Friday, July 11, 2014

Hola Chicos!

Peru was amazing. Everything I had hoped it would be and more. Cara, Erin, and I made it around to all of the cities relying on Cara's college Spanish, and we did it with flying colors ;) We met up with dear friends, Swapomthi and her husband Neeraj, for the 4 day 3 night Inca Trail trek and the rest of the two weeks we explored the nearby cities and traveled the countryside...

Miraflores -

Cara and Erin and I all met at the Ft. Lauderdale airport to get on the same lovely plane (Spirit - not really lovely at all...) to head to Lima, Peru! We arrived safe and sound with all baggage in tow and shared a mildly sketchy van to the center of town at 11pm with 2 other girls from our flight. I had arranged for an airbnb for the 2 nights in Miraflores, but we didn't have cell phones and it was very late and the streets were very busy, so it was a tadddd stressful finding the apartment, but once we did, we got all set up and went to a cafe around the corner for some much needed nosh and H2O.

 We got up leisurely the next morning, still acclimating to a new place and went off to walk around and explore Miraflores. The streets were busy and there was much to see! We found a small outdoor marketplace selling all sorts of touristy goods just a few streets down from where we were staying and took notes on how much things were selling for in the capital so we could be prepared for bartering in the other towns. Then we stopped at a grocery, got some picnic foods, tried to decipher all the crazy fruits on display, and walked to the beach. I was the only one who cared about sticking my feet in the water (ended up with wet jeans up to my knees...) and then we sat along the ocean promenade and enjoyed our picnic with the salty breeze. We returned to our apartment to get ready for the evening and found a local restaurant that was offering traditional Peruvian fare, so we got a bunch of plates to split between the 3 of us and some pisco sours! Yummmm. The weather in Lima was pretty perfect and folks were very kind.

Arequipa -

I think we all agreed at the end of the trip that Arequipa was our favorite spot. We left Lima by plane and after a 30 min taxi ride through farm land we arrived in the downtown area of Arequipa. I am sure much of our love for this place had to do with the wonderful people at the hotel/hostel we stayed at - La Hosteria - as our new friend Cynthia took very great care of us. We had a great little 3 person room at the top of the courtyard and had fresh breakfast on the terrace every morning with the skyline full of white tipped mountains. The buildings and streets were all very old and charming, lined with cobblestone. This was definitely a wealthier town and the restaurants and shops were delightful. We explored the local food market and I tried some seviche and we sampled some fresh fruit. We had a really yummy dinner (with a few peanut scares!) and some wine at a restaurant where we could watch the cooks through glass windows :) Our most adventurous piece - after being told the 1 day trip to Colca Canyon was not worth alllll the driving - was white water rafting! After Cynthia convinced Cara that it would be okay even if she wasn't a strong swimmer (since Cynthia did it and can't swim at all!) and that the fellas would take great care of us, we signed up and had a heck of a good time! Our raft guide was funny and kept all of us feeling calm, even when the water most certainly wasn't. And the chance to get out into nature after a number of days in a row walking through city streets, was a welcome change, and so beautiful. We ended the day on our way to the bus station to catch our overnight bus to Cuzco (not highly recommended - it was suuuuuper bumpy the whole way, so sleep was next to impossible for all 3 of us)!

Cuzco -

Much of our time in Cuzco was spent at small market shops, little restaurants, and prepping for our big trip! We had to take our final deposit to Peru Treks and make sure Swapomthi and Neeraj made it in time from Lima - lots to do! Everything ended up working out well and we had some amazing food and explored the chocolate museum while trying not to think too much about what we might have forgot to bring or how heavy our backpacks were going to be for the trek in the days ahead!! Cuzco is a town with tons of history and beautiful old buildings. I wish I had more time to relax here, but only had one night on the way back from the trek and we ended up taking a (kinda scary and very nervous) train ride back from Aguas Calientes that took 4 hours longer than anticipated, so we didn't have time for one last meal in Cuzco. Would definitely be a place I would like to return!

