For the folks who have been curious about what I’ve been up to, and being an admitted foodie, I have painstakingly documented what I eat in a average day in Nairobi.


The morning usually starts with something like this. Hi-fiber cookies. Without a working refrigerator, and with cockroaches having general run of the kitchen, very little food is stored in the house, so I try to have some at least somewhat nutritious snacks around.

Peanut Butter and Popo

After running to the store to grab some bread, I have a more proper breakfast. This day it is peanut butter on toast, which has become a staple for me. Without a toaster the toast is prepared on the stove, in a skillet. Papaya and tea round out the breakfast.

Boiled Egg

One of my favorite parts of Nairobi are these hard-boiled eggs with fresh tomato salsa (they call it salad) that are served all over the place (at least in the poorer areas). Tasty, nutritious, and they cost about 25 cents US. When I am walking to the bus stop I find myself buying one at every cart I pass!

Bakers Inn

In Nairobi they have a slightly different meaning for the word “Inn”. Here it basically means: A chain that specializes in a single type of food. Along with Bakers Inn they also have Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, and Creamy Inn which has ice cream.

Chelsea Roll

At the Bakers Inn I quickly grabbed a couple pastries to eat on the bus out of the city center. I would have gotten more of a meal, but it was already after four, and if you try to catch a bus during rush hour you can spend hours waiting in line, and then longer waiting in traffic. Unfortunately on this day there was huge traffic jam getting into the city, so I ended up waiting over an hour for my bus to show up.

Butcher Shop

This butcher shop has the best french fries around. It is the only place with an actual fryer which means the fries actually get crispy. They also assured me that they only fry in vegetable oil, so as long as you don’t mind a side of beef and plate of raw liver staring back at you while you wait for your chips, it is vegetarian friendly.


Back home I would very rarely eat Heinz ketchup, but here it’s the best thing going. What they put on fries they call “tomato sauce” but it tastes like sweet and sour sauce and has not ever a hint of tomato flavor.

Mboga and Ugali

Finally my hosts got home and cooked some dinner. This is the standard local vegetarian food that they call “mboga”, which literally translates to “vegetables”, but generally means kale sliced into super thin strips and cooked. Telling someone I’m a vegetarian tends to result in them serving me this, so I have gotten tired of it pretty quickly. In the background you can see more nsima, which in Swahili is called ugali, the staple food throughout most of Africa.

Finally, I have to mention ramen noodles, as I eat them about every other day. Not the greatest thing to eat, but they keep the hunger away.


Apparently I’ve been sucked into the slow pace of life here and have skipped out on my blogging responsibilities until now. In my defense, this is the first time that I have been on a computer that both has an SD card reader and an internet connection actually fast enough to upload photos.

I have spent my time here staying with VSO volunteers that I met through couchsurfing. The VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) is the UK’s version of the Peace Corps but with some key differences, namely that the volunteers are required to have substantial work experience, and that they will take volunteers from anywhere. Through my hosts I have been introduced to the local aid worker community, including volunteers from about every large international aid organization that I’ve ever heard of. It is great to talk to so many people working on different problems affecting Malawi. On the flip side these people know better than anyone just how hard it is to change the status quo. It is pretty depressing to think about how much money and effort has been spent on the continent with such lackluster results.

Looking forward I want to get out of Lilongwe and see more of the country. I am currently looking for interesting projects to check out, and I would love to get a closer look at farming in Malawi.

I also wanted to mention one of the highlights of the trip: Last night I got to play The Resistance with five people who had never played it before! I lost, multiple times, but it was a really good time.