The last few weeks were a whirlwind of work and personal travel opportunities that linked back to African food security in different ways.  When a colleague in Rome invited me to a Mexican-themed cultural fundraiser she was performing in, I found it too tempting to pass up despite many looming work deadlines.  The Manyinga Project presents Mexican Folkloric Dance program was a colorful spectacle accompanied by a lively mariachi band.  Still in awe of colleagues who manage to maintain creative talents outside of our hectic day jobs.


I love vibrant dance programs and the temptation to get some authentic Mexican food (normally a near impossible feat in Rome) was too strong.  Definitely made the right choice in attending!

Manyinga Project Presents Mexican Folkloric Dance

The evening was also a success in terms of reaching its fundraising goals for the Manyinga Community Project, which sponsors school projects in North Western Zambia.  The schools supported by the project offer orphans and vulnerable children access to education, water, better nutrition, and health.  A key component of the Manyinga project includes a farm initiative that provides students basic farming training.  Agricultural specialists visit the schools once a week to teach gardening and farming skills.


Students learn about livestock management and effectively utilizing seeds, fertilizer, water, and other inputs.  Older students receive marketing and entrepreneurship skills which are crucial in an economy where over 80% of the population gains its livelihood from the agriculture sector.  To donate or learn more about the project, please visit the Manyinga website.

Los Rancheros Ensemble in Rome


The predominantly Italian and expat audience were treated to traditional Mexican folk dance/ballet performed by the Rome-based Los Rancheros Ensemble.


The non-profit Los Rancheros ensemble was founded in 1977 by Mexican dancer Susana Moraleda.  Like many expats in Rome, she fell in love with an Italian and decided to make her home in Rome. Decades later, the Los Rancheros Ensemble is a family affair that promotes Mexican folklore culture throughout Europe.


The evening’s program included dances from different regions of Mexico.  Susana diligently provided information about the history and cultural significance of each piece including the influence of European dance forms on Mexican folkloric dance and vice-versa.