Goat BBQ on the menu

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Hello again – hope you’re all feeling fine after Christmas celebrations and that you had the opportunity to celebrate in a fashion to your liking.

I’m stlll here in Tanzania enjoying my last few days at the Econef centre in Kingori. Holidays were celebrated in the company of 16 kids enjoying food, dance and play.

 Saturday December 26 was a big day – all the kids were coming out to the site (the currently live in Leganga, with Caroline, but will move here as soon as the houses are up) to inaugurate the new playground. An event they have been talking about for day, not least the new basketboll court. They arrived in two rounds, our driver Saidi could only fit 8 at a time in the car – first the eldest (ages 10-16) that arrived early, before 9 am. Saidi had barely stopped the car before the jumped out and ran towards swings, slides, monkeywalk and balance, threw themselves over it. I have never heard them laugh so hard and run so fast! An hour later, the rest of the kids came – they’re younger and approached the playground first with hesitation, then wonder  – exploring these new toys, not knowing exactly what to do with them. But that hesitation didn’t last long – soon the elder kids initiated them in the wonders of swinging and sliding.

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The second big thing today was the food – Goat BBQ. Here in Tanzania they love meat, and especially goat, so for the occasion I had bought them one. That in itself is an adventure for me! I was meant to get it at the market but as it turned out we could get one delivered from a guy in the village.

Buying goat

One of our neighbours, Dickie, came to execute the slaughter and cooking, together with Mama Godi, who also lives with Caroline and the kids – a wonder of a woman: always calm, kind and patient with a natural authority that could make  any teacher green with envy.  She cooks, cleans, helps out where need be. I tell you, in my opinion she is one of the reasons the center runs so smoothly. Never irritated, never needs to raise her voice.

The third big thing today was the arrival of Charlotte Lindqvist and her family. Charlotte founded Econef together with Caroline is one of the driving forces behind this organisation. The kids love  her and have been asking for days: “When is Charlotte coming?  When? Where is she now?” Finally, she arrived – they flocked around her and hugged like they hadn’t seen her in years! The party could begin.

Here’s how to make a Goat BBQ:

1 – Buy a goat.

2- Invite all your friends.

3- Find a neighbour to execute the slaughter and cooking so all is done correctly. 

4- Dig a hole in the ground, preferably under the shade of a tree.

Mama Godi with volonteer Louisa Tornberg

5 – Bring out the charcoal

26 December12 7 – Fill the hole with choals and light them26 December10.Put a grid on top for the meat. 

8 – While the choal heats up: cut up the meat, save the best pieces for to BBQ and the rest for the Pilau. Let nothing go to waste – use all, kidneys, liver, heart, throat…the lot.  

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9 -While the meat os on the BBQ, make a Pilau: rice, oil, salt, vegetables and meat.

10 – Pilau: make up a fire and fill a pot with water, bring to boil, add rice, coconutmilk, onion and the cut up meat. Boil until all is ready.

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10 – While the food is cooking – hang out, chat, enjoy the shade.


 11 – Grill vegetables for the vegetarians (we deeply appreciate it!).

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12 – When food is ready, call everyone to the table, make sure they wash their hands.

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13 – Eat!

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All of a sudden, the kids went completely quiet – focused on the eating. There was not a scrap left!

Hopefully your guests will have brought some amazing chocolate cakes and plenty of fruits to complete the meal.



Fried Rice Econef style

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The kids at Econef (and all over Tanzania as I understand it) have all of December off or Christmas holidays, which means a lot of free time. The younger ones are mostly left at the house with Louisa, the volonteer, to play and tend to their assigned tasks – watering plants, feeding the chicken, sweeping the courtyard, helping out with the cooking. The two eldest boys, Brian who is 16 and Farajah who is 15, come out the the building site where also the farm is located to help out. It’s a pleasure to watch them working so confidently with the animals – feeding them, cleaning their sheds, caring for them. They seem to like it and take pride in it. It makes me reflect on kids at home – do they learn what I call ”life skills” ? A child that knows how to grow food, care for farm animals and cook will have great tools for life no matter what happens. Every child should learn this is what I think. I didn’t learn to care for animals but I did learn the other stuff and it gives me a sense of security and respect for life, the people around me and for the food I eat.

