This Tanzanian reality show isn't your run-of-the-mill, cutthroat competition. It feeds villages.

Blood. Guts. Sweat. Glory. This is what it took to be the next top Female Food Hero.

OK, so maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it definitely took a lot of work.



Meet Bahati Muriga Jacob: your 2014 Female Food Hero.

But "Female Food Hero" isn't your usual reality competition, and the winner isn't just a made-for-TV fan-favorite competitor.

Bahati Muriga Jacob bested 19 of her Tanzanian peers in her farming skills and innovation to win the grand prize of a 5 million Tanzanian shilling cash prize plus 20 million shillings' worth of farm equipment. Sweet, huh?

This probably sounds different from the other reality TV shows that you've seen heard of.

There are no Kardashians, backstabbing models, or booze-filled brawls ... not that I know that shows typically have those things from firsthand watching experience or anything.

Not exactly model behavior. GIF via "Bad Girls Club."

For this show, Oxfam teamed up with a Tanzanian TV station to create "Mama Shujaa wa Chakula" (aka "Female Food Heroes") — a show that takes edutainment to another level and teaches both participants and the audience.

Rural-farming women make up most of the impoverished in Tanzania. This is partially because women are often denied access to resources that can help them thrive. Due to sexism, they can't get loans that could be used to buy better farming equipment, and many are turned away when they try to buy land in their name.

That's where the show comes in.

Over the course of three weeks, the 19 competitors participate in farming challenges that put their skills from the field to the test. But it isn't like your normal competition. The women learn from each other in the challenges. And they get expert training on leadership and finance, too. Since female farmers are so undervalued, they are often shut out of lessons like these.

As these amazing women learn skills in the field the audience gets a few lessons, too.

"Mama Shujaa wa Chakula" takes advantage of the captive audience to raise awareness about the issues that affect these women and their communities every day.


A show that educates disempowered workers and gives them the tools to help them long after the cameras stop rolling? Yes, please!

Even though not everyone can win first place, every participant leaves with new skills and knowledge that helps their villages for the long haul.

Reality TV competitors working together? You betcha. Image from "Mama Shujaa wa Chakula."

In the mood to binge watch it? You're in luck — you don't have to be in Tanzania to watch it.

Every episode is posted on YouTube after it airs. And because most locals don't have access to TV or the Internet, Oxfam made sure to air an audio-only version of them for the radio waves. I think I found my new favorite reality show.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less