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What do volunteers eat on placement?

Food. It’s something every ICS volunteer thinks about before going overseas and for many, sharing meals with their host family is something they’ll never forget.

It’s a great opportunity to bring teams together, it’s something that transcends the language barrier, and – most of the time – it’s something we all enjoy doing.

This World Food Day, we celebrate the diversity of dishes across the world through our volunteers’ eyes – from Nepal’s staple dhal bhat lentil curry to Nicaraguan plantain and cabbage.

1. Plantain, Nicaragua

plantain with cabbage

With Nicaragua known for its fresh flavours and simple meals, ICS volunteers eagerly wait to enjoy plantain served with a cabbage salad for lunch on placement

2. Meethe Chawal (sweet rice), India

rice cooking on a fire

Basmati rice and sugar syrup make up this tasty treat, a traditional dessert prepared and enjoyed by VSO volunteers during the Hindu festival of Dusherra – but it’s the carefully chosen assortment of Indian spices like green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and kesar that makes it flavourful and aromatic

3. Fresh fish, Tanzania

fresh fish

Restless volunteer Becky Mursell snapped this great shot of fresh fish ready to be cooked by her host family in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. But these aren’t from the supermarket – fish of all varieties are instead bought and sold in a huge bustling riverside auction house at the crack of dawn each day!

4. Nshima, Zambia

a female volunteer making nshima

Cooking is a great opportunity for Restless volunteer Elizabeth to bond with her team. In Zambia, nshima, made from maize flour, is the staple dish and is served every meal. Hungry? Better eat some nshima. Feeling ill? You probably haven’t had enough nshima. Low on energy? Nshima is the answer

5. Yam, Ghana

yam on a plate

Ghana’s cuisine differs depending on the different regions of the country, but one staple is available throughout – yam. Volunteers on placement have been learning how to cook the root vegetable – and the results are looking good

6. Dhal bhat, Nepal

curry and rice

Raleigh UK volunteer Philip Howes has been learning to cook dhal bhat, the national dish of Nepal – rice and lentils served with lightly curried cauliflower and a side of roasted tomato, coriander and garlic relish

7. Toast, Zambia

female volunteer making toast

Sometimes you just need those home comforts. Restless volunteer Laura was snapped here improvising in the absence of a toaster as she cooks breakfast at her Zambian host home

Tell us about what interesting food you’re eating today by joining the conversation on TwitterFacebook and Instagram!

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Funded by the UK Government.

ICS is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which projects the UK as a force for good in the world, including reducing poverty and tackling global challenges.

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