Thousands of miles away from their East African homes, Somali immigrant women in San Diego are using cooking to protect their health and strengthen family ties.
Displacement, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and adaptation to American culture are leading to increased prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases among East African immigrants. But mother and daughter cooking classes, sponsored by the organization, United Women of East Africa, are helping families bond and pass down healthy culinary traditions.
The cooking classes not only teach daughters how to prepare important cultural dishes such as mushmush or sambusas, but also how to make healthy versions of American classics like pizza and spaghetti. In addition to building happy and healthy family traditions, the United Women of East Africa also offers mental health support and leadership training for refugee women.