While rummaging through old boxes for baby photos of my daughter’s school project, I found pictures from my early 20s, volunteering abroad in South and Central America. Working in remote areas serving the poorest of the poor in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, I realized very quickly that part of my life mission would be dedicated to fighting extreme global poverty.
While living one summer in Bolivia, I mainly volunteered in an elementary school doing whatever it was that needed to be done — including administering routine lice checks. One of my most favorite things to do was to make home visits to the families of some of the students. Most of the families lived in corrugated metal shacks with dirt floors and no running water, bathroom, or kitchen amenities. Yet, these were some of the most content joyous people I have ever met.
That one summer living abroad would impact my global perspective on the importance of living a life beyond me. When I returned to the US, I made a decision to move abroad permanently with the intent of working in a third world country. As I was figuring out the logistics of making this happen, I decided to volunteer in a teen homeless shelter in Seattle. This is where I met my husband. Sharing the same passion and vision, together we would go to Guatemala and Nicaragua multiple times with teams of people to assist indigenous people impacted by civil war through sustainable agriculture and community building.
The non-profit agency we partnered with specialized in purchasing land in remote mountainous areas throughout Latin America and would help these families become self sustaining through agriculture and craft driven businesses. Since then, my desire has always been to get involved with non-profit organizations focused on compassion, justice and advocacy in global regions of extreme poverty.
During this last year I’ve been discussing with my husband my desire to go abroad in short-term spurts again. Not knowing how and when it would happen, I was thrilled when I was invited to go to Ethiopia with ONE. I will be going with a group of 10 influential women from across the globe as part of the ONE Moms team. The purpose of our trip is to meet with women, families, and farmers to listen to (and share their) stories as they share glimpses of their lives with us. We will also be visiting health clinics to better understand the health care needs and struggles among the people in the area.
ONE.org is not about raising funds through awareness. Instead, ONE (and ONE Moms) is an advocacy group seeking your VOICE to work towards policy changes at government levels.
My travel immunizations are up-to-date and I have malaria medicine sitting on my nightstand ready to be packed. I leave next week knowing I will not return to the States the same. I’m looking forward to emerging myself in Ethiopian culture and experiencing an adventure of a lifetime.
I’m inviting you to partner with ONE through the ONE Moms Mission by signing up and lending your voice.
Lastly, I would like to bring to your attention ONE’s campaign, Thrive. Thrive focuses on nutrition, addressing the root causes of extreme poverty and malnutrition.
In Ethiopia, the sweet potato is an important vegetable in fighting malnutrition. Packed with nutrients, sweet potatoes are drought resistant making them a popular food for much of the population.
Today, I am sharing a fantastic recipe for Sweet Potato Kale Hash. This hash can be made for breakfast with a fried egg on top or as a side dish for dinner. I’ve made it several times the last couple weeks and I’ve yet to get tired of eating it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Sweet Potato Kale Hash
A simple spiced Sweet Potato Kale Hash dish.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons pasilla chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 cups chopped kale
1/3 cup water
Salt and pepper
Mix the sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, pasilla chili powder, salt, and cumin together. Pour the spiced oil over the potato mixture and stir the vegetables until they are evenly coated. In a large sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil on med-high heat. Add the uncooked spiced vegetables to the pan. Stirring every other minute, cook the hash for 6-8 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
Add the kale and water and mix the greens until they become wilted, approximately one minute. Season with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Alice Currah is the cook, baker, writer, and photographer of SavorySweetLife.com.