Rineicha Otero in Colombia – Day 5

Wednesday 8/21/2013

Ginna works as mentor to entrepreneur students at ICESI University. Every year ICESI hosts a competition for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses’ plans. The winner has the opportunity to showcase his or her business at the national level. The presentations I viewed were very impressive; all of the business plans and concepts were exciting and new to Colombia.

I also had the opportunity to visit the Central Cafeteria at ICESI.  A private company is contracted by ICESI University to be in charge of the cafeteria. The company employs 25 men and women who serve more than 600 plates in two shifts. Their workday begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. It was impressive to see the small size of the working space versus the amount of dishes produced.

After being in the kitchen, Ginna and I walked over to the Health Department, where I met with Ruby Casteñano, a nutritionist. Space was used very wisely in this office; there was a section for oral health, nutrition, sexually transmitted disease, and maternity, to name a few.

During this visit, I wanted to focus on the challenges being faced by the country and the types of nutrition education being offered to the public. I learned that there is a 23% rate of obesity in infancy, 10% low birth weight, and 89% of malnutrition. It was interesting to hear about the different initiatives in schools, food safety, and healthy lifestyles.

“El Tren de los Alimentos” (food train), is the tool used to educate the public on the food groups, as well as the amount of foods that should be consumed from each group, and it shows variety.

As we walked to our next destination we spotted a Chontaduro street vender. I have never seen such fruit, so I decided to have a taste. The skin was peeled; salt and honey were added. I did not know what to expect, but it was really good! It was a combination of the texture of sweet potato and yellow potato. I can actually have it as a snack anytime of day.