Although my husband would argue that much of the staple foods eaten by Kenyans every day tastes a bit like dust, this is not the correlation that I wish to imply. Although it is the rainy season (one of two each year), Narok has received absolutely no rain since April, the last rainy season. Most of the wheat and maize crops in the area have failed, causing already skyrocketed food costs to continue to climb.
The life of the average working Kenyan is quite difficult, not to mention the millions and millions who live below the "poverty" line here.
Poverty here is like nothing you will experience anywhere in the United States.
In fact, the middle class here in Kenya more closely resembles what we would consider serious poverty in our country. But no matter, people are warm, friendly, and very hospitable with the little that they have.
The lack of rain around Narok (other parts of the country are receiving average amounts) means that the dust is in high gear. Driving from Nairobi we had to stop the car several times just to let the dust settle on the road so that we could see. It was as bad as any blizzard that I have experienced in Steamboat for sure and terrifying when you think of the very large lorries that you are sharing the road with, coming and going.
As for diet, the staple of all Kenyans, poor or well off, is ugali - a mixture of maize flour and water cooked in a large cooking pot to the consistency of something resembling a very soggy biscuit. No salt, no seasoning. Ugali is served with cooked (to death) cabbage, or sukumu wiki (if you are more well off and can afford) similar to kale. This is dinner every night for most Kenyans, though of course those more well off can afford meat and other vegetables perhaps.
The first solid meal of the day is lunch at about 1 p.m. - students in boarding school eat ghideri every single day - maize and beans. Others in Kenya typically have potatoes and rice. One thing that I have noticed with the girls at the safehouse when they are on holiday from school is how much they enjoy rice and potatoes as they don't get either at school. Breakfast in school is "porridge" - flour and water cooked to the consistency of a milk shake but tasting far from it. Here at the safehouse, again the girls enjoy tea instead. Tea in Kenya is really just glorified sugar water, as there is very little tea added.
I do not in any way mean to denigrate the Kenyan diet. The point rather is to demonstrate that the ritualized variety of food that we eat in our country simply does not exist in vast parts of the world. Imagine eating the same thing each meal every day rather than the chicken, fish, meat dilemma that we find so aggravating sometimes when planning what to eat for dinner each night. I asked the girls at the safehouse the other day what they would like to have for a special meal that a friend gave me money for. The consensus seems to be goat, though there were a few votes for chicken and even spaghetti (a western visitor prepared spaghetti for the girls once). So goat it will be, the cost being about $50 for a goat large enough to feed 50 girls.