Thursday, March 7, 2013

Waiting out the election results. With sugar.

It's been a strange week.  On Monday Kenyans took to the polls in epicly long lines, waiting hours to vote for their candidate (Raila is by far the preferred candidate in our city).  It was peaceful, and election observers said it was mostly fair and free.  But eyes were on our otherwise sleepy town of Kisumu, watching for a repeat of the violence that happened in the last election in this opposition stronghold. (It was widely thought that the election was stolen from Raila the last time around.)
Photo credit:
Monday was a national holiday so everything was closed.   The streets were eerily quiet.  A heavy police presence was felt.
Colin took this pic on Monday. It's hard to tell, but this is the heart of downtown and normally teaming with all manner of traffic.  
The quiet continued the rest of the week as the IEBC tallied the results.  This, putting it politely, was a fiasco.  The electronic tallying was beset with errors and the counting had to start over 2 days after the vote.  By hand.  It's almost Friday and only about 1/3 of the votes have been tallied so far. There have also been so many rejected votes that "rejected vote" would be a strong third party candidate.

So, now we're in a long holding period.  So far, Kenyatta has been holding a strong lead and over 50% of the vote - something none of the pre-election polls predicted.  This is pretty bad news for the solidly Raila city of Kisumu.  Though there are still many ballots to be counted.

The sentiment here is that if Raila loses, that in and of itself means there was some vote rigging - this is how strongly people I talk to believe he should win.  Still, they all insist that protests will be peaceful, and they'd work through the newly created independent courts to solve problems.

But back to me.... This election week has meant that Colin's office is closed, Caleb's school is closed, my part-time work has stopped and our house help is back in Busia, where it's safer.  (Lots of non-Luos left Kisumu this week to go back to their tribal homelands.  Just in case.)

We've been hunkered down and all getting a bit of cabin fever.  Caleb cries at least once a day that he misses his friends, and I'm not far behind him with similar sentiments.  Colin's work has not slowed down, so I'm balancing the kids and the housework - something I'm not so much in the habit of doing.
OK. It's not all bad.  Sometimes this cuteness happens.
So, each day I try and think of something SOMETHING I can pull out when the whining gets too loud.  Today it was a rice krispy treat project.

Coming from Busia where there was one type of cheese - if we were lucky - and apples were an exotic treat, Kisumu has a lot of culinary variety and choice on offer.  But if you have a hankering for a quintessential American treat, you'll have to improvise with some substitutions.

Here's what passes for marshmallows:

I'm not sure what a "cha" is, but, then again, marshmallows even in their pure form are pretty mysterious. Still, these are pink and I don't like the way that guy on the package is lookin' at me.

And here's what passes for Rice Krispies.
I like how the giant spoon REALLY lets you get a gander at the cereal. And how Proctor-Allan have just skirted around the intellectual property liabilities. 
Well... this project, much like the vote tallying (see, I'm tying this rambling post together!), was a bit of a fiasco.  I'm not sure what toxic glue holds "chamallows" together (soylent pink?), but it does not so much melt into a nice marshmallow fluff, as it congeals and then burns.  Still, I dumped the counterfeit rice crispies into the pink goop and attempted to turn the whole mess into that delicious American classic.

This is what I got:

Some suspicious chemical reaction made the mallows all stringy and stiff and left a hard spackle residue on my pot, which just might destroy it.

But borrowing a play from my mother - who once inadvertently set our grilled chicken on fire, hosed it down with a garden hose and then served it to us for dinner because... "it's still good chicken," - I let this disaster harden, cut it into squares and then gave it to my delighted family.  Caleb has never had the real thing, and we made a game of picking out the tiny rocks that Proctor-Allan sneak into their cereal, so he thought it was the best thing since sliced jellow (NOT a typo).  Colin, the least picky eater you'll ever meet, told me it wasn't half bad.

Anyway, it's taken our minds of the election for 2 minutes.  We'll keep you posted...


  1. More "Mama Mzungu Cooks" please! And jellow? Do tell! :)

    1. Oh, it's just imitation everything over here. I think it's called Jelly or Jellow, but we just made some (I suppose I'm nostalgic for childhood mid-western desserts), and if you can ignore the strange aftertaste, it's not all that bad. : )

  2. Did you remember to add a little butter or margarine?It reminds me of my dogged attempt to try to make a Passover version of it with Matza Farfel. It also would come out like rocks (although Marni loved it). I was detemined to master a Passover recipe, but after a few years I gave up. It may have to do with the nature of the marshamallows and the type of gelatin they use.
    Thniking about you lots...



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  4. Ha ha - it's also pink marshmallow impostors here! I hope all goes well with the election results but it doesn't sound particularly promising.