INCA TRAIL POST TO FOLLOW!! (it needs its own entry for certain)

Aguas Calientes -

This town was incredibly touristy being that Machu Picchu is at its center, but man was it beautiful. Huge green cover mountains came around us on all sides and the river was flowing fast through the middle. The food was probably the worst, in my opinion, in Aguas Calientes because all the restaurants were trying so hard to pull in every tourist that walked by. Cara and I took a really great walk along the railroad tracks to spend a few hours exploring the Botanical Gardens and ending at a beautiful waterfall. I wanted to buy every piece of jewelry in their main square market, but most of my time was spent trying not to focus on how much my legs hurt and how swollen my calves were after those 4 days of hiking!! It was easier to relax in Aguas Calientes though, knowing the unknown was pretty much behind us :) We left this quaint town back to Cuzco (the train ride mentioned above) and then went almost straight to the airport for our final 2 days in Lima.

Barranco -

I decided for the final night stay in Peru to book a really cute boutique hotel in the artsy district of Barranco. I am so glad we did! 3B Barranco was amazing, so comfortable after a long haul, and the owner was an amazingly sweet woman who gave us a million things to do in our final hours. We had some of the best food we had the whole trip - mainly tacu tacu, right Cara?! - and visited a local brewery in the neighborhood. We walked back down near the beach, had some delicious cafe con leche (maybe a few!), and explored the shops and sweets. We even returned to the market we found the first day to finish off our souvenir shopping and to get one last mango ice smoothie! Only thing we didn't get to do on the trip was take a cooking class, which is something I hope I get to go back and do!!

It was an amazing 2 weeks and a beautiful country with wonderful people. My recommendation would definitely be that if you want to see Machu Picchu, do the hiking beforehand. It was a beautiful place, but the amount of tourist traffic was baffling after 4 days walking through serenity. So I was very glad to have had that experience before seeing the famous Inca ruins - even if it was the hardest physical thing I've done to date!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Conquered the Incline!

At the top - got a little chilly that high!
This past weekend I was able to check another number off the list of 30 with the completion of the Incline hike in Manitou Springs with my dear friends Jackie and Jamie. I've been intimidated and intrigued by this hike for quite some time, but knew I wanted to say I have accomplished the feat! Since I returned from doing the Inca Trail (posts to come soon), I thought, well, no better time than now to jump right back into climbing stairs since that was half the battle for the Incas! I definitely should have made sure I was actually ready by eating a tad better the day prior and maybe not having a slight buzz at the Second City comedy show I went to the night before!! Whoops! Lessons learned ;)

"The Manitou Springs Incline, also known as the Manitou Incline or simply the Incline, is a popular hiking trail rising above Manitou Springs, Colorado, near Colorado Springs. The trail is the remains of a former 3 ft (914 mmnarrow gauge funicular railway whose tracks washed out during a rock slide in 1990. The Incline is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places, making it a fitness challenge for locals in the Colorado Springs area. The incline gains over 2,000 feet (610 m) of elevation in less than one mile." - Wikipedia

The record for summiting the Incline is 16 mins 42 seconds. This seems absurd to me. I made it in about an hour 35 mins, but was dominated by both Jamie (50 mins) and Jackie (1 hr 10). I did much better on the second half, once my head decided to join the game, but still have hopes to do it again and be much closer to an hour! On the way up we saw a guy who was on his third pass of the day...these folks ain't kiddin' around. The weather was overcast- threatening to rain most of the way, but made for pretty nice hiking weather. The terrain is all wooden stairs with pieces of pipes and what Jackie termed 'tinker toy passes' on the way up. There are no flat sections, just some spots with a slightly lower grade. Once at the top, you take the Barr trail back down which is about 4 miles of switchback and all downhill and foresty beautiful. It's pretty gravely and we were certainly glad it wasn't raining as folks have said the trail turns into a bit of a river in rain! It was a great challenge that I would recommend to anyone and it's advisable to do as we did and crack a local beer at the top ;)

 and just for good measure, what I felt like at the top...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#14: 10 Days Veggie - COMPLETE

So I may or may not have almost eaten bacon 3 times in the last ten days...bacon is too good people. These 10 days were not a challenge beyond that. I made sure to plan my meals (maybe over-bought on the veggies at Trader Joe's on the first of the 10 days!!), and just followed in the footsteps of my lovely roommate Jamie! I learned that what I knew about being a vegetarian was very limited. Had no idea there were differences in the type of vegetarian you can be other than if you eat fish you are a Pescetarian! I guess I followed the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, because (let's be real) giving up bacon is tough enough, goat cheese and fried eggs is a whole new level.

