Reason #1: Capsicum. This is the stuff in peppers that can burn your hands when you cut peppers without gloves. The aroma of the stuff fills the air when a hot pepper is cut. It makes me cough and sneeze a bit. However, it is also what adds the spice to a dish. Most of the capsicum is in the seeds and white membrane inside, which is why it is good to remove those parts when using Habanero or other peppers with high levels of it.
On our way back from a day trip to Salima, we stopped on the side of the road for some vegetables. I found what looked like small bell peppers. I tried to ask the vender if they were spicy or not, but he didn’t seem to understand what I was asking. At least, David likes spice, so if they were hot then he would enjoy them.
That night, we made curry. HOT curry. These little red beauties that we had the joy of finding ended up being Scotch Bonnet peppers, which are really really hot. The whole time we were cooking, Amayi was chopping the vegetables, and I asked her if the pepper was burning her hand. She of course said, “no problem”. Since, she has cut two more of those peppers, and each time it’s no gloves, and no problem.
Reason #2: Cement walls. The houses here are made of bricks and cement. This makes it quite a challenge to put a nail in the wall. After being in the house for about a month, Amayi Kechipapa gave us a clock. I found a hammer and some steel nails and I was ready. Using the methods that I knew from the past, I attempted to position the nail into the wall. Abambo heard the pounding and came in to help. I was getting nowhere with this nail, as I was trying to nail into a brick wall. A few pounds from Abambo, and there you go! The nail was in. From that point on, I have always just gone for help when we want a nail in the wall.
Reason #3: N’sima. It is dang difficult to stir and it sits in your stomach like a rock. Think about stirring rubber cement as it hardens: and they eat this each and every day. I have only cooked it once, and I needed Amayi to hold the pot as I mixed the stuff with a wooden spoon.