Invisible Children

When countries go to war, oftentimes it is those that cannot or have no desire to fight that are hurt the most. Such is the case in Uganda. Uganda can bemoan the fact that it is home to the longest running war in the world: a horrifying twenty three years of bloodshed. Nearly two million innocents have been caught between the two factions, the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, and left with nothing. Most have been forced out of the only place they’ve ever called home, and have no education or specialized skills to improve their lot in life.

However, Invisible Children intends to change that. Refugees are taught how to create culturally unique bracelets and the finished product is sent to U.S. Once a bracelet is sold, the money is returned to the refugees. Every bracelet-maker is required to attend a course in money management, investing, and how to cultivate small business. Because of these skills, many are able to return home and start anew. To find out how you can help just visit Invisible Children online.

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All Aboard the Smile Train

Every parent’s dream is to stare down at their perfectly formed newborn baby and coo and murmur every bit of soothing nonsense imaginable, but what if their newborn has a birth defect? It makes the child no less special, but sometimes, the world can be unbelievably cruel. The most common birth defect in the world today is the cleft lip and/or palate, a facial deformity that leaves the lip split and the roof of the mouth with a large hole. One in a thousand children is affected each year in the United States alone. It is believed that in developing countries that 165,000 children are born every year with cleft lip or palate, but this is much harder to determine because these children are often killed moments after birth or abandoned, left to the mercy of wild animals or the elements.

A cleft lip or palate repair surgery is one of the simplest and least expensive to perform, but most of these parents can’t afford to have it done, even though it would mean a better quality of life for their child. However, thanks to the generosity and kind spirit of the people who formed Smile Train, these children have a chance to go to school, to get a job when they get older, and to live a life without ridicule. Smile Train’s mission is to provide free surgeries and rehabilitation for children who cannot afford it any other way.  However, Smile Train cannot do it alone. They rely on the donations from kind people who believe in their cause. For only two hundred and fifty dollars, a child’s life can be changed for the better forever. If you believe in Smile Train’s mission and wish to contribute,  you can donate at SmileTrain.org.

It’s Organic!

Photography by Selina Kade-Poff

These days it seems like the only thing people aren’t growing at home, is money.  With the buzz around the U.S. about eating, growing, and processing ‘organic’ food, could it really be better for you? Maybe cheaper? Or simply does it taste a little better than normally processed food, and where do you buy it? A-lot of people ask themselves the same questions.

To start off, organic foods are grown and prepared completely and entirely different.  While traditional growing habits are involved with the use of numerous chemicals, organic growing techniques stray from that sense.  With the only added unnatural ingredient being elbow grease, many people look to organic foods as a safer alternative to typical dining choices. There is no use of herbicide, or chemical fertilizer,  in the organic growing process, and while antibiotics and growing hormones are widely used in original methods, grazing that is rotated and access to the outdoors are preventative measures to prevent disease in livestock; also the use of organic feed!

Organoleptic value is a system to show how organic food is experienced by the senses for example: taste, sight, smell , touch. Organic food tends to have a better shelf life, this probably due to the higher level of antioxidants, and a lower level of nitrates which make fruit and vegetables age quicker. Also studies have shown that the higher the crop yield, the lower amount of antioxidants in the crop. This is why most people, when put to a blind taste test, will choose organic fruits and veggies showing that they have a higher organoleptic value.

Photography by Selina Kade-Poff

Now where can I buy organic foods and will they but a whole in my pocket?  As the nation grows more aware of organic foods, expect to see it in all types or grocery stores along with standalone stores that specialize in just organic products.  Although the dramatic differences in growing techniques, the prices for organic fruits and vegetables are roughly the same. For non organic apples at a supermarket expect to pay around $3.99 per pound, while organic apples would be placed at $4.49, so expect somewhat of a price hike, but nothing that will break the bank.  Organic foods are  becoming more accessible, cheaper, abundant so we may see some families start to take a more natural approach to cooking and eating once exposed to it.