First Meal: Fried egg, goat cheese, and roasted asparagus on ciabatta :)

My two days that were the hardest were both Sundays. First Sunday I went to a new brewery in town, Station 26, to attend their Bluegrass Brunch where they had doughnuts and a BBQ truck and released a new brew - Coffee Vanilla Cinnamon Porter. The one doughnut I was eyeing was Maple Bacon, so that was out, and then I wanted to get a side of baked beans, but that also was cooked with bacon :-/ I survived of course. Ended up spending less money. And maybe saved a calorie or two ;)

Station 26 Brewing Co. - Bluegrass Brunch

The next Sunday I was invited to my Aunt and Uncle's house for a BBQ and, although I had lots of delicious veggie options (which I ate and was very stuffed), I still wanted to have the chicken kebabs and hot sausage...#firstworldproblems.

I think that what I learned is if I were more committed to the cause of being a vegetarian, I could most certainly do it. But since I just don't get weirded out by eating things attached to a bone, I will stick with my occasional steak, chicken, and BBQ but realize I get plenty of protein and satisfaction out of a vegetarian lifestyle - so maybe just plan more veggie meals throughout the week and save the meat for eating out :)

Thanks for following along on my 30 Before 30 ride and I will leave you with this Buzzfeed devoted to all things bacon:  17 Mouthwatering Bacon-Wrapped Snacks :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Alyssa's 30 Before 30 List :D

I have now been 29 for one whole week! This is my last year in my twenties and I think that should call for some time of reflection and some time to consider what I'd like my thirties to bring. I have very few qualms about turning the big 3-0. In the past 3 decades I have lived in 3 different countries, visited 9 more, received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from a great school (Go Blue!), gone bungee jumping, seen my sister get married and have the cutest child in the entire world - no bias here..., survived amoebas, learned a new language, confronted my own numerous weaknesses (still workin on these!), skied Colorado mountains, met so many amazingly beautiful people, cried, laughed, and loved countless times in the company of countless friends. And all of that being said, there's still a lot more to do and see :)

I've had a few acquaintances do a list of 30 things to accomplish before they turned 30. Not all of them started in their actual 30th year, but that just means mine have to be easily quantifiable and most of them have to be free or relatively inexpensive to make sure I can get them done in time! I have tried to make all of them things I have never done before, but some of them are tweaked so at least its a slightly new experience. I am hoping to have folks join me in most of these endeavors, so if you read over this list and see something you want to do with me, let's plan it!! Here we go:

1. Go to Peru
2. Climb a 14er
3. Explore Fort Collins
4. Get arm definition (gotta be specific here people!)
5. Do the 'incline' - hike in Colorado Springs
6. Skydive (but only if a cool spot presents itself - no need to just waste money, right?!)
7. Have a crazy LoDo girls' night
8. Hike Hanging Lake
9. Spend a fun weekend away with my sister, one with my mom, one with my dad
10. Backpack to Conundrum Hot Springs
11. Get a new job (my current position's grant funding is up in September- so this HAS to happen)
12. Start a garden
13. Do a sprint-tri
14. Go vegetarian for 10 days
15. Have 1 solo dance party/month 
16. Host a BOMB dinner party at the Logan Lodge
17. Explore two new U.S. cities
18. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers every week for one month
19. Read 6 new books & re-read a favorite
20. Learn to drive a stick shift
21. Take a road trip with someone new 
22. Spend one weekend without technology in America
23. Open a champagne bottle with a knife!
24. Go to 6 new museums/cultural spots
25. Get my 'jump' on at jumpstreet
26. Find a new volunteer opportunity
27. Try 10 new foods
28. Try 10 new beers Too easy...Modified to: Visit 10 new breweries! 
29. See 6 shows I've never seen before (live performance)
30. Learn to make a perfect martini & old fashioned 

Want to join me?!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Good To Be Back!

