Before our course section on health and diabetes among the Tohono O'odham, I had no idea how much of an impact the disease had on this community. Friday's film helped put this even more in perspective as we watched individuals with diabetes explain what life is like in a community that suffers from one of the highest diabetes and obesity rates in the nation.
For today's blog post, I decided that I wanted to look further into what is being done presently to combat this disease. I stumbled upon the Desert Rain café, a restaurant that has focused on reintroducing families to traditional foods in new and exciting ways. Run by TOCA, Tohono O'odham Community Action, the restaurant is aimed to provide a sustainable local food system that will hopefully have an impact on the diet of the Tohono O'odham people. I found it disturbing in the film when one of the women receiving the usual government boxes of food said that canned gravy was the only "real food" in the mix. I think that the Desert Rain Café provides benefits by making traditional foods more available and affordable and running community events. I also think that programs like this contribute to the O'odham's economic development by providing jobs and purchasing ingredients from local farmers. Additionally, I hope that over time this will alter the O'odham's diets and make it possible for people to afford a healthy lifestyle.