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Yes, it's interesting food! And super healthy. Yes, you might want to try cooking it.

I don't know whether our calendar has included this or not, but I'm a-gonna blog it anyway. When I lived in Northern California (land of all foods), I tried out a new Nigerian restaurant. The food was fascinating. Not easy, but fascinating, if you get me. Mainly deep, soulful stews of meat or fish, wrapped around "foo-foo," a sort of thick polenta made from various roots or grains. You were supposed to pick up a hunk of foo-foo and dip some of the stew into it and pick it up (no forks).

San Diego-based Women’s Empowerment International (WE) is serving up “A Taste of Africa” cooking classes taught by Olivia Laryea of Ghana and Hasno Ali of Somalia, July 10 and July 17 at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle, 533 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach, CA 92075.

The July 10 classes feature food from West Africa; the July 17 classes from East Africa. Each is taught twice: 10am to noon, and 2 to 4pm. The classes will include printed recipes, samples of all the food prepared, and light refreshments. The suggested donation for one class is $50 for WE members and $60 for nonmembers. Suggested donation for two classes is $90 for members and $110 for non-members. All donations are tax deductible. Class size is limited to 20 per class. Tickets can be purchased online at http://conta.cc/io18tg or at the door (providing the classes are not sold out).

WE is presenting these cooking classes (for the first time) in honor of the fifth anniversary of the WE Center for STAR Women. All proceeds benefit the STAR Center, WE’s one-stop business incubator for refugee women in City Heights, a partnership between WE and the International Rescue Committee.

Since 2006 the WE STAR Center has launched or expanded 60 businesses and assisted 165 refugees with their business needs. It has provided women with counseling, business guidance, and loans ranging from $200 to $10,000. Some of the enterprises WE STAR women have launched include hair salons, licensed childcare, catering, import businesses, and retail stores.

The STAR Center has assisted Olivia Laryea and Hasno Ali, the women teaching the cooking classes, to develop their businesses.

Womens’ Empowerment International is a 501(c)(3) organization that works in partnership with nonprofit agencies and “banks for the poor” with the goal of helping the three billion people in the world who live on $2 a day or less. Founded in 2003, WE has engaged in five partnerships and is currently working with Grameen de la Frontera in Sonora, Mexico, Adelante Foundation in Intibuca, Honduras, and WomensTrust in Ghana.

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