my occasional recipe sharing on the blog.

To that end, here’s a super simple yet satisfying meal for those celebrated “breakfast for dinner” nights. I suppose you could make it before noon, but that’s your call.

Hash-up Mash-up

Ingredients:

enough potatoes to grate about 4-5 cups; 5 or 6 big potatoes, 12 or so medium red potatoes

10 eggs

cooking oil

salt and pepper

  • optional: bacon, Freddy’s Fry Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Boil the whole potatoes in water to cover for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Set potatoes aside to cool a bit. (If you are in a place where you can get a bag of frozen hash browns, you can skip the potato part of the recipe. This is a missionary blog, so this is how we make it.)
  2. If you are using bacon, start by frying bacon in your biggest, most non-stick sauté pan.
  3. Grate the cooled potatoes on the biggest holes of your box grater.
  4. Leave the bacon grease in the pan or if you didn’t start with bacon, put 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil in the pan.
  5. Put the grated potato in the oil or grease and spread it out to the edges for a layer of potatoes.
  6. Here’s the part that requires patience– let it sit at least 5 minutes or more without moving it (more time if you started with frozen hash browns) When you lift up one edge and it looks good and golden brown underneath, flip pieces of hash browns with your spatula. Now let the other side brown. You may need to drizzle more oil on so that you get a good fry. While the potatoes are frying, generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. *On a whim, I bought a jar of Freddy’s Fry seasoning and brought it to Africa. If you live on the I-35 corridor and can get some, we recommend. If not, you can make it. Good stuff to add at this stage.
  7. With patience, you’ll get a pan of beautiful golden brown hash browns. While you are waiting, crack 10 eggs into a bowl.
  8. Now you will add the protein. If you have a thick layer of hash browns, you can make little divots in the hash browns to receive eggs. Pour the eggs over the hash browns, evenly distribute the yolks if needed, and cover with a tight lid. The steam from the potatoes will make sort-of basted eggs and the bottom will get nice and crispy.
  9. Serve a wedge of Hash-up Mash-up with ketchup, sriracha sauce, hot sauce, and/or Ranch dressing, plus bacon, fruit salad, waffles, etc. ¡Bon appétit! 

 

How are you?

How are you, friends, during this topsy turvy time? It is hard to imagine the places we love emptied of worshippers, groceries, patrons, and pedestrians. We pray that you have peace, confidence, and toilet paper.

A few of you have asked how we are. I am sorry that we have been such sporadic communicators on the blog. I confess that I forget to be grateful for all the people around the world who care about us and pray for us. I’m afraid I focus on the people and projects here in Kenya and I neglect to look around and give thanks for those who allow us to be here.

So, into the third paragraph, how are we? We are fine. Kenya is behind the curve, as it were, in the development of the coronavirus. We have a few cases, brought in by travelers, but it is not spread through community transmission yet. We don’t have a documented case in our hospital, but Will and the Kijabe Hospital staff are gearing up for the influx of patients. They are surprised at the relative calm thus far. Will has been watching lots of medical videos about treating COVID-19 and how to best use the available ventilators in the hospital.

Rift Valley Academy decided to end school two and a half weeks before our scheduled term break. There was a Herculean effort to get almost 300 dorm kids scheduled on planes, trains, and buses out of Kenya and to the countries where their families live with only 4 days’ notice. Amazing stories trickled in over the weekend of students’ flights being received only minutes before the border was closed, of students who were going to be quarantined in the airport, but some kindly official released them to their friends’ father, a medical missionary, and of arduous 40-hour bus rides that ended in successful border crossings.

The early closure meant that all junior and senior educational trips (called “Interims”) were cancelled, including mine to Spain. David was scheduled to go to Zanzibar, Tanzania. That was a tough blow to all the upperclassmen. The sudden closure meant the seniors had to say their goodbyes in a day or two, not knowing whether they would return from their country nor when. My heart goes out to these seniors whose lives are so full of change and transition anyway and then this unique kink in plans was added. One crazy story from a student whose parents have served in mostly closed countries is that she said that until now, RVA was the only place she had lived from which she had not been evacuated.

Right now, we teachers are knee-deep in tech training so that we can commence online classes with a hope to see our students face-to-face when God allows.

We had been looking forward to returning to the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s medical mission conference in Greece in April. It was a great place to connect with our fellow Christian Health Service Corps missionaries serving in East Africa, plus there was great food and it was fun to be in Europe. Of course, that is cancelled, much to the chagrin of the family.

For now, though, we are thankful for the beautiful weather, the community of fellow missionaries, the (so-far) stocked grocery stores in Nairobi, the people who have helped all of us make big decisions, the hand of God sustaining us.

Many of you are doing BSF, as am I (my class was already a video chat!), so I will leave you with a quote from this weeks’ lesson: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

Photos of recent shenanigans:

Living Life with Allison is Awesome

Nineteen years of living with Allison. Ten houses in four countries in 19 years. We are having fun! Happy Anniversary!

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Chillin’ with A in Nairobi

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My sweet Valentine!

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Awesome selfies by Will and Allison

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I brought a friend with me today!

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True love in Cuzco

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Feeling the love at 14,000 feet!

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Big kiss under big mistletoe!

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Hoodies and a hug keep a couple warm!

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Come away with me my love.

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Livin' the life in Cura-town!

