You.com Tanzania activity 2 (cultural activities)

The other two members of the EVS programme, Erica and Valeria, joined us on Friday in Pomerini and the group is finally completed. We had a few days to start knowing each other and to begin the first activities together within the YOU.COM project!

Today we experienced how to make a famous local food called “bagia”, a delicious fried beans-ball.

To learn the right receipt we trusted to an expert cooker, Mama Friday, who kindly welcomed us at her place, located in Msengela, suburb of Pomerini. As soon as we arrived she was really excited, maybe because it was her first time teaching her competences. She showed us the first step: how to grind dry beans using two stones, one to place them and the other one to crush them. Even if it looks very easy, actually it is really hard to crush beans without crushing fingers too. But Mama Friday did it in such a natural way. After that she left beans to soak over night. She prepared them the day before to have them ready for our lesson.

The second step consisted in dividing the pealing from beans, thanks to an handmade sieve used to filter the water.

The third step was the most difficult one for us, as we had to beat the soaked beans with a very heavy wood pestle. We were not just starring her working, but we were ready to help her, until we discovered how hard it was to do it. With this step we found several difficulties due to the heavyness of the pestle and also for the splashes of the mixing, while Mama Friday was having fun looking at our job. When the mixing was homogeneous, Mama Friday added yeast, salt and warm water and left it rising covered in a basin.

In this time we moved into her kitchen, made by mud with a straw roof, in order to prepare the fire to cook.

Once the mixing was ready to be fried, Mama Friday made small balls and put them into boiling oil over the fire. It was amazing the way she did it without any kind of protection, with completely casualness. While she was cooking, we realized how annoying it was to keep staying in that room, full of smoke. In fact the wall and the roof were completely black due to the soot.

At the end Mama Friday served us a cup of tea with bagia and we enjoyed them confortably seated in the yard all together!

Through this kind of cultural activity we had the possibility to try to approach to local habits and to local community too.