They Call Her Mama

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Meeting Point Kampala 2

She is a woman who wants to change the world.

Namukisa Noelina is the executive director of an organization called Meeting Point Kampala, which is a crisis center for residents in that town in Uganda who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. For a host of reasons, the rate of infection in that country has increased, as well as the stigma that comes with it. Noelina has been fighting that battle on the ground, caring for adults who can no longer fend for themselves, and taking in children who would otherwise have to.

Since she takes care of as many as she possibly can, she says the town has called her ‘Mama’ or ‘Mama Noelina’, a moniker she fully embraces.

Mama Noelina actively does outreach in her community, bringing food, medicine, and other necessities to those who have been ravaged by the disease. Her Meeting Point is a place where parents or relatives leave their children before disappearing to live out their final days.

Mass media follows missionaries, rock stars, and leaders of the Western world who want to tackle the depths of the epidemic on this continent. Their efforts are appreciated. However, little attention is given to Africans in their own countries who are the unsung heroes in this plight. They soldier on with little resources, and seemingly limitless compassion, trying to change the world in any way they can.

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Fighting Infant Mortality

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Infant Mortality Prevention

 

 

 

 

Tonya Lewis Lee is a woman who wears multiple hats, and has reinvented her career several times.   Her professional career started as an attorney.  When she married filmmaker Spike Lee, and later became the mother of 2 their two children, she committed her efforts to them.  However, her creative spirit urged her to do more, and she began producing and writing children’s books.  Those endeavors caught the eye of the Office of Minority Health, which recruited her for their  campaign, A Healthy Baby Begins With You.

 

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the alarming rate of Infant Mortality in the US.  According to the World Health Organization, the Infant Mortality Rate in the United States is worse than 40 other countries.  These numbers are abysmal for such an industrialized nation.

 

Furthermore, the problem persists at a higher rate among the African American community, regardless of economic status.

 

Along with the Office of Minority Health, Lee has made a pledge to not only find out why this phenomenon continues to plague this country,  but to educate men and women across the country about the problem.

 

Lee says working on this campaign has been a passion project, and as she travels throughout the states with the campaign,  she says the ultimate goal is to find solutions that lead to healthy, vibrant babies in all communities.

 

 

 

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The Top 5 Reasons Meditation Can Awaken You

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Mediation is becoming a pretty popular practice – especially as people are dealing with the everyday stresses of their lives, or even watching the events of the world.   ABC News did a piece recently about the healthy effects of that practice.

 

But Andy Kelly, who describes himself as the ‘Boston Buddha’, has made it his career.

 

After leaving a stressful job in the media as a producer, he created his own mediation studio, and now teaches the practice to kids and corporations.

 

He says he has leaned a lot from not only pursuing his dream, but doing so in a tight economy.  Here are his top five lessons he has learned while on this journey.

 

 

1) Value time.  ”My relationships with my family are different.  My relationship with my son has grown, so I can have a direct relationship with him.”  Andy says when he was working for someone else, his mind was often thinking about work when he was with the family.  Now that he is his own boss, he makes sure to focus on his son and wife when he can.

 

2) Meditate. “I don’t think I would ever have had the energy to meditate.  Before, the authentic me wouldn’t be here. Now, I ask: Who Am I? What Do I really want? Who Can I help? It’s a good exercise everyone should try,” he says.

 

3) Forgive yourself.  While Andy encourages people to meditate twice a day, he says he is guilty of not always practicing what he preaches.  If you have goals for yourself, and don’t meet everything that day, it’s ok.   “If I miss a mediation in the afternoon, I can be the first one to admit to a class I skipped my afternoon mediation.  Be ok with yourself.”

 

4) Find the good in your current situation.  “Bring that into your current job.  Find the positive into your current job.  Tap into wisdom you find when meditating.”  Andy adds it will likely make an unbearable situation more bearable.

 

5) Make the change.  “If you want to make the most of your life, (and you only have one), ask yourself ‘why you’re not happy.”  He says he knows that it is so much easier said than done, and emphasizes that careful planning can help you do it.  “I knew I wouldn’t make as much money as I was in my former career, but I knew that I could freelance produce if I needed to.”  He adds,  “Make the leap.”

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Changing the Way We Think About Food

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Just last week, the National Archives announced a new partnership with award winning chef José Andrés to create the exhibit What’s Cooking Uncle Sam? The Government’s  Effect on the American Diet. 

 

The exhibit, inside the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery in the National Archives, is a collection of records, documents and films chronicling the US government’s efforts throughout history to feed citizens with a healthy and sustaining diet.  The Archives will offer a series of programs, open to the public, discussing the role of Government in our everyday diet.

 

The partnership means that Andrés, the recent winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award as Outstanding Chef, will transform his Cafe Atlántico restaurant into the America Eats Tavern, right around the corner from the Archives.

“Hopefully, we will be doing more than feeding your stomach.  We will be feeding your history,” Andrés explained.   “We want to discover recipes and plant the seed that everyone in America understands.”

 

The restaurant, which opens June 10th, 2011, will be treated as a ‘culinary destination’, and will compliment the National Archives’ exhibit.

 

The Tavern is named after a program from the WPA, or the Work Progress Administration, created during the Great Depression.  “This project with the National Archives is opening the door to the past, so we can understand our present,” Andrés said.

 

He added, “If we use food in the right way, we can end hunger in the United States, and around the world.  To feed people in the right way is not about Democrats or Republicans. It’s a human deed.”

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