I started this story a few days ago, if you want to catch the beginning start here.
I placed both trays of cake batter on a metal sheet and then the head baker carefully set the tray in the opening of the oven. He took a long pole and pushed it back into the oven into “the spot”. It took him a moment or two to find it, but he seemed to be looking for this perfect spot in the oven to bake. He then covered the opening with another metal tray with some kind of contraption that I cannot begin to explain.
I then began waiting on the sidelines of the bakery, to just watch the bakery production. I was in heaven. After a few minutes of standing aganist the wall a plastic chair that was missing its back was brought in for me to sit on. I was really flattered but felt super silly that I was sitting doing nothing, while all the bakers were working so very hard in a very hot bakery. Just sitting in the bakery was enough to make sweat pour down my back. After a few minutes I asked if it was okay if I took a few pictures, and they agreed. I got a bit braver a few minutes later and asked if they would be willing to teach me how to make mendazi and to my great joy, they told me to come back any time and they would be happy to teach me. (there was a small discussion before they agreed about wether I was strong or not, but after I lifted a few trays full of dough I seemed to satisify their doubt) After 25 minutes I asked to take a look at the cake, and the baker brought out his long pole and carefully pulled out the tray with my two cakes on it. I was extremely happy to see that both cakes turned out beautifully. When I looked up from inspecting the cake I realized that everyone in the bakery was huddled around to see what I had asked to bake. A few asked what I called it, and I responded “chocolate cake”. It seemed that most had not heard of chocolate cake, but then they asked me if I could teach them how to make one. I am more than excited to swap skills with my bakery friends in the near future. How great would it be to get my first bakery experience in Juba?!
I told everyone at NP that we would be having cake and drinks around 8:30-9pm that evening and everyone gathered together to celebrate K’s birthday. We were also able to find some whipping cream for icing on the cake. After about a half hour of hand whipping the cream was ready to go on the cake. And the party began. K introduced everyone to a few episodes of Portlandia and a few of his favorite SNL sketches… he was in heaven. The cake turned out better than I had imagined and even K was impressed. By the end of the day I was exhausted, but so glad that K had a special day. A little creativity and adventure paid off in the end. Happy 30th K, I am so happy that you decided to join me in the 30’s.