Anyway- as lunch time approaches Farajah comes in to the kitchen to prepare lunch for us (us being Caroline, Saiidi the driver, me, Brian and himself). Todays’ lunch menu is…Fried Rice. And – since I want to share the daily life here I asked him to show me how he cooks this dish so I can share it with you. He approves, he likes to show me how to do things, he’s very methodical and a good teacher. So, here we go, Fried rice a la Econef:

1 – Pour out the rice on a tray. Make sure to pick out any dirt or pieces of sand or stone.

Rensa bort eventuellt skräp ur riset. Typ små stenar och sånt.

2- Rinse it.

3 – Chop onion and tomato.

Hacka tomater och lök.

4 – Put some cooking oil (we use corn oil) in a pan, turn on the heat, when hot, add the chopped vegetables and some salt. Loer the heat and leave until the onion is getting soft.


5 – Measure the rice and pour it into the pot. Add equal amount of hot water. Stir.


6 – Add some coconut milk, or, as in this case, coco nut milk powder.


7 – Add more water as it gets absorbed by the rice. Stir – you don’t want it to burn. Let it simmer under a lid.

78 – Lift the lid every once in a while to stir and to check the rice.


9 – The dish is ready when the rice is soft.

Brian who is hungry hovers in the window.

He lights up when the food is ready, Farajah serves him a plate with a heap or rice – the size of portion only a teenager can eat! They put ketchup on it and sit down on the steps to eat.


Two kittens, that uninvited have moved here and always stick around the house, stay close to them, screaming for food and attention. They greedily eat what is spilled on the floor.

Undra på att katterna bosatt sig här.

I ask what the young men what professions they dream of in the future: Farajah wants to be an engineer and Brian a pilot. I am eager to follow them on their journey and see what the future has in store for them. Whatever happens, I know that they are two kind, goodhearted, smart, curious guys who live in a loving home and know how to cook, grow food and care for a farm. They speak good English and get a good schooling for now. I pray they will get the opportunity to continue their education as they grow up.

We are all happy with the meal and they go off to play for a while.

Good words to know in Swahili:

Tomato – Nyanya

Onion – Kitunguu

Rice, uncooked – Mchele

Ris, cooked– Wali

All best, Lisen


A watch dog for Econef!

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Let’s buy a watch dog! Here’s the situation:

Econef childrens center, where I am currently staying, is located a good hour from the nearest town, Arusha. Far out in the country at the foot of Himalaya, a perfect place for a farm and for children to play.


The childrens center emerges!
The childrens center emerges!

Caroline Nicholas, the founder of Econef, has inherited the land from her father and forefathers, and it has belonged to the family for generations. The building of this site means a lot of valuable work for the local builders who also seem to be very proud to be a part of the project and excited to create a future for the kids and bring life to the area.

But of course there are risks involved – a building site contains a lot of valuable tools and materials, plus there are animals and their fodder lying around so the risk of theft is huge. At night we have a watchman to keep an eye on things but it is not enough. Caroline feels we need a watchdog and is dreaming of buying one, she has even picked one out at the kennel. The search for a competent trainer who can also become the new watchman is on and there is good hope to find one very soon.

The puppy is two months old and of course very adorable and seems to be in good health. If all goes as planned the dog will be old enough and trained by Mars / April when it can move here! There’s just one thing…she needs money to buy it SO this is where you come in – why don’t we all pitch in and give it to her for Christmas? All that is needed is 250 dollars. It’s not much and every donation counts! If you are interested please leave me your contacts in the message field and I’ll give you the details.

All donors will get a beautiful Thank You card to put on the wall as proof of your generosity. I need to solve this before December 30 when I leave for my next destination.

Let’s do this! Wouldn’t it be cool to contribute to make Econef a safe place for children and the animals at the farm so the center becomes a safe place where kids and animals can thrive and feel safe in the way that every living being has a right to?

Giving is living!