Nyama Choma is recommended as one of 10 Things to Do in Nairobi by Times. Luckily, it was well planned by my colleague from Mazingira House. Briefly, this semester I stay in Nairobi for internship in International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). I am part of project in Laboratory of Livestock System and Environment, the name of building that I work everyday is Mazingira House (Mazingira itself means environment in Swahili). So what is Nyama Choma? Literary, it is translated as barbecued meat. Here, in Nairobi they serve goat meat as main preference of Kenyan instead of beef, pork, or lamb.
My supervisor John Goopy sent an invitation via email couple days before. Sunday afternoon, we agreed to meet up in John's house and managed transportation for all people. We were totally 15 people and divided into 4 cars. Jesse, one of PhD student who knows the location said that the distance is around 15-20 km. Here we came along on convoy. I was sitting in John's car behind his wife, Christina. We had fruitful chat about my first week of settlement. We were heading south-west part of city to the up country, that is the term to explain other area except center of Nairobi. Convoy passed through main road of Nairobi National Park right when John and Christina realized that we've been driving for 45 minutes, sure thing it's more than 20 km outside Nairobi.
Driving on Sunday was so quiet until hilly road almost near to the restaurant that we headed to. Finally, we arrived in Olepolos after 1.5 hours. Everybody was seems a bit grumpy and complaining to Jesse. We were not just hungry but sadly our tummy was empty. Anyway, it was worth trip to reach this cozy lunch desk with marvelous view!
|Olepolos Resort and Lounge|
While waiting for another couple of minutes, cold drinks were provided to chill us out. We started casual chat. John claimed that he has never ever found Kenyan restaurant in the other part of the world. Jesse argued that Kenyan are too busy to expand business abroad. So, the next topic was discussing about Kenyan life. Jesse narrated a story about how Kenyan guy should be ready to marry a girl. He fluently explained stereotype of girl based on their origin. The culture is demanding here, for example a girl with high school degree should be married by rich guy who can afford to "pay" higher for her "down payment" exclude cost of wedding ceremony, future house, etc. Seriously, he did use that words to describe the situation, we were kind of talking about property contract. Guess the next questions that came up such as "Does it guarantee your marriage life?"; "Does love exist here?"; "What is the job of your wife then?"
Some topics were following to be discussed, a good new thing to know for me as newbie. Kenyan from different part of county and their specific capability for instance as witchcraft who can hypnotize a herd of cattle. This one is a skill that we need to handle Boran heifers during the experiment. We were stick to the seat until our meal was ready to serve. A waitress brought grill set and tray full of carbohydrate source. There were ugali (mixed starch from maize, a typical of Kenya food), potato chips, chapatti (Indian bread), and kenyaji (mashed potato with pumpkin leave and corn seed). This is it, Kenyan cuisine mainly is made of meat and starch. Without spoon and fork, we ate with hands to sort meat from its bone. Salt and kachumbari (mixture of onion, tomato, sometimes chili) were served to spice up the grilled meat.
We were all satisfied by Nyama Choma. Although it was first time for me, overall I could say that the goat meat was well cooked. One thing that attracted me was a guy with colorful cloths and wood stick walking around the restaurant. Those sticks are handy craft that usually use to lead cattle herd to grazing area. He sells it for tourist, while Klaus (Researcher, Head of Laboratory) considered to use it since there are many students at office. In the end, we didn't buy any then decide to go home. Suddenly, we heard a group of people were singing and dancing. They are Maasai People, local population in Kenya and Tanzania. Wearing ethnic clothes with some traditional instruments, they moved around table to entertain the customers. Later, I got an information that the restaurant is nearby Maasai Village and Anthropology Museum of Kenya.
That day, I noted another place to visit in Kenya and would do come to explore more about Maasai both its culture and nature. I was thankful for tranquil Sunday evening before hit out the experiment on the next Monday.
|A Group of Maasai People Entertained Customers|