Easter is looming and this year I’ve had the foresight to buy eggs as I see them in the shops rather than wait until the last minute.
Easter eggs in Dar es Salaam were always scarce. Chocolate generally had a white powdery sort of sheen, and tasted ‘grainy’. I think this was due to the heat, humidity and the chocolate melting in containers at the port, then re chilling in shops (power cuts permitting). Overall; disappointing.
The first year of living in Kenya I was thrilled to see a fantastic array of chocolate eggs in the shops, but in my wisdom, I decided to buy mine ‘nearer the time’. Unfortunately, the week before Easter they were all but sold out. We missed out on delights such as cream eggs and ended up with a few lower quality eggs with the familiar grainy taste.
Last year, on a whim, we decided to drive down to the Kenya coast for Easter weekend. First mistake ‘drive’; the nine hour drive each way for a three nights was far too much; second mistake; Eastertime at the coast is the hottest and most humid time of year, which we knew full well but decided to ignore this as the fear of ‘doing nothing’ at home was worse.
I thought that a small tin ‘Winnie the pooh’ bucket with two small choc eggs, some mini marshmallows, colouring pencils and note pad for each child would be sufficient, with a treasure hunt to find them including Easter bunny clues. This, I thought, would neatly sidestep problems transporting too much melty chocolate and of staying in a place with no fridge. As a result, last year Easter was a unmitigated damp squib. The baby was sick. We forgot to write Easter bunny clues until just before the search, so as a result we got comments like; ‘why are these clues written in Daddy’s writing?’ immediately. We were all sweating copiously, hot and irritable. My eldest daughter discovered that the bucket was in fact empty and the sweets were balanced on top of a clear plastic cover. She also commented; ‘Winnie the Pooh is a bit babyish’ and ‘I’ve never had an Easter where I’ve finished all the sweets before lunchtime’. In addition, my husband was cross because he didn’t get any chocolate. When we got home, I envisaged re doing the Easter hunt, saying ‘Oh look, the Easter bunny came here by mistake, he didn’t know we had gone away’ – but could I find a single chocolate egg in the Nairobi shops? Could I hell!
This year I’ve stocked up good and early and we are off on safari to Northern Tanzania, where the clement highlands climate is sympathetic to Easter eggs. My latest stress is what kind of chocolate gifts to give the staff to take home to their kids? Eggs, or will little foil covered bunny faces do? Or should I get more for my money and give double the number of chocolate éclairs instead? I think I’ve settled on bunny faces, but do I have enough to go round?
(p.s. our gardener and nanny who live in the same street were up all last night whilst a gang ran riot and turned over their local shop, probably looking for some Easter money – so you can see that even poorer areas suffer from crime and not just the expats – it’s a universal problem)