It’s been almost two years since I have found myself ready to jump back into the blogosphere after my unexpected and hasty departure from Mali and the Peace Corps. There was a coup d'├ętat in Mali in March of 2012 that resulted in the evacuation of all US citizens – which included all 180 Peace Corps Volunteers. After the initial coup – which you can read more about on the Wikipedia page -  all volunteers were told to consolidate in our local capitals and wait out the decision from the US government about our future within Mali. Two weeks later we were in Accra, Ghana completing our Peace Corps ‘Transition Conference’; working on resumes, interview skills, and sitting in counseling sessions. Not a small change and not an easy time emotionally for any of us.

It took about 3 months for reality to sink in that that part of my life had finished and a new chapter needed to begin. I spent that time traveling around the US visiting family, friends, and lots of RPCVs who I could talk to about the crazy change that just happened in our lives! I wanted to find a city that felt right. A place I could push myself in new ways and feel at home and hopefully a place I could be close to nature. My list of visits included: New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Washington DC, Atlantic City, Portland, Seattle, and the two that ended up being my favorites – Denver and Baltimore. My friends and family graciously took me around to the non-touristy parts of each town so I could try – in very limited time – to get a feel for what living there would be like. In the end, Denver felt right! I moved out in August 2012 without a job or a place to call my own, but a place to stay for a month or two with family who held out open arms and provided great advice :)

I’ve been here for a year and a half now, and it feels pretty awesome. I have wonderful people around me, made some fantastic new friends, have the greatest roommates, coolest house (its also literally super cold since its ancient), and get to visit the mountains on a near weekly basis. I have found a few places that my volunteer time feels productive and inspiring, and have been working as a Community Engagement Coordinator for a little over a year now. Things are better than I would have expected after just picking up and moving while hoping for the best! There are still so many places to explore, things to do, and people to experience life with here, hence my return to my blog. My 29th birthday is coming this month and that has led to my decision to create a list of 30 things to do in my life before I enter my 4th decade in this crazy world of ours! Time to take life by the horns (once again) and get some things done that I have been wanting to do for a while…

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sweet Home Moribila

    As I near the end of my times as a Peace Corps Volunteer here in Mali, I find myself wanting to pinpoint specifics.  What have I learned in these 20+ months?  What will I take back with me to the United States?  What are the things I hope to never, ever again take for granted?  And what am I really going to miss about this place?  I decided it would be best to focus first on those things I will think about, once home, that will bring a smile to my face and those pieces I’m likely to yearn for.  I only have a few months left in Moribila so I want to spend this time appreciating those things I may never get to experience again:

10. Orange Toothless Smiles ~  Old men and old women alike are often encountered in a giggly, gregarious state due to cola nut consumption!  Cola nuts are hard, bitter nuts that have an effect similar to that of catnip (from what I’ve been told).  The cola nuts turn what’s left of their teeth bright orange.  I will most certainly miss the interaction with folks in this state :)

9.  Waking up with the sun to the sounds of village life ~  I go to bed each evening between 9 & 10pm.  To wake up with the sun around 6:30 is refreshing and something I’m not sure I have ever done sans alarm clock in the States.  The rhythmic sound of the pounding of the day’s millet is not a bad way to rise either. 

8.  Mangoes, Degue, and Didegue ~  Honestly the only 3 foods I will miss from Mali.  Degue is a sweet sour milk drink with millet balls mixed in (sounds terrible but its oh so wonderful).  Didegue is a past made for special days like the beginning and end of fast in the time of Ramadan.  It is made from millet, honey, sugar, peanuts, and sour milk, mmmm!  These are 3 things I know would never be recreated or taste the same outside Malian borders.  Sad.

7.  People shouting my name from the far corners of town ~  I’ve lived 2 years as a celebrity.  Mere sight of me induces children to run my way, shake my hand, and greet with the flawed but sweet ‘Caba? Fanta, Caba bien?!’  I get to sit at the Mayor’s table for special events and am told how pretty I am every day!  These aspects of celebrity aren’t bad, aren’t bad at all.

6.  Trail running in the Moribila ‘back-country’ roads ~  My one time of the day that is ‘just me’ time alone on the trails getting ready for the day ahead.  I cherish this time and know its going to be challenging to find an activity anywhere near as peaceful back in the States!

5.  Laying in my hammock reading or listening to the radio ~  I know I will never again have the chance to read as often as I do here in such a reader-friendly environment, nor will I get to sit beneath the stars and listen to BBC for hours each night.  This second year has been busier (thankfully) so I really appreciate those times I get to read a really good book (or even a so-so one that reveals something new to me).  I know I will forever see reading in a different light because of this experience.

