African Tea and Mandazi//A Recipe of Thanks

Our experience thus far with cooking in Uganda has looked a little like this.

Fry everything.

Most foods are cooked over fire. So that means you are either boiling it or frying it. Baking doesn’t really seem to be a common thing here. We have jumped right into the whole frying thing, but are also trying to look for other healthier options! We do have a small counter top oven so we are able to do some baking. That said, there are certain things you just have to fry.

Mandazi is one of these things.

Mandazi is a small African donut and it goes  deliciously with African Tea. Eat them for breakfast, as a snack, in the evening. Any time day is heavenly, but probably not all day everyday! They are quick and easy, and you can even freeze some of the dough and use it later. This is the best version we came up with on our own, but once we get some locals to share their recipe, we’ll update if needed.



1 egg beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp butter melted

2 cups white flour

2 tsp baking powder

Bring all ingredients to room temperature and mix together. Add more flour if neccessary. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. We used our hands to pull off a small amount, rolled in a little ball, and flattened to about 1/4 of an inch thick.Fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown. Not sure how many this will make as it will depend on size, but we  had between 35 and 50. You can then sprinkle on some sugar on warm Mandazi if desired. Pairs well with African tea.



Black tea (African tea or garden tea)

2 cups of milk

2 cups of water

Combine milk and water and seep tea packets or loose leaf African tea in pot on medium high until it starts to boil. Take off burner and if using loose leaf, strain the leaves. Add desired amount of sugar and serve hot. Will make about 4 cups of tea. Pairs perfectly with Mandazi.

Try it and let us know how you like it. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it!



Reading on the porch during naptime//Movie watching on the kitchen floor//Tricep workout//Meeting other muzungus//Gracie using the squat pot for the first time//Teagan playing with the girls//Finding  a nice restaurant in town//Gracie acting as “queen” of all the kids at the orphanage and “naming” them (ask me for the story, it’s hilarious)//meeting with pastor Ruth//furniture for our living room//Mandazi and African tea



No matter where you are, you’re circumstances aren’t always joyful. Your day doesn’t always go smoothly. Everything you planned on doing doesn’t always get done. You don’t always find everything falling into place perfectly and effortlessly. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Ohio or Uganda-some days just don’t appear joyful.


I was recently reading one of the She Reads Truth devotionals on the fruits of the spirit. One particular post that has stuck with both Dustin and myself was the devotional on joy. It was emphasized that joy is not found in our circumstances. It is not found because our day went just as planned, we had loads of fun, or accomplished a lot. Our joy is found in Christ. So even on the days when we’re tired of everyone staring at us, we really wish a Dalton Dari-ette would magically appear in Tororo, or we just miss our family and friends,we can still find joy. Even when everything is strange, and new and the learning process and relationship building feels slow going, our joy rest in knowing that Christ alone guides us.




The gift list continues…and you can see I haven’t posted it in awhile! In these gifts I find so much joy. Not just because these are things that make me happy, but because of the joy that is found in giving thanks to the Lord who has provided these things.


I’ve also reached 1000! And here I start back over,  with new friends in a new place.


Lillie saying “kitty” and “hi kitty”//Lillie point to things when asked and saying “there”//Gracie tracing numbers//zoo day//hikes//Lillie’s feet and fingers in creek//Emily’s baby shower//movie with Dustin//gentle breeze and a babbling brook//Lillie’s warm cheek and smell//cleaning out house//friends and family to help//lunch date with a new friend//Gracie sleeping with leg in the air//supportive church family//walks in woods with Dad and Lillie//fairy garden//Elsa braid//girls running around in church//Uganda countdown//time spent with family and friends//Gracie and Lillie’s first boda ride//Dustin killing cockroaches//mosquito nets//skype with mom//rain//cold bath water//chipate and curry//naps//chairs//clothesline//hugs from kids at orphanage//driving around Tororo//Gracie’s arms around my neck//Lillie’s restless sleep//Lillie saying “book” and “rock”


fellowship with new friends//nursing in public//being malaria free//Gracie dancing on stage with other kids at church//Lillie backing up to sit with you and read//girls playing in mud//skype with family and friends




There is something about having food, actual food, like real food- not the snacky granola bars, cranberries, and animal crackers- but  food, that makes your house start to feel a little more like a home.  We finally have a small fridge and a stove top and have cooked a few meals in our home.IMG_6482

Pancakes of course were our first meal of choice. We cooked them on our gas powered stove on the floor.


Our fridge is small. It kind of reminds me of a kid size fridge. The size of pretend play house fridges. But it is just right and we don’t lose food stuffed at the back out of sight out of mind, or buried underneath other things.


You eat yogurt out of bag here. Maybe it’s less messy? Maybe not with these two.


Our house is becoming a home. Even since these pictures were taken a few days ago we’ve added more furniture and mats and odds and ends. We may still feel like strangers in a new country (the stares every time we step outside of our compound don’t really help, who knew white people were so interesting!) but our house is becoming  our very own homey haven of rest. A place to safely express ourselves and find rest and enjoyment in each other. A place that we will eventually open up to others to come and rest and feel safe to be themselves as well we hope.


One thing that never changes no matter which continent we are on…the never ending piles and stacks of books devoured by these girlies. We even have some nice porch chairs to sit and read.


Blessings and love from Uganda!




Welcome to Uganda

Uganda. It’s only been a week. In some ways our stay here feels short, as it should. In other ways it feels long. Time here is slow. Waiting is normal. Patience is needed.


Tell me you’ll see me this afternoon. This afternoon may actually be two days later. Patience.

Our culture is all about now. Do this now. Do it better, faster, funnier, more, more, more, now, now, now. No need for patience. Hurry, scurry, strive.


There are positives and negatives to both ways of life. There are parts of each culture that would do well to be brought together and learned from. At this point in time we are in a “when in Rome” phase of living. We are doing things slow. We don’t have a vehicle yet, so we walk everywhere. This only gets you so far. We don’t have a fridge or stove, so we walk to go eat and wait an hour or more at the restaurant for food. We are slowly learning about the culture that surrounds us and working to find a new normal.


We went to church with a friend our first Sunday here. My first thought while watching and listening to how God was worshiped, praised and spoken about, was that I have put my God in a box. I’ve viewed Him in the same way and worshiped Him in the same way for a very long time. Here He is worshiped through exuberant, loud, very loud, music and dance. Clapping and jumping, shouting and praising. My God is big. He is known and worshiped in many different ways, but in each culture He speaks a language of love.


Uganda. Everything feels different, yet you can still find sameness. You can still find God’s love and goodness. You can still find yourself surrounded by beauty and joy. You can still find small wonders while looking through the eyes and into the eyes of your children. You might find yourself waiting an extra hour or two, but it’s there, it’s real, and it’s good.