The Potato Salad Caper

Women in their bright fabrics with children tied to their backs dodged in and out of the traffic –  both human and vehicle – with fully loaded heads. Why use your hands and arms to carry stuff when you have a perfectly good head that can balance buckets with fish, bananas, glass cases with baked goods, clothes, etc.

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Well, when in Ghana…seriously, did you not read my post about being a klutz?! I will eventually give this a try, but not during work hours when I am chasing down my dream – a potato salad.

Tomorrow (August 21) is a Muslim holiday that celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and God’s intervention.  This got me thinking about the 4th of July. And yes I know, other than they are both in the summer months, they have absolutely NOTHING in common. Other than the requisite feast, of course.

Potato salad came to mind.  It’s easy, totally American, and holiday appropriate.

And I am in Ghana, at an outdoor market that sells everything from mangoes to salt to flip-flops to…you guessed it, potatoes.

My colleagues (2 Advans loan officers I was tagging along with to Nsuwam and its market) assured me they could find me potatoes – sure enough, a bag of 8 dirt encrusted slightely odd-shaped “yellow” potatoes cost me about $.75. I had mayo at home and an onion…what else could I possibly need? Ohhh – EGGS!

I hadn’t touched an egg since my traumatic experience two weeks ago.  It was time I stopped being chicken (  😜 ) and faced my fears.

After quizzing my colleagues about the likelihood of coming across another chick-in-the-egg, and (more) assurances that it NEVER happened to them, I bought 6 eggs for $.80.

Let me clear up the ingredients list issue right now.  No one sells celery, and I was so excited about potatoes I forgot about peppers, which they have plenty of here. I know, I know, I was already on shaky ground for good results.

Things back in my apartment were going fairly well.  Potatoes were cleaned, peeled, chopped and immersed in boiling water. A few minutes later, they were done, and I cooled them off the best I could – lots of running water, finally putting them in my fridge’s little box freezer compartment (no ice cube tray).

potatoes

On with the terrifying part – the eggs.

I spun each of them, promising myself if one spun oddly I would pitch it.  They all spun the same odd way, so I went ahead and boiled 4 of them.

Done!  But how to cool them off quickly so they didn’t overcook?  Easy! Put them in the freezer!

You remember what happens to Ralphie in A Christmas Story?  The tongue-on-the- flagpole thing?  Turns out eggs in a freezer compartment react the same way.  They were practically glued down.  I tried water to little effect.  I wound up wrenching them out of the freezer, leaving chunks of egg and shell behind.

Will frozen egg smell up the freezer/fridge? The water I used to try and unfreeze them created a nice layer of ice over the actual egg and shell.

Eager to move past the ridiculousness, I tasted the cooled down potatoes. Hmmm…not bad…but not what I expected from a slightly white/yellow potato.  Ummm…sweet???

Yup.  My good ol’ fashioned potato and egg salad sans anything green was now a sweet potato and egg salad.  I threw in some chili powder, onion, salt, pepper and mayonnaise with an air of desperation.

It’s almost 10pm, and I have decided to do the taste test tomorrow.  That way I can go to bed hopeful.

THE BIG DAY

Let’s not drag this out any longer…it’s edible!!  And not bad, in the grand scheme of things.  The chili powder is a definite plus.  Gumby oversaw my tasting, reminding me to be flexible – just because it isn’t a perfect reproduction of what I wanted doesn’t make it bad, just different.

potato salad-ta da

And as I sit at my table eating sweet potato and egg salad, listening to the sounds of Ghana around me, different seems to be pretty darn good.

Everyone has a story

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

 

Everyone has a story. The last time I posted a blog was in 2014 and I was living in Cambodia. Now I’m on a new adventure and thought some of you might be interested in how the life of a 50-something can morph – the life of a getting-older dog learning lots of new tricks!

Where have I been?

My Global Health Fellowship with Pfizer in Phnom Penh “wrecked me”* me for corporate America.  I tried going from positively affect a country’s birth spacing and health issues as a GHF to trying to convince a doctor that Viagra was a better choice than the other ED meds.  Talk about a letdown!!

I tried to get into the swing of things by trying to introduce a US Health Fellowship within Pfizer.  I mean, so many Pfizer reps and employees wanted to help and give of themselves but couldn’t leave family for months on end.  So why not give the USA a boost and put Pfizer employees to work in their own back yards?  Got as far as submitting a budget, but it fell through.

In 2015 I went on another volunteer trip to Ghana with Adanu (been on two prior to Cambodia, they helped cement my love for Nonprofit ideals and values), and at the end of the trip I was offered a job to help run their Friends of Adanu organization in the US – from my home!  I jumped at the chance (after I mopped up my tears of gratitude), and that’s where I was for 2 ½ years.

The job finished up, and earlier this year I started job hunting – from my new state of residence, Rhode Island.  I had become interested in the idea of lending money to folks who were financially excluded from banking because they were poor.

Donors, I truly love every one of you, but really, is it sustainable?  What if…people learn to save and manage their own money so they could make their own plans to benefit their own lives? What about empowering versus charity?  Adanu was on the absolute right path, and I wanted to push it further.

In early April, a friend in Rotary (yep, I’m a Rotarian now!) mentioned Kiva during a phone call.  Being completely naïve, I looked up their website.  Six weeks later I had gotten the coveted Kiva Fellowship and was booking a flight to Ghana!

Everyone has a story. Mine begins here in Accra Ghana as a Kiva Fellow for the next six months. This blog will NOT be Kiva focused, but rather my trials, tribulations and the forever “What if…I can!” mantra while going in a new direction post-50 years old. Join me, comment, coach, throw ideas at me…and please be patient with me, I am still a newby and learning! (Coaching welcomed!)

Dinner, Gumby and a beer

First cooked meal – with advisor at hand!

*Shout out to Kimberly Cotto!