This Sunday my niece will be 23 years old, but I can close my eyes and still see her as a little girl: cheeks flushed, damp hair against her neck, smelling sweet and salty from the New Mexico sun.
She was a fierce little thing. You didn’t want to get in her way and you wanted to keep her fed: hunger fed the fierceness.
Those two things about her haven’t really changed much, but the fierceness is now more focused and the hunger more controlled.
She’s out there in the world, making her way and she’s making it well. It’s a fine thing to see, and yet bittersweet, too – right? We want to go back or stay still just for a little while, but that’s not how it goes.
For Number Two Niece
Since her birthday is Sunday
I wrote these haikus
(Kinda funny, right?)
But seriously, folks:
She runs on ahead
In Converse and hair flying
We watch, glad hearted
The days will go by
They won’t wait, they won’t go slow
So years go by too.
This concludes our foray into Haikus, I believe. Though, I don’t know; they’re kinda cool.
Happy Birthday Number Two Niece and Happy Weekend All!
Sweet potatoes are happening. They’re all the rage, right? Sweet potato fries at your favorite fast food stop and on the appetizer menu at your favorite happy hour – served with a chipotle aioli, of course.
If you’re not a fan, I suggest giving one of these hash dishes a try. You can get all spicy Santa Fe-style with cumin, cilantro and green chiles, or fall for a combination of the sweet potatoes with apples and cranberries, toasted pecans and cheddar cheese. Not to mention the bacon.
Sweet potatoes are better than I remember. Better tasting, better for you, better for me and better for all.
So good, in fact, ONE – the grassroots advocacy organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by raising public awareness – is aiming to get nutrition on the global agenda and they’re talking sweet potatoes to get it done.
Consider the project called Mama SASHA: Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa. This five year project’s goal is to boost the health and nutrition of pregnant women and young children by linking nutrition education, sweet potato cultivation and antenatal care.
Why promote the cultivation of the sweet potato? 43 million children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk for vitamin A deficiency, which leads to blindness, disease and premature death. The beta-carotene in the orange-fleshed sweet potato, which the body converts into vitamin A, can literally change and save lives.
ONE calls on world leaders to help save 25 million of the world’s poorest children from chronic malnutrition by 2016 and for each country to make a measurable, meaningful commitment to a portion of this global goal.
So go ahead and mash ‘em, fry ‘em or throw them in a pie to raise awareness of the one billion who suffer from chronic malnutrition:
Make this hash and maybe win a prize: take a pic and post on Instagram using the hashtag #recipe4change.
Between now and WORLD FOOD DAY on October 16, ONE is collecting recipes – you may get yourself published in their sweet potato cookbook.
Continue reading “Sweet Potato Hash On the Menu“…»
Watch Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
on PBS Oct 1 & 2.
The documentary follows journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, along with celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eve Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde across 10 countries, to tell the inspiring stories of some incredibly courageous women and girls who are living through unimaginable circumstances but struggling bravely to change them. From Cambodia, Kenya, Somaliland, India, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Livery and the US come these stories – “Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer an actionable blueprint for transformation”.(www.halftheskymovement.org).
“Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds — present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. All over the world women are seizing this opportunity”. (www.pbs.org).
More about the Half the Sky Movement from www.halftheskymovement.org:
“The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution.”
For 30 days leading up to the premiere of the 4 hour series based on the book from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Krisof and Sheryl WuDunn, the organization has been offering downloads of music from legendary female musicians who support the Half the Sky Movement. I missed a few and am hoping there will be a cd available soon. Two songs are special standouts for me – from two always-amazing singers : Bonnie Raitt’s God Only Knows and Patty Griffin’s Mary.
We rode on their backs across America to explore and settle our country. They cleared our forests and plowed our fields and pulled our wagons to new homesteads. They worked in mines, never seeing the light of day, and ran for miles and hours to carry goods and people and communicate ideas across civilizations. As recent as the war in Afghanistan, we’ve rode them to battle; indeed, they’ve died by the millions for man’s wars. We ride them for sport and profit and pleasure. We even ride them for therapy, having seen breakthroughs with autistic children and adults through the use of equine therapy, as well as for returning soldiers with various injuries, including PTSD. These beasts of burden, with their ability to understand subtle commands and their innate desire to obey, helped build civilizations and shape history.
© Sekdo | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Last year, we drove more than 100,000 of these loyal animals across our borders with Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered, this despite the fact that American horses are not bred or raised for food. The meat is exported to Europe and Asia where horse meat is considered a delicacy.
This is one of those facts that falls into my category of: “Did you know about this? Because I didn’t know about this”. I’ve since learned that the slaughter of horses is a fairly complicated and controversial issue, with slaughter proponents (yes, there are individuals and organizations who can claim that title) even using animal welfare as an argument for slaughter.
Let me state up front I’m against slaughtering horses. I agree with the majority of Americans who feel horses share a favored status in this country, along with cats and dogs. While it can be made complicated and is truly a complex issue, the bottom line, I believe, is simple: If we don’t raise a domesticated animal for food – from birth – then that animal should not be slaughtered for human consumption.
“American horses are not bred as a food animal in the U.S. and they are named, tamed, and trained as companion animals, work animals, therapy animals, athletes and many other recreational activities. They have learned to trust in humans and to slaughter them for their meat is a betrayal to animals regarded as companion animals. Americans don’t eat their pets. Non-food animals are humanely euthanized in the US, not slaughtered.” Equine Welfare Alliance Position Paper, GAO Submission – Horse Welfare.
Additionally, since horses are non-food animals, (so designated by the USDA), they are often administered drugs throughout their lives that make their meat unfit for human consumption. Horse meat a delicacy? Indeed.
Before I continue with more detail, let me warn you that some of the links for more information include videos of very disturbing footage documenting the inhumane treatment of horses, not only inside slaughterhouses but also during transport. If you don’t wish to continue reading, I hope that you’ll consider raising your voice as a voting citizen and contact your senators and representative to lobby to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966). This bill will prohibit horse slaughter from returning to the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter.
Continue reading “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? No, It’s Worse Than That“…»