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The joy of cheese

January 19, 2013

We’ve been doing trips to East Africa for 11 years now of varying length (8 months, 3 months, and this one, a record of 15 months now) and over that time many people have asked us what we miss from the UK whilst being out here (serious answers like friends, family, and our church excluded).

Since our first day in Africa (9th Jan 2001) the answer has almost always been the same. Cheese.

I’m not sure why. I don’t obsess over it when in the UK – in fact I rarely progress past Tesco own-brand cheddar. But something about being out here just makes us want to eat cheese.

It’s probably related to the fact that we can’t get it at all here. Anything in Uganda that tastes even a little bit like cheese is prohibitively expensive. Anything that has cheese on the label that you can afford has no right to call itself cheese. Awful doesn’t begin to describe it.

Once, back in 2001, we stayed with a wealthy British landowner running a private game ranch in Central Kenya. We had a lot of cheese there. A few weeks later it emerged that Prince William had gone there just days after we had. I always like to think we ate all his cheese that day, and left him sorely disappointed.

For obvious reasons (like 4 months sitting in Ugandan customs) it’s not a smart idea to mail cheese out here. And you’re technically not allowed to bring it out in a suitcase either, although some visitors have bravely smuggled some in for us.

So, you can imagine our delight when one of visitors last week, who I won’t name in case customs are reading, pulled this (see pic) bad boy out of his bag. We’ve had a terrible weeks power along with soaring temperatures which means most things in our fridge have gone off, but the cheese is holding on well and, amongst the occasional downs of living here, it has been a great source of joy to us in recent days. It’ll be a sad, sad day when we finish off that Double Gloucester with chives. Image


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