the joys of social sponsoring
Though it sounds vaguely reminiscent of addiction support groups, social sponsoring is actually a way for foreign services officers, who are picking up their lives every two years to move to another corner of the world, to feel at home when they arrive in a new place. Having settled in and gotten a good feel for Nairobi, we decided to volunteer to be social sponsors for one of the newly arriving FSOs. This entailed emailing with him to answer questions before arrival, stocking his house with groceries and a home cooked meal, showing him around town, taking him grocery shopping, and helping him navigate the Embassy systems when questions arise. Social sponsoring also afforded us a good opportunity to check out what Nairobi has to offer in the way of tourism.
Our social sponsoree arrived a week ago Thursday and had barely gotten over his jet lag when we took him to Brown’s Cheese Factory last weekend. Located just outside of Nairobi, Brown’s is a small family-run farm that has been producing quality artisanal cheeses for the last thirty plus years. We are not the only ones who think this is the best cheese in Kenya – Brown’s has won international recognition, with top prizes at last year’s South African Dairy Championship, and the farm even earned an invitation to represent Africa at the Fancy Food Show in New York City.
We got a tour of the factory and aging rooms, complete with an explanation of the cheese-making process. There was also time to just hang out, walk around the gardens, and even feed the dairy cows. The highlight of the visit was the cheese tasting, which was accompanied with home-made chutneys, wine, and fresh-baked bread. It was utterly divine and excessively filling so we were a bit taken aback when the cheese platters gave way to a three-course meal. The best part is that Brown’s makes the visitor feel right at home: we literally dined in the owner’s dining room on biodynamic food (a step up on organic) that is grown right in their yard. D was so enraptured with the meal that he wanted to make brunch at Brown’s a weekly outing.