Celebrate Menbe’s Birthday

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Menbe invites you to come celebrate her Birthday at Salute on Sunday, July 16th from 2pm to 7pm and help raise funds for Eric, Aiden and Jasiah who lost their mother on April 4th. They witnessed their mother’s murder just like Menbe did when she was only ten. The boys were left with no one to care for them but their grandmother Barbara Harris, a long time Richmond Resident. “Those children are me,” Menbe said. “I know exactly what they are going through.” Despite the tragedy, Menbe knows that the boys will be OK. “I came out OK, and so will they.” During her “Yes, You are Worthy” Mother’s Day Brunch Menbe pledged to help in any way she could so that the children could continue their education.

For her 55th birthday Menbe wants nothing more than to be able to fulfill her promise. She invites you to come and celebrate with complimentary food, wine, champagne and dessert. In lieu of gifts please make a tax deductible donation to the boy’s education fund. Make checks out to The Richmond Community Foundation and reference Menbe’s Way in the memo section.

These boys have been through enough already. Your support will allow them to continue thier education, uninterrupted. Our fundraising goal for this event is $30,000. To reach our goal we have layed out a convenient giving guide:

Level 1: $150 | Level 2: $500 | Level 3: $1,000

For questions please call (510) 215-0803
Menbe’s Way Fund is managed by the Richmond Community Foundation 501 (c)(3) Charity FED ID# 94-3337754

 

Richmond restaurant owner who lost mother hosts brunch for motherless boys

Aklilu is hosting her fifth annual “Yes, You Are Worthy” brunch with a slight theme shift: While in years past she has focused on single mothers living in public housing, this year, she will shine a light on children who have lost their mothers to gun violence, just like she did.

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Peterson: Richmond woman’s Mother’s Day event a respite from grief

Menbere Aklilu hugs Jasiah Porter-Franklin, 3, as she greets him, Dolores Gholar, left, and Aiden Porter, 5, at her Salute e Vita Ristorante in Richmond, Calif. on Friday, May 12, 2017. Jasiah and Aiden’s mother, Rashanda Franklin, was recently killed and this lunch is for the families of victims of domestic and gun violence. Rashanda Franklin was Gholar’s niece.

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Mother’s Day

Menbere Aklilu invites you to make 2017 Mother’s Day Weekend a very special weekend for 200+ Bay Area families. Mother’s Day is coming quickly, and you can help make this day special for an especially deserving mother.

On Friday, May 12th Menbe will host her annual “Yes You are Worthy” brunch for 75 single, low-income Richmond mothers for brunch, with the added treat of special mommy pampering from Richmond’s local day spas. The guest of honor this year will be Barbara Harris, mother of Rashanda Porter-Franklin (the mother of three small children who recently perished during a domestic dispute in Richmond, CA).
Menbe will continue the celebration on Saturday, May 13th, Menbe will create a 4-course luncheon at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland for 150 mothers who are spending time with their children in the hospital during Mother’s Day weekend. The luncheon will be an elegant affair featuring the finest tableware, special flat & silverware and special gifts for the devoted mothers.
To make these wonderful project a success we need your support. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Donate a gift: We are still collecting presents to gift to the mothers. We want the gifts to be special and meaningful, so please donate something that you would personally give to your own mother or would want to be gifted to you. We’re thinking scarves, full-size lotions, and $25 Visa gift cards so they can purchase a meal the following day.
  1. Volunteer: There are many volunteer positions available for this event. We are looking for Gift Wrapping volunteers. We also need volunteers to help set up, serve, and clean up the site on the event date. For more information on volunteer assignments call us at (510) 215-0803
  1. Donate: This event is made possible by the Menbe’s Way Fund. Menbe’s Way is managed by the Richmond Community Foundation. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Menbe’s Way Fund please visit this link.

Buona Pasqua!

In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, we observe a Holy Lent Fast called Tsom which lasts 55 days. During Tsom, we abstain from all meat and dairy products, including eggs and eat a light meal once a day, usually consisting of lentils. After Tsom we celebrate Fasika, what we call Easter in Amharic.

