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.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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