Carley is a great cook, so I was really excited when she decided to come to Uganda because there was a previous Help volunteer who had built two barrel ovens, but the people didn't know how to use them. So Carley and I decided that we would teach people how to use the ovens, teach them how to bake, and then help them come up with a business plan so they could sell what they bake and make a profit.
It was a lot of work for us, since we had never used barrel ovens, nor had we tried to bake anything in Uganda. But we knew it was possible. The first thing we had to do was find recipes. This was actually really easy - and we found two recipes - one for banana muffins and one for lemon muffins. The sisters at the orphanage where we were going to do these classes really wanted to learn how to make bread, but bread pans were so expensive that it wouldn't make sense to invest in them since the payoff would be so minimal. So we opted for muffin tins and muffin recipes.
Once we had our recipes, we started learning how to use a barrel oven. Kind of complicated, but very simple at the same time. So we set a date with the orphanage, buy wood (from a great guy named Michael), buy the ingredients, and head out to the orphanage. We would almost always take two bodas since we had firewood, and baking supplies loading us down, and we couldn't both fit on one.
Our first time baking was horrible. We didn't buy enough firewood so the oven didn't stay hot enough for long enough, and our muffins (especially the banana ones) didn't rise or bake all the way through. The tops of them were good (and I ate most of them) but we decided to redouble our efforts and try again with more firewood. We purchased double the amount of firewood the second time and the muffins turned out amazing! We hadn't invited the nuns to participate since we wanted to make 100% sure we knew what we were doing - so we shared the muffins afterward and they enjoyed what we had baked. Since we understood it now, we could go back and teach them how to replicate it.
The nuns were so excited to learn how to bake. They had never used recipes like this before, and were in awe with how we measured and mixed things. The nun pictured above was hilarious. She kept mixing and mixing and mixing, even long after we said she could stop. Carley was so good at teaching the classes as well. Teaching someone how to bake is kind of tricky, especially if it is the first time they have ever done it before.
We made both types of muffins with the nuns, and then sat down and had tea with them and enjoyed sampling the muffins. The classes were a huge hit with them, and they were excited to start experimenting and selling the muffins to earn more money for the orphanage. We really liked going there and the sisters were so much fun. We would ask them all sorts of questions about how to adopt children from Uganda, or about their time in the US (one of them had gone to the US to visit a few children that were adopted in Florida and Tennessee - she went to Disney World. Ha! So hilarious). They were so great to talk to and would take a break from their busy schedule to share tea and muffins with us. We tried to set up a few more projects for the summer team to do with them, so hopefully they were able to go back and help build up this orphanage, maybe even teach them a few baking classes as well.