4.  Laughs with the women ~  Most of the time I have no clue why they are laughing.  I’m sure sometimes it’s at me (okay maybe with me) and other times even if I could understand the words, I wouldn’t ‘get it’!  But I laugh too, especially when I ‘get it’.  Because seeing these incredible women who work so hard and have such a serious life let loose a little and enjoy each other is something to cherish. 

3.  Children’s inability to still hips and feet in the presence of a beat ~  No matter the time of day, the amount of people standing around, or if they are fully clothed; a beat starts and the children start dancing and I LOVE it.  How could you not?!  It puts an immediate smile on my face, and theirs :)

2.  Fanta Goita II ~ This really is a catch all for all the wonderfully sweet children in my host family and nearby concessions, but Miss Fanta takes the cake since she is my Namesake in Mali and therefore my charge is to take care of her and love her more than the rest!  Which is no problem since I certainly do, so so much.  Giving or showing affection for another person in Mali is not something that is culturally acceptable.  These kiddos have been my only source for hugs for months of my service and I really, truly do not know what I would have done without them, their questions, their smiles, their giggles when I tickle them, and their affection.  These babes will likely be what I miss most from Mali on a daily basis.

1.  Relationships Built ~  I fear that the relationships I have built here are ones that could have fostered no other way in no other place and that once I leave this place they will be something I always try to retain and regain and yet its certain to not be the same.  My family in Mali will be hard to stay close with as communication challenges will abound.  My relationships with my fellow PCVs will be so so hard to leave even though I know we will see each other again Stateside.  I know that the closeness we share here will be something that no one else will be able to understand.  These people have been my only source of support on some days and have certainly helped me through some of my toughest times in Peace Corps, and therefore life.  I have been blown away by the support I have received from friends and family at home while I have been here, so I can only hope I will be blessed to have friends here that stay friends when I return home so we can continue to support each other through the many remaining chapters in our lives.  Mali PCVs, Moribila Folks – THANK YOU!  I’m going to put as much energy in appreciating you all in these last 4 months as possible :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

    One of my best friends will be disappointed in me once knowing this, since peanuts are her ultimate enemy, but I eat peanut butter and/or peanuts every day of my life here.  I find it is one thing I can consistently find that provides me protein and nutrients.  Before arriving in Mali I had the notion that I would get to eat quite heathfully and mostly organically.  The reality is far from that supposition.  With the arrival of sickness after sickness I, for the most part, stopped eating with my Malian family as they use untreated water and rarely wash their hands with soap.  This has left me to cook each and every meal for myself, and with market once a week and no refrigeration eating organically, let alone healthfully, is incredibly challenging.  When I arrived home for vacation in September after 15 months in Mali many folks were shocked that I wasn’t skinny as a rail since often rural Africa is associated with hunger.  Truthfully, in Mali, hunger isn’t so much the issue.  Families here always – well almost always- have something to eat, even if just because the culture of hospitality here won’t allow for a neighbor with food to allow another neighbor to not eat.  The problem lies with nutrition. 

    Meat is very expensive in Mali, especially for village folk, so protein has to be found in other sources, mainly peanuts, dried fish, and beans.  They don’t however add lots of vegetables to the sauce they make with the peanuts or on top of the beans.  To the beans they add an amazing amount of oil and sugar and eat them with bread.  To the peanut sauce – oil, salt, and hot peppers.  When they do add veggies or meat the men of all ages get first crack at these portions leaving little to none for the women or children – who are the ones actually doing most of the hard labor.  Because they are so busy all day every day, they then require a lot of carbohydrate energy, which can easily be found in rice, cous cous, millet, pasta, corn flour or wheat flour.  The sad part is that the rice and pasta are white and refined so nutritionally almost fruitless.  There are certain sauces that do better than others.  The Malians use leaves (bean, onion, or tree) to add nutrition to the sauces, and those are easy to find and therefore cheap, but they aren’t used enough.  The most popular is the okra sauce, often with dried fish, then the tomato and onion sauce – which often, strangely, has spaghetti strands mixed in – and then the peanut sauce.  If there were enough vegetables and meat (fish, chicken, goat or beef) to give each consumer a proper serving size, things wouldn’t be so bad.  The practice, however, is to take a large scoop of millet (with the 4 fingers of your right hand) and dip it quickly in the sauce bowl, retract and eat.  This means only a little bit of sauce – and therefore nutrients – get consumed with each ~1/4 cup of toh.  With the rice and cous cous dishes the sauce is poured over a huge portion of rice and the veggies and meat sit in a pile in the middle.  Since eating is done from a communal bowl, whoever eats the fastest or grabs their share of the goods first ‘wins’!  Once the sauce is gone, they fill up with the leftover plain rice at the bottom of the bowl. 

