About a month after we moved to Nigeria I bought a large box of strawberries…I think it was about 4 kilos (almost 9 pounds)…here is what happened the day I decided to do something with them:
5:45 Wide awake. I would rather be sleeping but I get up and get laundry going. Caden is awake so I let him get up early. Before breakfast I make a pie crust to use later.
7:00 We enjoy a light breakfast of muffins and homemade strawberry yogurt.
8:20 Toby heads to a meeting. Caden and I go for a walk. I decided to carry him Nigerian style, on my back. So, I get him on there and tie 2 cloths around us both. Then I went next door to have the hostel cook check and make sure I had done it right. This was my first time to back him alone and I did it well. We walked down the street to our neighborhood container store . This is a small shop that is made from a shipping container. They are very popular here. I was looking for beans but came back with tuna and Indo-Mi (ramen noodles) ¦no beans. I borrow beans from a neighbor instead.
9:00 We get home. Caden is tired so he asks to go to bed. He even seems to say help me when standing by his bed waiting for me to lift him into it. He is sleeping in a borrowed pack-n-play for now. We have bought him a toddler bed of sorts to use when we move into the hostel. We still need to buy a mattress for it.
9:15 Start 2nd rinse cycle for diapers. Then I begin cleaning and sorting strawberries. I was talked into buying a very large box of berries the day before. You can freeze them or make jam, the lady selling them told me. So, I decided I would try to make jam. As I clean, I separate the berries into 4 bowls: one bowl for the firmest berries to freeze, one for the mushy ones to make jam, one for the in-between ones to use in a pie, and a bowl for the ones I think are not good, as well as for the stems. I also put the beans on to cook. My neighbor gave me some pot ash and promises a pinch added to the beans will speed up the cooking process. No, I did not soak them overnight ¦no time, I need them for dinner ¦I ™ll do quicker method where after boiling them awhile I dump the water out and add fresh water.
11:40 Caden wakes up. I have just finished cleaning and sorting the berries so I make us some Indo-Mi for lunch.
12:30 Toby gets home just in time to join us for lunch.
1:00 I start the pie filling. It calls for between 5-6 cups of strawberries plus crushed berries for juice. Yum. After getting the pie done I put it in the fridge to set and begin my jam. I ™ve never made jam before so this is an experiment. I have a recipe that is called quick strawberry jam and it uses a box of strawberry jello. Well, my mom just sent me a box of strawberry jello so I thought I would try this recipe.
2:30 The jam is still cooking ¦so much for quick. It finally seems like it may be getting thicker. I give up and decide we ™ll have strawberry syrup instead, so I fill the jars ¦ok, I fill 1 ½ jars! That's it! All that work for 1 ½ jars of strawberry syrup ¦.needless to say I was disappointed. I turn the beans off (they are finally done) and head outside to play with Caden.
3:00 Caden is having so much fun! There are some rocks on one side of the basketball court in the center of our compound- he loves to climb on and off the rocks. Toby texts me to say that he is finished with his meeting. (I have to pick him up because we did not have a vehicle when he went so a neighbor dropped him off- we are still sharing a van with the hostel as we await the arrival of our car from Benin).
3:30 I am lost! And it is raining! I have not driven to Gidan Bege yet (the place where Toby's meeting was). Somehow I end up downtown on the BUSIEST STREET IN JOS!!!! Kai! (that means Yikes!). I am just praying to find my way.
3:45 I found Toby!!!! He was waiting for me on a corner ¦he had seen me take the wrong turn earlier. I climb out of driver seat to let him drive. I tell him that I need to practice driving to Gidan Bege and a few places with him in the car- soon!
4:15 On the way home we stopped at a few places to pick up a few items: lettuce, ice cream (to go with the pie), and a new toilet seat. We arrive home and watch an episode of the Office before getting ready for dinner.
5:45 Toby and Caden take off to pick up Dustin, a guy who arrived from Austin, TX last week to work with City Ministries. While they are gone, I finish up dinner: soft taco's with meat, beans, rice, salsa, corn and bean salad, and guac ¦and of course cheese (which is REALLY expensive here but o so worth it!). I place a bowl of tortilla chips and salsa on the table.
6:15 They arrive for dinner. Dustin walks in, sees the chips, smells the taco meat and gets a HUGE grin on his face. I figured after being in Nigeria for a week he would be ready for a little taste of home. The meal was a hit. Plus, it was fun to have a guest.
7:45 Toby and Dustin head out and I put Caden to bed. When Toby gets back we clean the dishes. He says it feels like the weekend. I said that it's because at home we only had people over on the weekend- I like having people come for dinner during the week.
8:45 I fall asleep on the couch watching an episode of the Closer on DVD.
9:15 We head to bed.
PS: What about the pie? Did I forget the pie? Nope ¦but it wasn't really a pie. It didn't set right. We ate it anyhow and it tasted good. I won't do a strawberry pie on my own again. I ™ve made it twice in my life and both times it did not set.