Make The Connection

September 25, 2023 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Nuri Craig ’25 enjoys seeing a giraffe in the wild during an OWU Connection experience in Southern Africa. While there, he studied food marketing and sales in connection with food availability and fitness culture. (Photo courtesy of Nuri Craig ’25)

Mental Nourishment

Ohio Wesleyan Student Studies Food Relations in Lesotho in Southern Africa

Nuri Craig ’25 is majoring in Nutrition and planning a career as a nutritionist/personal trainer or in nonprofit work tied to food security or fitness. (Photo courtesy of Nuri Craig ’25)

Name: Nuri Craig ’25
Hometown: Mount Vernon, Ohio
High School: Mount Vernon High School
Major: Nutrition
Minor: Black World Studies
OWU Connection Experience: Travel-Learning Course (TLC) to Southern Africa in combination with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant

Craig and nine classmates visited Africa over the summer to complete the travel component of a Women’s and Gender Studies/Health Communications course. He also conducts a research project titled “Observation of Food Relations and Sources in Lesotho,” supported by an OWU DEI Grant.

DEI Grant Lessons

“The DEI Grant observes the culture surrounding food marketing and sales, along with food availability and fitness culture.

“The most important lesson I learned from this project is my privilege when it comes to my relative location to school, stores, and whatever other important locations I need to visit in conjunction with water access. Relative location to water is another observable obstacle that was important to acknowledge and understand.”

Travel-Learning Lessons

“Our Travel-Learning Course was meant to look into Black women’s health and feminism in South Africa, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

“The most important lesson I learned regarding this was the many barriers that women living in rural areas of any of these countries face when it comes to accessing healthcare promptly. This was especially true when we were discussing pregnant women in Eswatini getting proper post- and prenatal care for themselves and their baby.”

Career Focus

“The trip helped me focus on my future career path. With nutrition and fitness as my future, how communities work together to be self-sufficient when it comes to food was something great to see.

“One example was the marketplace we visited in Eswatini in which farming practices were taught to the community and then used at their own homes to make farms. On top of this, the man who made the program has big goals to work with athletes and those who are ill to create diets to support their needs through a restaurant that would be supported by the marketplaces farm.

“There were many interconnected systems of food and community that were observable, and this is something I want to work with in the future.”

The trip helped me focus on my future career path. With nutrition and fitness as my future, how communities work together to be self-sufficient when it comes to food was something great to see.

Nuri Craig ’25

My Favorite Moment

“The marketplace was my favorite moment as it gave me a direct career-oriented reason to visit the continent again. The marketplaces concept and future goals were so creative and looked to support the health and well-being of that community and adjacent ones. It was something that I would be proud to be a part of, and it was really interesting to hear how much knowledge and community effort went into all aspects of the functions of the marketplace.”

Important Instruction

Professor (Dawn) Chisebe and Dr. (Phokeng) Dailey were great as they both have expansive knowledge of different aspects of the continent. Chisebe’s historical knowledge of all the different spaces we visited was such a great thing to be in the presence of, as every moment could become a learning one even when it just seemed like we were having fun.

“The same could be said for Dailey, as she had so much to say about the infrastructure of the health system in the spaces we were in, along with things connected to health in the spaces we were in. …

“There were so many learning moments on this trip that wouldn’t have been possible without them, and I was surprised at how many times a day I was challenged to think about something we talked about or saw and how many discussions were had between us (students) and the professors to process these things we saw or talked about earlier.”

Campus Involvement

Black Men of the Future, Chess Club, and student-employee in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA)

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan?

“Travel opportunities and cost.”

My Plans After Graduation

“Personal training/nutritionist and nonprofit work for food security or fitness programs. The Nutrition Department is amazing and experiences like this TLC have given me chances to learn about health in ways that many others wouldn’t have the opportunity to.”

OWU Travelers

In addition to Craig, Ohio Wesleyan students SK Bulander, Jemimah Chukwuemeka, Faith Deschamps, Hodan Khalif, Emma Luft, Willow Rosser, Carly Sanders, Greyson Wells, and Jasmyn Zimmerman also traveled to Southern Africa as part of the Travel-Learning Course, which explored “the relationship between language, culture, race, gender, and place on health outcomes, and the unique ways that Black women frame their activism surrounding access to and the creation of public health resources.”