    All of these things make staying nutritious hard for me while eating a Malian diet.  My two favorite meals are rice with peanut sauce and beans.  Even when I ask – which I do every time and get a look of pure astonishment – for no oil to be poured on top – there is still quite a good amount used in either preparation or just naturally, as with the peanuts.  Since I am forever a guest here, I do get a better portion of the meat and veggies when I do eat with the village, but still its maybe two 2inch chunks of meat and a few pieces of sweet potato, pumpkin, or cabbage.  The bigger issue is the very smell of the most nutritious (i.e. leaf filled) sauces cause my stomach to churn, yet alone actually eating it!  And, have you noticed that I have yet to mention any fruit?  Well that’s likely because on a regular basis the only fruits available to me are oranges (which are really like big limes with very little flavor and even less juice) and bananas.  Now I like bananas and all but as my only legitimate option?  Rough.  I LOVE fruit, especially apples with their delightful crunch and sweetness, so as you can imagine this has been the hardest part of eating in Mali.  Well, that and the lack of cheese ;)  The thing that changed my life last year was mango season!  There are mangos everywhere and they are big, juicy, and perfect.  I didn’t even like mangos before coming to Mali and now my mouth waters just thinking about them 6 months later!  Its also why I think I really didn’t mind hot season, just sat in my hammock eating mangos all day in the 110 degree weather!  I just have to be careful or I could end up developing an allergy as some of my friends did this year from overconsumption! 

    So as a PCV it is then our job, when possible, to talk with folks about how to make their eating more nutritious without making it lots more expensive.  Its important for the people in my region to make beans more often, add dried fish to their sauces, and to use leaves in as many meals as they can.  For other regions, like Sikasso, its encouraging gardeners to save some of the beautiful veggies and fruit they produce for their own families instead of just taking in all profit.  All of us have the hard task of trying to encourage the families to give the larger portion of protein and veggie portions to the children and women (especially the pregnant ones).  Any little bit helps.  In my case, I have done a few radio shows on the importance of nutrition for especially young children and pregnant moms.  Also, any time I see a child with a reddish tinge to their hair (a sign of malnutrition) I say something to their father – since he's in charge -  if he’s around, or mother if not, that they need to give that child extra beans, meat, and leafy vegetables. 

    Obviously, growing up in Dearborn, I was ignorant about the whole structure of food production and consumption in a farming community, as likely many of you reading this are.  It was helpful for me to understand the difference between food insecurity – healthy food not available all year round – and what people experience as true hunger.  Nearly every child has a distended belly because the lack of protein prohibits their muscles to form properly, but they are eating, just not correctly.  Its very rare to see an overweight person in Mali, but those who are, are seen as wealthy and romantically more desirable.  Most of these folks live in the bigger cities or work in positions that don’t require going into the fields and have people to help them make food and clean their homes.  Every woman in my compound is incredibly fit despite the oil and carbs because they work so hard!  To keep myself from gaining weight here – which would be incredibly easy – I go for jogs in the morning and I ask for no oil and I cook meals for myself – even if they do contain lots of carbs and few veggies (except for right after market day when I overload!).  This is all just to show that even things you think are safe to assume about a place can often be misleading.  This topic area is a comparatively nice one to try to change minds towards leading healthier lives.  The topic is less personally taxing for me as it is not an area of cultural difference that challenges my values.  Malians love to talk about money, even if its how poor they are, so its not easy to offend them that way, but it is hard to get them to see how choosing to buy tea and sugar everyday instead of meat or vegetables is hurting the health of their family.  Since the men control the money and also get the majority of said nutrition making the point is often hard won, but all the more reason to encourage women to be educated and hold paid positions in their communities!