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Gratitude

This morning I am trying to practice the presence of God by giving thanks for good things– the smell of my hair product, an old pair of earrings that I like, cream in my coffee, our child getting himself up to go to school, the sunshine in the trees… I’m doing this as I give thanks for the life of Margaret Smith, my mom who I loved and who loved me. Many of you reading this were loved by Mom too. She died eight years ago today. She taught us to enjoy things and give thanks. Here’s Sarah’s Bible assignment that she’s been faithfully memorizing for these first two weeks of school:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17

I want you to know that I thank God for you, blog follower. Thank you for being a part of our lives and for caring for us.

Happy Thoughts

Things I’m thankful for this morning:

Trash bags– I found some biodegradable rubbish bin liners (as they call them here) and I’m happy to put them to use!

King Arthur Flour website recipes– try the cinnamon scones

David comes back to Kenya tomorrow!

Lovely memories of the birds, the acacia trees, the sunset on the lake, from a family weekend on Lake Naivasha

The many types of birds who live here that lift our spirits with their carefree flying and jubilant songs

The kindly painter who told me that I made good chai (I nearly doubled the sugar yesterday!)

The friendly joking and laughing of the construction guys working at our house

Bright fires on chilly nights

Will is content with his job and has been commended lately for his teaching

The Lord’s reminder of all the wonderful people (specifically from ACU) who encouraged us to do missions

Sibling pairs who are friends with our girls

New kids coming to school next year and all the possibilities therein

Peter’s enthusiasm for the guitar

Coco soundtrack, especially the Spanish version

Two families who visited this summer– we appreciate you!

Cry, the Beloved Country

The repetition of the phrase “I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Carol truly grandmothering our kids

Each time one of the kids says “Thank you”

Talking to Katherine on the phone

Annie’s braces

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Black and White Casqued Hornbill

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The Shirk girls are over

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Will at work delivering babies

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Annie’s braces

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David on his way to the States nearly a month ago

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Katherine the Great

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The Reids visit us and Hell’s Gate

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New construction at Flamingo House

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Sunset on Lake Naivasha

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Glamping with the girls

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Acacia trees on Lake Naivasha

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The Shewmakers visit and we ascend Mt. Longonot

 

 

 

 

Sophomore Restaurant

At Rift Valley Academy there are projects for each class to build unity as well as to serve the RVA community. One night is called Sophomore Restaurant. All the sophomores and their sponsors (we are some of them) work to plan a menu, advertise, arrange baby-sitting, and then it all comes together in one day while we cook, serve, clean, and entertain our RVA diners. I think it is the funnest thing we have done with the sophomores, and it was fun to watch them all work together to help one another and serve the RVA staff. Allison once again took on cooking responsibilities, and I helped run a small cafe next door that served those who were not able to get tickets to the main event. It was definitely an all day project.

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The line outside the small cafe where I helped.

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Allison getting the Mediterranean dishes ready

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Lots of food

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Dessert

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The servers enjoying a bit of down time

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A certain server getting tired of his father following him around. David had the hardest room full of Juniors and Seniors.

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Enjoying the leftover mousse

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Happy RVA and Kijabe Hospital staff enjoying a nice meal

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My favorite chef and waiter

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Proud sponsors

Next year we get to be diners instead of servers! I am looking forward to being on the other side.

Hyenas in the hood?

It’s 2:08 on Easter Sunday and the beautiful African choruses of the church across the way are wafting in through our open windows. It’s like having our own Paul Simon Graceland concert. Only really African.

We had a nice bit of cloud coverage for our Easter school picnic, the first clouds it seems like we’ve seen for weeks. I read the other day that Kenya is experiencing its worst drought in 38 years. Here on the mountainside and near the valley it is not as bad, but many in northern and western Kenya are struggling to survive. Last year it was the longest rainy season in a several years and now this drought. Here in Kenya, they have the “short rains” in November and December and the “long rains” from April through June. The whole time the temperature is an average of 68 degrees or so. It is a wonderful place to live, if you’re looking for a place to minister. Or if you want to come visit, read here.

Last night something funny happened that I thought was worth blogging about. We have a hospital station Whatsapp group that reports happenings around here. Recently, a couple of people have reported a clan of hyenas wandering around the outskirts of our complex. (Our compound is not fenced off and so we have all sorts of things drifting through—ne’er do wells, baboons, wild dogs, and now, hyenas). Our dog Chardonnay was barking a different and more insistent bark than usual in the middle of the night. Usually we can tie her leash to the back gate and she will be quiet, but last night, no such luck. I went out to check on her and from inside the house I could hear this high-pitched dog yapping or laughing sound. It sounded like cats? No. Monkeys? No. Puppies? Maybe, but different. I opened the door and Chardy was pulling hard on her leash, barking her most vehement bark. Crazily, I considered, “Is the hyena pack barking back?” All the neighborhood dogs were going crazy. I pulled our guard dog into the house and told Will that I may have heard hyenas. He laughed and opened the window to listen. He was convinced that it was just a dog or two. Even if it was, isn’t it surreal that hyena laughing was even on the table? Just in case we forgot that we live in Africa!
hyena

 

Happy Easter

As I type the air is filled with the echos of the African church singing an all day celebration.

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Happy Easter! ¡Feliz Pascua!

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A Walk in the Woods

It is always good to get out for a walk. I have no idea why this ladder we found was where it was or to where it was heading.

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Found a ladder in the jungle

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