Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with John R. Ratigan
RATIGAN: Our cook had been a cook for a number of western teachers at the school. So he had a few dishes that he did very well, or did consistently anyway. One of them was spaghetti. We had spaghetti with meat sauce so often that when we came back to the States we never wanted to have spaghetti again. The other thing we had for lunch day after day was grilled cheese tomato and bacon sandwiches. I don't think I have ever had another one since. But he also made chocolate cake. You know, we had a stove with a gas oven; he made a pretty good chocolate cake. This was at a time when the boat steamers, the lake steamers were still going around Lake Victoria, much like the steamer you may have seen in the movie African Queen. There was a group of three boats that would go around to about six or seven ports on the lake, some in Kenya, some in Uganda, and some in Tanzania. It was the way people traveled from one place to another. The roads were very rough or non existent in some of these areas. So you get second class, where you would sleep out on the deck, or first class, where there were a few rooms. The boats would leave at about 10:00 at night and get into the next port the next morning at 7:00. So on these boats came the products of the British dairy in Kisumu in Kenya. So twice a week we would get butter, bacon and fresh milk. All of it would come in on a lake steamer. So we made it a point to try and be at the stores downtown when the lake steamers came around. We were really lucky to have access to these diary and meat products each week.
Q: This was as you said in the early period after independence of not only Tanzania, but Kenya and Uganda as well.
Q: And the three countries had its prior heritage of East Africa common services so to speak. Did you travel to the other two countries? Was it sort of easy to get around?