Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don’t Even Talk to Me About Chinese[Food]

It’s a rare night that a nice Gabby-cooked dinner is not sitting out on the table at 6pm. And an even rarer night that this is not because we’re all going out for dinner. Actually…I think that in my 3 months (gasp! That long!) in Rwanda, tonight was the first time that this happened. And just to add to the horror, we had absolutely no food in our locked cabinets or locked refrigerator. (Gabby had the whole day off, I had a grilled cheese for breakfast and a grilled cheese for lunch…and was not the only person on the team to do so.)

Around 6pm, when we realized we couldn’t even make ourselves plain pasta, we started to brainstorm our options…meaning…listing the three hotels down the road and trying to decide whose fries we were most in the mood for. (Answer: Hotel Muhabura because we steal their internet less so it’s less awkward to go there.)

And then…nobody made a move. The thing with restaurants in Rwanda is that you’re making a 2 hour commitment by going to one. And we were all lounging on the couches before the workday was even over. Today was not a day for me to put on legitimate clothing (that covers my knees) and sit up straight at a table for 2 hours. Nor was it for anybody else. And that’s when we went to THE BAD PLACE.

The bad place is when you start talking about what you miss from The Land of the Plenty (also known as the land of the Right Side in Congress – woo!). The bad place is also the name of one of the Class V rapids on the Nile where Marvin (who only learned to swim to pass his test to graduate college) got stuck during our rafting trip. But…we went to the first bad place:

“You know what would be great right now…pizza.”

“C&A’s pizza.” [Am I home?? Am I hearing voices?? I was not the one that said that!]

“The number for EBAs is 643-6135…do you think they’ll deliver to Rwanda?”

“It’s before 2am there…they must!”

“You know what would be better than pizza delivery? Chinese take-out.”

This hit me hard. Much harder than I thought. But with tastes of twice fried noodles and dumplings in my mouth, I freaked:


Yep…we had definitely gone over the edge of the bad place.

And worse, once we went there, there was no going back. Once we started talking about how easy life is in the land of the plenty, there was about no chance of us rallying to sit in uncomfortable chairs until 9pm waiting for food. So, we did the only thing we thought we could do in such a situation…we called one of our Rwandan team members and we asked him to order take-out for us, with the expectation that everything is possible if you’re Rwandan. The biggest difficulty here was coming up with what we wanted to order. Not only does Gabby’s timely cooking keep us from realizing that we eat rice and beans every evening, but it also allows us to happily go through life without having to make any tough decisions as they relate to food. Having to decide what to order proved to be too difficult for most of us…resulting in 4 orders of fries and 12 orders of sabusas.

Sure enough, HALF AN HOUR (this is unheard of) later, we got the call that they were packing up our food and we should come pick it up. The result can only be described as nothing less than amazing. Obviously, Rene had no idea what we were talking about when we desperately asked him to call a restaurant and order food that we could take-out. And neither did the restaurant. They sent Zack home with a full box of food…and only once he got back did we realize that in the box they packed a table cloth, silverware, and our orders on actual plates.

Check it out:

It was pretty good. And the convenience (given that nobody actually trusts me to drive even though I am proudly DRIVER APPROVED) was fabulous. But…it was definitely NOT Chinese food.

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