Musty and I entered a smoke-filled kitchen and immediately found the cause of the stench, our chips oil had been forgotten on the fire. Lifting the pan with a dirty dish towel, I slowly made my way out of the kitchen with the boiling oil and was doing well, until I hit our kitchen step, causing the oil to bubble up on to the fingers of my left hand. Immediately I threw the whole pan down and backed away, screaming and jumping and teaching wide-eyed Mustafa a whole new “American” vocabulary. After several minutes of blowing, water pouring, and colorful metaphors, the twin sized second-degree burns stared at me from my left hand just as a smaller second degree burn I sustained 4 days before from a pot of boiling water peeked up at me from my left wrist.
After we had settled down to eat our now soggy chips and salsa, and between jumping up and down to the door to take phones from the villagers who had the courage to climb back on my porch, my student, collapsed in his chair from the excitement, looked up at me with nothing but the most endearing sincerity, and stated, “Mwalimu, perhaps it best if you give up cooking in Tanzania”.