In April 2013, several Borlaug Fellows visiting Penn State as part of the USAID's Feed the Future program spent two days in my home preparing and serving a feast to which they welcomed their mentors and colleagues. The Fellows who participated included: Rugie Wonyene, who studied business management at the University of Liberia and Liberian farmer Patricia Gant; Ruth Pobie from the Ghana CSIR Food Research Institute; Amma Amponsah from the University of Ghana; Alganesh Gamechu of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR); Alice Ajani with the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute; Mercy Elom from the Cross River Cooperative Womens Alliance ; and Eucharia Onwurafor from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nigeria.
Central Pennsylvania is a long way from Africa, and it was a joy to be in the kitchen cooking, laughing, and sharing with these talented and committed women. The original idea was to videotape them as they cooked, and chat with them about their foods, but the sheer number of dishes being prepared in the crowded conditions, plus technical difficulties with the camcorder, made that a no-go. Just for the record, below is the horrendously unsuccessful, but actually pretty hilarious, initial attempt to document the experience--if you don't mind mostly audio only and lots of camera jumping:
The menu was mouthwatering: tef injera and multiple stews/sauces from Ethiopia; check rice, fried okra, and cassava leaf stew from Liberia. banga (palmnut) soup and eba (from gari) from Nigeria, groundnut (peanut) soup fufu, omo tuo (rice balls) and kelewele (spicy fried ripe plantain cubes), from Ghana, bissap (hibiscus iced tea), Ethiopian coffee, fresh fruit salad. . . you get the idea. . . It was a fitting way to wind down their experiences at Penn State, and their friends and sponsors were grateful for the opportunity to share a meal together with them. I (Fran) was grateful to have a little window into their lives, too. I wish them well as they return home to continue working towards a better future in their home countries. There are many more pictures from the day of preparation as well as the meal at betumi's flicker account in a set called Borlaug Fellows cooking/dinner.