Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Global Mamas

During a recent trip to SCAD, I learned about an amazing organization called Global Mamas.
Global Mama’s reduces the economic inequality of women by increasing the revenues and profits of woman-owned businesses in Africa. This in turn increases employee wages, generates new jobs and improves the standard of living. They believe that helping women gain economic independence is the most effective way to reduce dependence on foreign aid and steadily create a prosperous society.

Global Mamas is a very proud member of  the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). The FTF is a non-profit organization in the United States that accepted Global Mamas to its ranks only after conducting a thorough investigation that ensured the African women who comprise the Global Mamas cooperative are the primary beneficiaries of the proceeds from clothing sales.

Products can be purchased in stores all over the country, check out the list in your area.  Products can also be purchased online through Trade for Change.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Week After

From almost the first day of October, pumpkins have been on prominent display in stores all over Macon. Watching little kids select a pumpkin twice their size is always a treat, with the groaning parents in the background pleading with them to pick something that can actually be carried. Have you ever wondered about the fate of those pumpkins after Halloween? You know, when they flies stay around a little longer, it looks a little more wrinkled, and it doesn’t exactly smell like anything that was once edible?  THE GARBAGE! That’s right, people pick them up, holding their breath, being sure to not touch the gross parts and pitch it into the garbage! That poor pumpkin which was once carefully chosen is thrown away, after only being used as decoration.

Some of you might say, “Oh JeKaren, It’s just a pumpkin. No harm done.” WRONG! Other than the fact that pumpkins are mixed up in landfills, there are so many cool things that could have been done with them before they became a pile of decay. (Disclaimer: The Cluster and its staff are not responsible for damages as a result of this article. Please use your best judgment, or the best judgment of someone you know.)

Bra- (Oh Madonna, you will never be able to live down the Cones.) If for some reason, your sorority (or fraternity) decided to make a calendar benefiting your chapter’s charity, what better way to honor the month of October.  With a few holes on each side and at the top to string around your neck, you are ready to go! (If you decide to do this, the pumpkin bra goes over your shirt. This is a Baptist university!)

 Serving Dish- If you bought your pumpkin later in the season there is a good chance that will be fairly fresh the day after Halloween. By slicing it in half and cleaning out the guts and meat, you can use the remaining shell as a serving dish. Using it as a cereal bowl could be iffy, but using it as a soup bowl would add a little color to your dining experience!

Pumpkin Smashing Party- Finals are about 6 weeks away for some people, and for those that have procrastinated for the first twelve weeks are feeling the pinch. One way to relieve the stress is to host a pumpkin smashing party. Yes, this will hurt the pumpkins, but for those that actually enjoy this, it will be great for you!  Please remember to clean up all traces of pumpkin after the party is over. The wonderful cleaning staff does no appreciate cleaning up parties they had no part of, and it is just plain bad manners. What would your mother say? (Pumpkin Smashing is not allowed on campus, so please don’t get me or yourself into trouble.)

Start an ant colony- We all learned about the complex structure of the ant colony in elementary school. Other than being extremely cool, ants are also decomposers, they farm fungi, and they aerate the soil. Starting your own any colony at home would be a cool way to contribute to their system. The easiest way to do this would be to cut up the pumpkin into pieces and to place them in a location you want the ant colony to form. Again, this is not recommended for campus, the landscapers work really hard to keep our campus beautiful. A great location would be a woodsy area that is full of naturally occurring wildlife.

Face mask- A great way to freshen you your skin is to apply a natural face mask. Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids,  it is a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, in addition to lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. In order to make this mask, simply mix pumpkin puree, honey and milk together. Leave on skin for 20 minutes and no more than twice a week (Dry skin is not happy skin).
Pumpkin piñata- By now, you should be an expert in cleaning out pumpkins and hollowing out the inside. For giggles, a great way to celebrate the beginning of fall is to host a party, with a pumpkin piñata proudly on display. You would use the same method for a traditional piñata, but using a bat instead of a stick.

Compost it- There are many people that love to garden, and who have their own special compost. It is usually a delicate mixture of old fruit, veggies, and manure. If you are not one of these people, ask around. This would be a great way to dispose of the pieces created after your parties above. Be sure to remove the seeds or you will have a nice but unexpected surprise in your compost this spring!

Feed the squirrels- The students at Mercer have a love hate relationship with the squirrels on campus. We love to see them, they hate us. A great way to advocate peace between man and beast is to offer them a treat. From numerous stories online to funny YouTube videos, squirrels are known to love pumpkins, especially the really pretty one you spent six hours carving. By cutting off the top half of a 2 liter bottle and attaching a sturdy handle, you can create a simple feeder for squirrels to hang from trees. By cutting the pumpkin into small pieces, the squirrels will love you for treating them to something that they are usually scolded for having. Please be careful to not give the squirrels moldy pumpkin, as they can become drunk. This is a dry campus, squirrels included.

I hope that you have learned a little more about ways to use your pumpkins. Whether you use these ideas or a little chuckle, pumpkins are worth more than just a spot on your porch or filling for your pie.

* This article is also featured in the Mercer University's  The Cluster.