When I was young, preparations for Fasika began with my brother heading to the market to buy a lamb. I was always so proud when we ended up with the biggest lamb in our neighborhood. Every time I would take the lamb to graze I would make sure to slow down as I passed Dagamawit’s house, she was my arch nemesis, and I wanted to make sure she saw my families big beautiful lamb.

In the beginning, Tsom is always exciting. I loved being able to do something that all the adults were doing, it made me feel mature. But after only ten days I was over it. I would beg my brother, Messele, for a little chicken or even just a little sweet treat and he always gave me the same answer: “No!”

The last day of Tsom was always the hardest. All the women would gather in our kitchen and start preparing our Easter feast and the men would go outside and slaughter the lamb (I made sure to stay away during that part!). I would run around gathering spices, help pluck the chickens, and sometimes I was even allowed to stir the Doro Wat (a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew). Oh, that day was torture! There was so much food and the house smelled so delicious, I couldn’t wait until the next day when I could stuff my face full of food.

Years later, I celebrated my first Easter in Italy. To my surprise, I found that my new home had many similar Easter customs to those of Ethiopia. The first was lamb. No Ethiopian Easter feast was complete without a roasted lamb and the same was true in Italy. For many Italians, Pasqua (Easter in Italian) without lamb on their table is hard to imagine. The custom of eating lamb at important religious feasts goes back thousands of years. One of my personal favorite recipes for lamb is Abbacchio alla Scottadito, which literally means “lamb that burns the fingers”.

The second similarity is Easter Bread. In Napoli, they make a Neapolitan Easter Bread call Casatiello. It’s filled with cured meats and cheese and topped with whole eggs. It was one of my favorite Easter treats. Ethiopia also has an Easter bread that’s very similar to Casatiello called Yedoro Dabo. We make Doro Wat and stir in whole hard boiled eggs, then we mix this into the dough and bake it. You end up with a savory bread that if stuffed with chicken and eggs, it’s quite delicious.

Although Italy and Ethiopia couldn’t be more different, both cultures have played an important part in who I am as an individual. I’m proud to consider myself an Italian but I always make sure to remember my Ethiopian roots. Easter is the perfect time to reflect on where we have come but also plan a course for our future. I wish you all a happy Easter and remember “a tavola non si invecchia” (at the table we never grow old).

Buona Pasqua!

-Menbe

 

Calm over the horizon

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

First impressions.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.

They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

I would highly recommend these to any sound mixing specialist.

Inspired by clouds

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I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms. The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger.

When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.

This is custom heading element

This is custom heading element

I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms. The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.

This is custom heading element

This is custom heading element

The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever. I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300.

It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms.

This is custom heading element

This is custom heading element

The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.

Photography is better shared.

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Just the other day I happened to wake up early. That is unusual for an engineering student. After a long time I could witness the sunrise. I could feel the sun rays falling on my body. Usual morning is followed by hustle to make it to college on time. This morning was just another morning yet seemed different.

Witnessing calm and quiet atmosphere, clear and fresh air seemed like a miracle to me. I wanted this time to last longer since I was not sure if I would be able to witness it again, knowing my habit of succumbing to schedule. There was this unusual serenity that comforted my mind. It dawned on me, how distant I had been from nature. Standing near the compound’s gate, feeling the moistness that the air carried, I thought about my life so far.

This is what has happened to us. We want the things we have been doing forcefully to fail. And then maybe people around us would let us try something else or our dreams. We are accustomed to live by everyone else’s definition of success. We punish people for the things they are passionate about, just because we were unable to do the same at some point in our life.

I was good at academics, so decisions of my life had been pretty simple and straight. Being pretty confident I would make it to the best junior college of my town in the first round itself, never made me consider any other option. I loved psychology since childhood, but engineering was the safest option. Being born in a middle class family, thinking of risking your career to make it to medical field was not sane. I grew up hearing ‘Only doctor’s children can afford that field’ and finally ended up believing it. No one around me believed in taking risks. Everyone worshiped security. I grew up doing the same.

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‘Being in the top will only grant you a good life’ has been the mantra of my life. But at times, I wish I was an average student. I wish decisions would have not been so straightforward. Maybe I would have played cricket- the only thing I feel passionate about. Or maybe I would have studied literature (literature drives me crazy). Isn’t that disappointing- me wishing to be bad at academics. It’s like at times I hate myself for the stuff I am good at.

