Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Submit Your Favorite Recipe!

We all have that favorite pumpkin or squash recipe that we wait all year for.

Share a recipe with us and you could win!

The most original recipe submission will receive a free squash of their choice from our 22 varieties of locally gleaned squash.

This season 7 harvests yielded some ~12,000 pounds of squash from two farms (Native Seeds/Search & Buckelew) and one local urban pumpkin patch (St. Mark's UMC). Thank you to our donors for allowing us to feed families!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something For Nothing By: Luvmoni Biswa

Human wants are unlimited but the resources available are limited. People always want more and more everyday no matter what is going on in the world. Everywhere in the world,life is very different. I am a refugee boy and things have always been very difficult throughout my life.

When I was back in the refugee camp in Nepal. The camps are made up of clusters of huts made out of bamboo, thatch, plastic, etc. All the huts are made in rows, having little or no gaps. Between the rows, small gaps are kept where doors of the huts are facing. The size of each hut is very small and hardly four or five people can live. Sometimes, seven to ten people are forced to accommodate which becomes very congested.

During the summer, nearly sixty percent of the rain leaks from the unsafe roofs of the huts soaking all the materials including bedding and foods. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) used to provide some limited food-stuff every fourteen days. Including kerosene oil and coal for cooking food. People cook food by themselves in each family and share it to others in their family. They do not have any choice of food.

Without the electricity in the camps, the nights are complete darkness. From the bedroom we could see the moon at night and feel the chili dewdrops early the next morning. People eat and go to bed early. The clean water is not enough, and people often have to fetch water from nearby streams. Stream water, which contained many kinds of bacteria was not purified or treated and killed some thousands of innocent Bhutanese.

The life in camps are really miserable and monotonous. They are out of reach from digital modernized world and anything going on outside. We have suffered a lot in silence and God became greedy to us in spite of our undeniable needs. On the other hand, the life in the United States is completely different than the life in the refugee camps in Nepal. The life is luxurious in warm and nice apartments. The apartments have everything, such as water, air conditioning, electricity, and a gas stove for cooking food. The rooms are big enough to live with lot of furniture. People have many choices for foods.

People in the United States can go anywhere as they wish. They have many kinds of media for the circulation of news like cell phone, radio, and TV. There is very strong security for the people to live.

I am very happy in the United States than in the refugee camps. The life is easier and safer in the United States than in the camps. I have never thought of coming to this country, USA even in my dream and spent life freely and luxuriously like today. So I am always very grateful to this country for bringing me in and giving a new life to a refugee boy who had no destination in life and had no hope to live. These are the great things this country has done me for nothing. THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD…USA!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scholarship Help

Many of the refugees Iskashitaa is connected with are pursuing college degrees. I'm currently a university student, and I know that it's hard to obtain information about this process. It's hard to even formulate the questions you need to ask in order to have everything explained to you. For example, when I applied to University, I didn't know how to get financial aid, and I didn't even know what my problem was, so I didn't know what questions to ask. Also, I didn't figure out until the end of my senior year that if you apply for financial aid very early in the spring semester that you are more likely to receive federal grants. It's awarded on a first come, first serve basis but nobody tells you these things. So, I thought it might be good to share a useful tool with everyone who follows this blog. The tool is called "Scholarship Universe and it's on the UA Financial Aid Website: http://scholarshipuniverse.arizona.edu/

On the main page you will see two things: a button to enter the site and a box displaying at least a thousand scholarship opportunities. Now, the actual website requires a UA email, but as a reliable scholarship guide the main page is adequate. If you don't have a UA email, then just ask someone at Iskashitaa and they will be able to help you look through the site. Once you login to the scholarship universe the website takes you through a questionnaire that narrows down the number of scholarships that are out there to a few that work with your qualifications. This is pretty handy. It can be a huge ordeal looking for financial assistance, and sometimes you just don't have the time. So check out this webpage if you are interested in applying for a scholarship or a grant. -Kenny Nelson, Intern

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins!

