The everybody-knows-him Steve, a Peace Corps volunteer from the ’90s who never went home, owned and operated Mapontela for a while. He married a local woman and he has passed the guest house and restaurant to the family to run.
He basically sits out on the patio of the restaurant (the only place to sit out away from the dust along the whole stretch of Serenje) and drinks beer. We had fun chatting.
I got the beef stew and nshima. The beef stew was boiled beef with some gravy and rather unmemorable and the nshima was ok but the rape was SO delicious. When we got back to Serenje three days later I went back just to visit and get another order of the rape.
Nshima is the food that ALL Zambians have with EVERY meal and often IS the meal. It is a very thick, stiff mush made from corn meal and comes with 1-2-3 side dishes. This side dish is rape, a vegetable similar I think to collard greens.
You are supposed to eat the nshima with your hands. You pick it up with your fingers, roll it into your palm to make a ball, indent the ball, and scoop the relish into the ball. You know me, I always do everything the way you are supposed to but not this time. I am dirty to the deepest depths of every pour and just can’t go hand to mouth with this one.