A taste of Africa

Over the last few years I’ve sampled foods from around Africa. One of my absolute favorite foods on the continent is from West Africa.  It’s called Jollof.  When I would travel to Ghana, this is always what I would order – with some fried plantains on the side.    Jollof is basically a one dish meal.  I recently found a recipe for it.  I haven’t tried this recipe, yet, but maybe you’ll want to try it to get a taste of Africa!

Print Recipe


Jollof rice with chicken

A delicious West African dish with an easy base which can be used for soups or sauces.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: African

Prep Time: 10 Min

Cook Time: 1 Hr

Total Time: 1 Hr 10 Min

Serves: 4


  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into large pieces (optional)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion halved and sliced
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 chicken stock cube or vegetable stock cube
  • 2 c basmati rice (400 g)
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and thickly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper deseeded and thickly sliced
  • 1 c okra halved (100 g)
  • 1 bunch Cilantro roughly chopped, to serve

For ginger and chilli base

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 15 oz cans plum tomatoes (400g cans in metric)
  • 1 thumb-size piece fresh root ginger
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli deseeded


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large deep frying pan over a high heat then add the meat and fry for about 5 mins till golden all over. Lift out of the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 mins. While the onions cook, make the ginger and chilli base. Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chilli into a food processor or blender and whizz till smooth.
  3. Add the tomato purée to the onions, fry for another 2 mins then add the ginger and chilli mix. Crumble in the stock cube, stir then pour in 600ml (about 2 2/3 cups) boiling water. Add the chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.
  4. Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and use your hands to wash the grains. Tip the water out then repeat twice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer then cover with foil and a lid (so no steam can escape) and cook for 20 mins.
  5. Take the lid off (the rice won’t be cooked yet) then scatter the peppers and okra over the rice. Re-cover and cook for 10 mins until the veg is softened and the rice tender. Just before serving, mix the veg through and scatter over cilantro (coriander).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 705
Fat: 15g
Cholesterol: 3g
Sodium: 1.73g
Sugar: 15g
Carbohydrate: 98g
Fiber: 5g
Protein: 51g

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Consulting with GILLBT

Photo by Elaine Bombay

I’m on the final leg of my West Africa trip.  I’ve been meeting with GILLBT (Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation).  We’ve been working together on a strategy for external publicity in Ghana.  Basically, thinking about how to raise awareness in Ghana about opportunities for involvement in Bible translation and related work.

This is a good group.  I’ve mostly just posed questions and let them discuss the issues raised.  We’ve discussed organizational identity, messaging, and projecting the right image.  About a year ago we began this discussion, but there wasn’t enough time for us to go to this level of detail.

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World Cup Frenzy!


From Kenya to South Africa to Ghana to Czech Republic to Germany–we’ve seen World Cup fever everywhere!  This was our first time to really experience World Cup excitement.  I don’t remember it being a very big deal at home. So many people everywhere else we’ve been these last few months were into it that we both found ourselves checking the scores and watching some parts of games.

We were in South Africa in late February during the lead up to the games and saw two of the game venues (Soccer City in Soweto and Green Point Stadium in Cape Town).  Preparations for the World Cup were still in full swing and many shops were already full of World Cup souvenirs.

I was in Ghana during the first week of the World Cup.  A street was blocked off downtown for a screen and projector set up for game viewing.  While I waited at the Accra, Ghana airport for my flight back to Kenya, the England vs. USA match was on.  Everyone cheered every time a goal was scored.

In Austria at the meetings we attended there, we both saw some of the Germany vs. Ghana game at Schloss Klaus.  Nearly everyone in the castle was watching the game…and cheering for Germany.


We saw World Cup fans in Prague watching the South Korea vs. Uruguay game on two large screens set up in the middle of Old Town Square.  In addition to this viewing, many restaurants also had TVs for game viewing.

A highlight of this World Cup for us was being in Berlin the day the German soccer team beat England.  We were there after our meetings in Austria and after a brief visit in Czech Republic.


Wow, the city was alive.   We’ve never seen so many people so psyched about winning a soccer game.  We were just walking around town, but we could hear people in their homes, at restaurants and at other viewing points cheer every time Germany scored.  We enjoyed being part of their celebrations.

Congratulations to Spain for winning the tournament!

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Dying in Design

I’ve heard those stories in the US about a wealthy person or celebrity being buried in their favorite car or taking their favorite golf club to the grave.

In city of Teshie in Ghana, you can also be buried in a car…


…or rather a coffin shaped like a car or a truck


…or a pineapple, or a fish, camera, bottle of coke–whatever you want!

Teshie is the home of design or fantasy coffins, also called Abebuu adekai (boxes with proverbs) in a local language.  These amazing creations began with designer Seth Kane Kwei in the 1950s.  Since then, these coffin creations have been showcased not only in many funerals in Ghana, but also in museums around the world.  Someone said that when Jimmie Carter came to Ghana, that he put in an order. I could see why he might.


Our friend Ommani from Nairobi tried out the ice-cream sundae coffin. I wanted to try the Canon camera one, but alas, the lining hadn’t yet been put in.

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Planning with GILLBT


I’ve been in Accra, Ghana this week participating in a workshop about comprehensive planning.  Mostly, I’ve been listening to and learning from my Kenyan colleagues and an American colleague who are the trainers on this new method of planning our organization is implementing.  However, I also came to help by doing a presentation on communicating with external publics.

This new way of planning that is being implemented encourages our organizations to think more about planning on a bigger level, often on a country or regional level, as opposed to often planning on the language community level.  It’s also exciting because our teams are being encouraged to build stronger connections with new and existing organizational partners and include them in their plans and planning processes.


This workshop is being done for our Ghanaian organization called GILLBT (Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation), so that they can make preparations to do this type of planning.  What we hope for through this process is that language communities in this country and other locations working on these plans will receive scriptures in their languages quicker and that more attention will be able to be given to their wholistic needs beyond language including things like education, agriculture, and health.

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