Monday, February 13, 2012

Half Marathon

Hello Friends and Family!

I am here in Senegal, giving up two years of comfortable life and the value of whatever work I could be doing in America, in attempts to help the Senegalese help themselves develop into a healthier, more sustainable country. I have not only donated my time, but now I am going one step further and am training to run a half marathon for the cause of women's education. I am now shamelessly, in accordance with Senegalese culture, asking for sponsors for my run.

Students in Senegal have to pay for their education, and although the fee is not substantial, it can become a strain on Senegalese families. The large families sometimes make it necessary for fathers to chose which children they can afford to send to school. Often the education of girls is viewed as superfluous because they are only expected to get married, have children, and take care of household matters. Nothing requiring an education. When you automatically exclude half of the population from your intelligence pool your country lags behind. It's important to tap into all available brainpower in order to solve tough West African development problems. Women's viewpoints are crucial to solving problems like desertification, malnourishment, and poor infrastructure. I am trying to help Senegalese people realize how important keeping their girls in school is, and begin to make that a priority in their lives. The money raised from the race will be used for scholarships that PC volunteers give out throughout Senegal to young, intelligent women who are at risk of being taken out of school. The scholarship pays for the next year's school fee and buys them school supplies. Most importantly it shows their communities that keeping girls in school is a priority. It brings pride to their families and their fathers are more likely to notice the potential in their female children. Their potential to study, learn, earn money, help make important decisions, and help to begin solving some of Senegal's issues.

I am running this half marathon to show my Senegalese community and my friends and family back home how strongly I believe in women's education. If you also believe that this is integral to making a lasting difference in the lives of Senegalese people, or at least trust me that I find this an effective development method, then please donate by using the link below.

Then click on Donate
Fill in credit card information at the prompt
Write: "Marathon for Education" in the comments section so the money comes to us!

The great thing about developing nations is that even nominal donations, like $5 can go so far!

Thank you from all the present and future women in Senegal (me included)!

Nutrition Trainings

Peace Corps loves to promote nutrition trainings. Write that up into your grant proposal or in your semiannual report and they'll smile as they are one number closer to reaching Washington's goal. Nutrition is a problem here, I'm not denying that, and here is why I believe us American volunteers are so qualified to promote better nutrition:
A balanced diet follows the recommendations of the food pyramid. Or wait, maybe that's the reverse pyramid... Either way, base your meals around a grain then add meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and sparse sugar. Unless, of course, you can cut out the grain entirely and supplement with meat. Your body uses proteins quicker than carbs. But red meat can be fatty and can increase cholesterol, so try to eat leaner meats. Check to make sure your fish hasn't been contaminated with mercury. And factory farmed chickens are pumped with hormones. So actually, eat as little meat as possible and have mostly vegetables. Beans are a good source of protein. Eat lots of soy. But maybe not too much for women because it might cause infertility. Just make sure you get all the essential proteins so you don't become anemic. Pair foods like oranges and spinach. Make sure to eat them in the same meal... or maybe at least within the same week. And it's best to eat seasonally so that your food is fresh. And locally to decrease environmental impact and increase sustainability. Turkey is a good source of iron and it's a white meat. In fact, try thinking about eating the rainbow, all the colors, in order to get all your vitamins. Red (but undercooked meat can cause disease), orange, yellow, lots of green, blue, purple might be hard but some candies contain purple 34. Charred black food that's been grilled can increase your risk of cancer. As can being overweight. All you have to do to lose weight is make sure you eat between 26 and 30 points per day. Jenny Craig makes it easy if you limit yourself to three of her ready, just heat and eat, packaged meals per day. And always make sure to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day. You can just drink one of these slim fast shakes if it fits into your busy schedule better. Here's a new flavor with the acai berry. And this one is sugar free, just like this sugar free, calorie free coke. Maybe that's a better way to get your caffeine in the morning than your normal coffee. Getting a mocha latte at Starbucks is like drinking a cinnamon roll, plus it's always better to eat your calories than drink them. But vodka is low calorie and a little red wine might be good for the hear. Olive oil and other 'good' fats also help decrease your risk of heart disease. Check with the Heart Association of America, but be weary of labels used to make you think things are healthy. Salads at MacDonalds have more calories than a burger. Eat this not that. Good fats. Saturated fats. Dietary fiber. Superfruits! Just put some moringa powder in your food, ok?!

My Favorite Part of the Day

When I can lie back on one of the sun warmed cement beds, watching the stars flicker on like lights on a main street, smelling food as they get it ready for dinner. I can listen to the family chatter away and I finally smell clean and have on unstained clothes. My body can relax after what was hopefully a long day in gardens and a refreshing run. It's the one time of day I can be outside and not worried about the sun or be slick with sunscreen. The day is cooling down and the breeze is comforting if not cooling. This is when I am most content.

Reasons to be Terrified of Frogs

- Cows, donkeys, horses, they all have 4 legs. Frogs have 4 legs. Cows, donkeys, etc. they are fast, but frogs, they are slow...
- They jump into burning fires.
- If someone puts a spell on you then a frog can jump into your chest and your stomach will grow huge. Then the frog will move back and fourth in your stomach, giving you horrible pains.