Saturday, August 9, 2014

Teaching Women How to Make Yogurt

Teaching a group of women how to produce yogurt. 
     This week I was asked to host a women`s empowerment class at a local church. Each month women gather to learn about something new. Past weeks have been about business skills, entrepreneurship and more. Today
my topic was yogurt making, as that is my specialty here in Kenya. I brought along a student colleague who is also a Food and Nutrition student at JKUAT. As the event was being held at a church the meetings are to incorporate a spiritual aspect. At first it seemed like a stretch to use yogurt as a biblical lesson, but with thought, there can be quite an illustration in the Christian context. I find it easier to teach a lesson when there is something comparable that the audience can relate to. We also taught the basics of food safety and how vital it is to our health and food preparation. When we went over the process of proper hand washing it felt like we were insulting our audience. But it is such a vital step in proper food handling that is often missed simply because it is assumed everyone knows how! Although this was not probiotic yogurt, it was something these women can try at home and share with their friends and family.

Just some tips we shared with the women:
Make plain yogurt so that you are in control of the amount of sugar (most yogurt in Kenya is           not artificially sweetened like Canada)
Add fresh or dried fruit to plain yogurt rather than sugar
Use plain low fat yogurt instead of sour cream in cooking dishes

Why eat probiotic yogurt anyway? Well, here are just a few reasons:
Rich in protein and calcium
Assist in alleviating diarrhea
Restore gastrointestinal micro flora after taking antibiotics
Alleviates vaginitis which as an infection that increases the risk of HIV contraction
Boost immune function
And much more!

Children of the women in class enjoying our yogurt!
     Overall this experience was one to remember. The women quite enjoyed learning how to make yogurt and had many questions! One I couldn’t answer was, “My Dr. told me to bathe in yogurt when I had a yeast infection, will this actually help?” Google promises it is a home remedy sure to work! I believe it is so important that women do things like yogurt making, which give them a sense of control and accomplishment. Many of the women I have interacted with in Kenya talk about the oppression they face not as a burden but rather as an accepted reality. For them to have something new to try and accomplish they find great joy. And of course the best part of the day ways the taste testing of the probiotic yogurt!

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