On Saturday I picked up some of Camille and Amanda’s English students at Oasis, then we drove to a pumpkin farm to collect pumpkins after meeting at Iskashitaa. I got to meet Neema, who I thought was really nice, and I had a really good time at the harvest. For the last 30-45 minutes I got to walk around smashing pumpkins so we could collect the seeds, which was way too much fun…When we got back to Iskashitaa we formed a long line and passed the pumpkins from the truck to back against a wall in the front yard. I had a good time, and all of the refugees seemed to enjoy the event.

-Danny (Honors College Intern)

What's Cooking at Iskashitaa?

Calabaza en Tacha is a trditional dessert that is prepared during the Fiestas de Muertos. It is very easy and delicious!


1 4 to 5 lbs Pumpkin approx.
8 Cinnamon sticks
Juice of 1 Orange
4 cups water
2 lbs Piloncillo ( you can use brown sugar or raw sugar)


Cut the pumpkin into medium (2½" to 3" squares or triangles). Remove seeds and strings. With a sharp knife make diamond designs over the pulp

Put the sugar in a pan with the cinnamon, orange juice, and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the piloncillo has dissolved.

Place the first layer of pieces of pumpkin upside down so they absorb as much juice as possible. The second layer should be with the pulp upwards. Cover and simmer. When ready the top of the pumpkin pieces should look somewhat glazed, and the pulp soft and golden brown.

Let cool and serve with syrup. You can also add cold evaporated milk. I prefer to have the pumpkin after it has been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

-- Recipe from Keren (Tested by the Iskashitaa Staff who are getting fat eating it!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Music that defines the experiences in Somalia

Around the time of the World Cup over the summer, I heard of a Somali rapper named K'naan on National Public Radio (NPR) and downloaded some of his music. He is a rapper from Somalia and speaks of his and other Somalis day-to-day experiences of survival in Mogadishu and the emotional consequences of war. His lyrics are powerful, evoke emotion and gasps at what some people have experienced there, like in his song, ABC's and discussing the experience of children in education. "They don't teach us the ABCs, we play on the hard concrete, all we got is life on the streets." He said in an interview that this is very true for the youth in Somalia. He left Somalia when he was 13, first to join relatives in New York City and then to settle in Toronto, Canada. He has tried to avoid using gangsta rap, he explains, since "gangsterism isn't something to brag about," especially with other Somalis. His music includes influences from Somali music and traditional instruments, Ethiopian jazz samples and American hip hop. Check him out. (Information taken from NPR interview and Wikipedia)
--Kathy Zaleski, Iskashitaa Community Education Coordinator

Monday, November 1, 2010


Little Dorothys, masked superheroes, princesses, astronauts, birdwatchers, miners, a dog dressed up as a flying monkey from the Wizard of Oz and more spent last evening at St. Francis in the Foothills 'trunk-or-treating.' I had never heard of trunk-or-treating before this event which involved gracious volunteers dressing up in costumes and decorating the trunks of their cars while passing out candy. Along with trunks for trick-or-treating, there were booths set up with games, an inflatable bouncer that was very popular with the young children and beads for making jewelry.
I have been out of the country for Halloween since 2005 and I forgot how much fun the holiday is and how it's a great escape to become something only found in fairy tales, cartoons, or in one's imagination. I brought two children with me from Bhutan for their second Halloween. One of the children, Krishna explored the entire carnival and went trunk or treating a few times and had a very full bag of candy by the end of the night. I doubt he got much sleep last night since I kept hearing him munching on candy throughout the entire event. Pankaj helped in handing out candy and we discussed how Halloween is somewhat of a strange holiday with people wearing crazy costumes; we discussed this while my face was painted as a cat and I was wearing large, floppy ears on my head. My favorite part of this event was seeing the large amount of refugee youth present with the kids from Tucson and having interactions with one another.
Среќен ден на вештерките! (Happy Day of the Witch! In Macedonian)
--Kathy Zaleski
(Iskashitaa Community Education Coordinator)