Trying something new…
Traveling anywhere, whether it is within the United States or to another country, affords one the opportunity to be a tad bit adventurous with respect to food. Each destination across the globe offers its own perspective on fine and casual dining. While in Angola we have not been to adventurous, but we have tried a few things outside of the norm for our ‘soft’ American stomachs. Our first chance to get a little crazy came on our road-trip from Luanda to Malange. After a few hours in the car we were due a break, so Rev. Cassule pulled into a little developed area alongside the road…. on the lunch menu for the day, an Angolan staple, Funge accompanied by boiled pork parts in some sort of sauce. Funge de bombo, I’ve read, is a bit more common in northern Angola and is a paste, or porridge of cassava, made from cassava flour. Funge is a bit gelatinous in consistency and gray in color with an interesting taste that lingers for a spell… it was great to try, but for me, might be an acquired taste that may take some getting used to. The Funge was a bit more palatable when we dipped it in the pork juice but was still a bit of a stretch after a night of air travel and a long morning car ride.
Since our arrival, our daily meal routine has involved toast with butter and jelly for breakfast; grilled chicken, rice, and French fries for lunch; and grilled chicken, rice, and French fries for dinner…. two times we have had fish with our rice and fries, and a few days in we started having chick peas mixed into our rice…. several times Trish has cooked up a one-pot mixture of black beans and meat, probably pork and chorizo.
The few times we have ventured out for meals we have enjoyed hamburgers with fries and an egg built in, a bean-pork-rice dish, and most recently a trip to a buffet for some ‘spaghetti’ that was made special for us. On at least two occasions, we have strolled over to the nearby Café Fenix for a soda and pudding or mousse… today we were treated to a pasta pouch stuffed with chicken to accompany our mid-afternoon soda break. As far as drinks go, we’ve consumed copious amounts of bottled water, canned soda, a bit of mango juice, and few coffees for Jeremy and Kristen.
On the topic of hospitality, we have been treated extremely well… Alcides and Andre have toted us around from place to place, the Bishop has taken time to meet with us and has exhibited a great deal of care and concern for our well-being, and the folks at Ana Ingles’ house have been extremely focused on creating a hospitable environment for us… they have cooked for us, cleaned our space daily, greeted us each morning with happy hearts, and have sent off and welcomed us home from our adventures with big smiles and lots of Portuguese words.
Many times over we have been introduced as representatives of the Yellowstone Conference and each time we have been warmly welcomed and treated like valued guests. It seems as if hospitality around these parts is a universal language and way of being… except perhaps from the guard at the governor’s palace that was less than impressed by my attempt at a photo op inside one of the guard stations. We have been overwhelmed by the graciousness of our hosts and we are hopeful that we are representing the Yellowstone Conference, and our partnership with the East Angola Conference, to the best of our ability.