I feel like these concrete buildings have sucked our desires and our dreams. We are so used to comfort that compromise seems like a taboo. We have lost faith in ourselves. If we can make through it right now, we can do the same in the days to come. You only need a desire to survive and nothing more- not money or cars or designer clothes.

Staying locked up in four walls have restricted our thinking. I feel like our limited thinking echoes through this wall. We are so used to schedules and predictable life that we have successfully suppressed our creative side.

When you step out of these four walls on a peaceful morning, you realize how much nature has to offer to you. Its boundless. Your thoughts, worries, deadlines won’t resonate here. Everything will flow away along with the wind. And you will realize every answer you had been looking for, was always known to you.

It would mean a lot to me if you recommend this article and help me improve. I would love to know your thoughts!

When you are alone

You will remember the people more than the place.

When you are alone for days or weeks at a time, you eventually become drawn to people. Talking to randos is the norm. I’ll never forget the conversation with the aquarium fisherman, forest ranger, and women at the Thai market. It’s refreshing to compare notes on life with people from vastly different backgrounds.

When you meet fellow travelers, you’ll find they are also filled with a similar sense of adventure and curiosity about the world. Five days of friendship on the road is like five months of friendship at home. It’s the experiences that bond you together, not the place. A rule I followed that worked well: be the first to initiate conversation. I met some incredible people by simply being the first to talk.

Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.

Travel can be affordable.

Long term travel is different than a luxury vacation. The point is to see the world, not stay in a 5-star hotel. During the trip, I stayed on a strict budget. The goal was to spend no more than $33 per day on accommodations. After a year, I was able to spend only $26.15 per day by booking through HostelWorld and Airbnb. When I wanted to meet people, I’d stay in a shared room at a hostel. When I wanted to be alone, I’d book a private room with Airbnb.

Take the cost of your rent or mortgage + food per month and divide it by 30. This is how much it costs per day to live at home. You will find that it’s possible to travel the world for roughly the same amount. Or, if you live in an expensive city like San Francisco, far less.

English is a universal language.

I was surprised how many people spoke English (apparently 1.8 billion people worldwide). Places where English was less prevalent, I made an effort to learn a handful of words and phrases in the local language. Even though it’s passable, I do desire to learn another language fluently. You can only take the conversation so far when all you can say is: “¿Esto contiene gluten?”

It’s possible to communicate a lot without saying a word. For instance, I left my phone at a restaurant in Chile. I pointed at the table where I was sitting, put my hand to my ear like a phone, then shrugged — 2 minutes later, my phone had been retrieved.

Trust your intuition.

I learned to trust that tiny voice in my head a bit more. When you are alone in a foreign country and your phone is dead, you are forced to trust your intuition. Is this neighborhood safe to walk around? Is this person someone I should interact with? Am I heading the right direction? Intuition is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. It’s feels like a sixth sense when you’re able to read between the lines of a situation.

The world is endless. The world’s a tiny neighborhood. My fav people are the ones who can hold two impossible ideas in their heads.

International Women’s Day 2017

This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, Menbe will be donating 10% of all her restaurant’s sales on March 8th to the Family Justice Center of Richmond. The Family Justice Center has been a cause close to Menbe’s heart for a long time. Menbe donated $15,000 when the center first opened their doors in 2015 and then $20,000 last year. She also hosts multiple fundraising events for the center at Salute throughout the year. Menbe hopes that on this International Women’s Day the community rallies behind the Family Justice Center and helps raise funds for such a vital organization.

Why does Menbe support the Richmond Family Justice Center? After years of physical and verbal abuse and over 8 months pregnant, Menbe found herself alone in the streets of Rome. She had just snuck out of her home in the middle of the night, fearing for her life. She eventually wandered into a women’s shelter ran by the Mother Teresa Sisters, where she later gave birth to her son, Christian. “When I was being abused, I stayed; I had nowhere to go, no one to help me. With a space like the Family Justice Center, I know where to bring women who need a way out of an abusive relationship.” Menbe knows that organizations like the Family Justice Center of Richmond can be the difference between life and death for some women and that’s why she does everything she can to make sure that they have the funds necessary to carry on their amazing work.

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