Starting a Fire in Nairobi


My latest “Diary of a Travel-Diva” article is live!  Read the excerpt below to find out how I managed to start a fire in Kenya last fall.

This is right before the fire broke out.

This is right before the fire broke out.

Well, it was time for me to get to work. I watched my tutor show me how to push down and stir the ugali. It took just about all of my strength to stir the heavy mass of grounded corn and water. I was given a cloth to help me turn the hot pot and the wooden spoon helped me press down the dish over the open fire. Just when I thought I had gotten the hang of it, someone screamed, “It’s burning! It’s burning!” Being new to this ugali business, I held the cloth too far down and it quickly caught on fire! They all laughed as I began to smack the cloth against the brick wall—trying to put out the fire. After a corner of the cloth was burnt to a crisp, the helper took over and completely quieted the flame. By that time, we were all laughing. The young lady said something in Swahili that made everyone roar with laughter. I was puzzled and asked for a translation. Apparently she said, “Now it’s time for someone with some strength to finish this.” I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter too. The young helper was smaller than me, but she demonstrated a lot more strength for that task. She finished stirring the ugali until it was ready to be served. – See more at:

7 thoughts on “Starting a Fire in Nairobi

    1. Yay! Thanks for your support, Keisha! Yes, you’ll have to try it. I think some of our Kenyan brothers and sisters in town make it, so maybe you’ll get a chance to try it.

      The towel started smoking and I was like, whaaat is going on? That was hilarious! They all got a good laugh and I did too, but I sure was embarrassed! Hahaha!

      Thanks again for reading and responding! 🙂


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