April 8 is National Empanada Day

Ole! Such a great day to celebrate!

Foodimentary - National Food Holidays


Interesting Food Facts about Empanadas

  1. The Spanish word for bread is “pan”.  “Empanar” is a verb form that means “to bread”.  Emapanada is the past-participle, “breaded”.
  2. It’s basically a single-serving turnover.  It can be filled with sweet foods like fruits, sugars, and syrups, or savory foods like meats, cheeses, and oils.
  3. They originated in northwest Spain, in a region known as Galicia.
  4. Today they are most popular in Spanish-speaking countries across Europe and South America.
  5. Originally they were made with bread dough, but now they are made with pastries as well.

Fun Fact:

The bolani is an Afghan variant of the empanada. Bolanis are flatbreads stuffed with vegetables such as spinach or potato. They are served in the evenings during the Muslim feast of Ramadan as well as at other times.

Bolivian empanadas are made with beef, pork, or chicken, and usually contain potatoes, peas and carrots, as well as a hard-boiled…

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What Rwanda needs 20 years after the Genocide

“People must determine their own positive future”, What Rwanda needs 20 years after the Genocide

Ernest Ngabonzima


Today in rural Rwandan communities, people are proud that they have regained their hope

in life. Rwandans have started to believe in themselves, yet still struggle to be self-reliant and

maintain a sense of self-determination. This is a very long journey from the pervasive passive-

mindedness of 20 years ago in the horrible genocide of Tutsi.

Since 1994, Rwandans have dedicated their efforts into building themselves and their

communities. The first step to rebuild the country was to establish healing and reconciliation,

to unite Rwandans as one people, who respect all types of human dignity. So, now, who

should help Rwanda to have people who are self-determined? Who should play this role to

help the people of Rwanda to believe in themselves? Who will help Rwanda to drive its own



This is an obvious question, of course Rwandans themselves can help other Rwandans.

A young lady called Clenie Mushimiyimana of the Nyagisenyi village located in the countryside

of the Muhabura Volcano in Rwanda, was unable to continue her studies as a result of the

genocide. She decided that her future would be better if she had basic sewing skills which

would allow her to find job opportunities. She said: “I have been able to continue my studies

and I lost hope of living in the future but getting the chance to develop sewing skills will give me

an opportunity to create my own business and prosper.” Today, Clenie attends the vocational

school built in the Nyagisenyi village which was supported by Spark MicroGrants.


So, is Spark helping Rwandan people to determine their own positive future? Is Spark helping

Rwanda to be pro-active rather than staying with sorrow of Genocide?


I would strongly respond YES as Spark MicroGrants involves local people to change their

own lives. The Spark mission is community-led development, helping people to put their

own ideas into action. Through Spark, young graduates from universities work closely with

communities and engage them in a facilitation process of 3 to 5 months to help them to choose,

plan and implement a project. This is a very unique model for community-led development.

Spark involves the community in everything – ultimately increasing the sense of ownership and

creating sustainable solutions in communities.


I, Ernest Ngabonzima, am one of these young people, who have been touched a lot by what

happened in the genocide and questioned myself on how to help my country to regain hope the

a positive future. After finishing secondary school, I was concerned of how people were passive,

not thinking about the future but staying with sorrow and thinking about their relatives, their

parents, their friends lost in the genocide and even those who were stuck thinking about their

sins. I joined Spark in 2010 as a volunteer, it was a chance for me to start helping my broken

country to regain the hope of living the positive future and drive its own development.

I work with Spark to help Rwandan communities to alleviate poverty, to build good inter-

community relationships and to help these communities to learn the basic skills to give them the

ability to determine their own positive future.


As Rwandans, the positive future is in our hands, we should not be consumed by the sorrow

of the genocide but rather think about how to rebuild our broken hearts. It is time to question

ourselves: who am I? What is my history? How am I affected by the history? How is my

present? How should my future be? Who determines my future? What is my role in rebuilding

Rwanda? These are not only questions for Rwandan, but for humankind, everyone in this world

has a role to play to help Rwandans to realize their dreams, determine their own futures, and

take action in their own development.


Ernest Ngabonzima is the Rwandan Country Director at Spark Microgrants. For more on his work please

visit http://www.sparkmicrogrants.org.

*Originally published on sparkmicrogrants.org

Home Brew

Maine. It really is the way life should be. And if you’re here, it’s the way life is. And it’s grand! I am back in lovely Portland, my hometown, where the food and beverage scene has been pretty happening for a while. Then the world found out just how happening it is, and bam! Even more local amazingness happens. From new craft breweries and artesanal coffee roasters to cafes in brownstones and little bagel shops rolling out a piece of NY (or heaven), Portland has got it all going on!

Here’s a quick peek at what I’ve been drinking!

Coffee at Crema

Coffee at Crema

Sparkling and Sisters at the recently renovated Top of The East at the Westin

Sparkling and Sisters at the recently renovated Top of The East at the Westin

Empty Oxbow glass once filled with their Farmhouse Pale Ale

Empty Oxbow glass once filled with their Farmhouse Pale Ale