Today is Blog Action Day, so we have decided to write a little bit about this year’s topic – food! Since coming back to the UK from Ethiopia we have definitely noticed the massive differences when it comes to food, restaurants and shopping.

One of the first things to hit us on coming back to the UK was the overwhelming abundance and choice of food. Shopping in the large supermarkets offered far too much for us to take in, so we only shop in the smaller local stores now and we have tried to cook more of our meals from fresh ingredients, just as we learnt to in Ethiopia. Now we also bake our own bread, make our own pizzas and make home-made jam and cakes. We also eat much more fruit and vegetables than ever before and get eggs from a friend who has chickens. Living in Ethiopia helped us to think about food and cooking and how it was possible to try things that were a bit healthier and tastier.

The Saturday morning trip to the market in Abi Adi was one of the highlights of our week, picking up fresh, organic and cheap fruit and vegetables from the local farmers. Supermarket shopping, with its plastic packaging, air-conditioning and manufactured goods is just not the same. The choice is an impressive luxury, but one of the things we enjoyed about Ethiopia was being able to live happily with what was available on that day, just as most people around the globe often do.

Since we came back, from July onwards, the food crisis in East Africa has become major international news. We never saw any problems in the north of Ethiopia where we were based but we would sometimes see some people participating in food for work safety-net programmes. Here is a map from the BBC News website that highlights the areas in East Africa facing food shortages.

East Africa drought map

So although Ethiopia is commonly associated with food shortages, we enjoyed the food on offer there and the whole food culture in Ethiopia has affected how we now think about what we eat and how we shop. Thank you Ethiopia!

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