Click here to see a trip report and try a delicious Zimbabwean recipe!
Guys, we’re back (at least in body).
As our week in Zimbabwe reached its close, we took stock of the progress our team made at Munyawiri Primary School’s garden, celebrating the installation of 47 new vegetable beds, each containing upwards of 24 seedlings (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, and greens such as tsunga and rape). Our new field officer, Tindo Marimira, will oversee and track the site’s development over time to ensure that our latest nutrition garden thrives.
If we found ourselves curious as to the weight the addition of such vegetables would have in the everyday lives of this school community, we had no further to look than lunchtime: after gathering in the shade with our gardening companions (members of the Nhaka Foundation and volunteers from the community), we received plates of sadza, a Zimbabwean staple made from white cornmeal, accompanied by greens and tomatoes which a tiny woman and her three assistants had cooked for hours over a fire.
After we washed our hands to return to work, all we could say in return was thank you, because despite our imperfect Shona, we could at least make sense of this cycle by which one group speaks in food and the other answers in food—food being the most concise language of thanksgiving. We’re in one continuous loop of thanksgiving with the gracious, interesting, heart-filled people in this school community, and we look forward to continuing here the conversations started there.
The women there also taught Kelsey and I how to make sadza. Feel free to try my approximation of the recipe (corroborated by sources online). If you’re the sort of person who likes really precise recipes, this will challenge you—in a good way!
1. Fill a pot ¾ of the way with mealie-meal (the finest white cornmeal you can find).
2. Mix in enough cold water to make a thick paste.
3. Add the paste to a larger cauldron of boiling water and stir, crushing lumps against the side of the pot with a flat wooden spoon. Stir regularly for 30-40 minutes, covering between stirrings (might take longer, depending on your heat source).
4. Add a few more cups of meal at the end. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat. The contents should look like a thick, moldable paste.
5. Serve with greens (like our collards) which have been finely chopped, mixed with salt and corn oil, and. fried. Free-range chicken (called “roadrunner”) and sauce made from grated, reduced tomatoes are often served as an accompaniment, too.
When eating, scoop enough sadza on your plate to fill a baseball. Hold the plate with your left hand and form a small amount of the sadza into a ball with your right. Dip into vegetable sauces and enjoy.