The Moringa Tree and Ghana

11 Feb
by Deanne

On a chilly Wednesday night during our vacation, we bundled up and ventured out to our vacation neighbor’s house. As guests at Fern Hollow Cabin, near Decorah, Iowa, we were invited to attend a benefit house concert at a nearby home.

We didn’t know what to expect as we were directed down a snowy lane and up a steep hill to a half-built house standing like a beacon among the bare winter trees. But, hey, it was for a good cause and I do love adventure! (And what could be more adventurous than listening to a band you’ve never heard of, in a  home where you don’t know a soul?)

The gracious hosts of the house concert have a nanny who has traveled to Ghana. Her name is Janine. She has a friend from high school whose husband has a band. It is one of those crazy connections that is a bit hard to follow, but here is the good news…

The band, called Andy Juhl after the lead musician, is a fantastic bluegrass band. They performed intelligent and original songs that demonstrated their passion for social justice and peace.

A photo of the scarfJeanine got up half way through the performance and spoke about Drive Aid Ghana.  She told the audience about the moringa plant. We learned that to Africa and the world at large; the moringa plant’s value cannot be over emphasized. It is known by several names; the miracle tree, Drum stick, Mama’s best friend among other names.

The tree is beginning to be identified as a solution for Africa’s poverty…it provides health and agricultural opportunities as well as being a source of income/employment for the rural poor.  Here’s more detailed information about all the plant can do. Drive Aid Ghana is just one of the many organizations dedicated to spreading the good news of what moringa trees can mean for communities struggling poverty.

Jeanine is an artist and she’d created a painting, some jewelry and a silk scarf to raise funds for the organization. She incorporated the patterns of the moringa leaves into the design of the scarf. I bought the scarf and gave it as a gift to my colorful scarf wearing daughter, Francine.

Have you heard of the moringa tree?  Do you also love colorful scarves?

5 Responses to “The Moringa Tree and Ghana”

  1. Corrine February 11, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    What a wonderful interesting place… and it sounds like you had a delightful time. Thanks for sharing. Mom

  2. Jeanine February 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Deanne, How fun! Liz directed me to your blog, saying you had written about the concert. It was so nice to meet you and to have you there – thanks for adding us to your adventure and thanks for your support – and for writing about it here! Do you mind if I share it?? Jeanine Scheffert

    • realocalcooking February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Hi Jeanine,

      Sorry it took so long to respond to your reply. Somehow it got lost in my spam. Yes, please do share with your community. The artist’s tour in October looks fun. We really liked Decorah and the people we met. Hopefully we can come back again.

  3. kathleensmith334 February 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Yes, I know the moringa tree very well! My husband and I served with the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa from 2008-2010 and one of our projects was to tell our community about moringa trees, their health benefits, and how to plant, raise, and eat them. We called it ‘zogala’ in the local Hausa language. We especially loved to steam it and sprinkle it with a mixture of salt, ground red peppers, and what I can only call kuli-kuli (it was basically ground up peanut powder, or peanut butter with the oil removed). I’m so excited to hear about moringa in Iowa!

    • realocalcooking February 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Kathleen, It was so great to meet you today. That is exciting that you have experience with this tree I was fascinated to hear about it and love the idea of supporting people to help themselves with a locally grown plant/tree instead of sending processed foods from other lands. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences with the Peace Corps.

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