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RISE Indy moms share Hispanic tamale tradition at Vision Academy

Moms share Hispanic tamale tradition

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hispanic culture is often tied to food, making it something to be savored. A group of moms is making sure that happens with homemade tamales.

Volunteer moms with RISE Indy spent several hours making 400 chicken and cheese tamales. They say it’s important to share their culture so it’s not forgotten and to expose kids at Vision Academy to something new.

Trying out something new sometimes takes a bit of bravery. It may be even a bit confusing, but taking a bite is worth a try.

“Probably for many of our kiddos, it’s the first time they’re getting to eat tamales,” said Bilen Mulugeta, principal at Vision Academy Middle School.

Vision Academy youngsters got an opportunity to taste-test Mexican tamales. Ava Orozco Clara is one of the volunteer Rise Indy moms who worked hard to get it done. She’s been making tamales her entire life, first under the guidance of her mom and grandmother.

“It’s very exciting to share something that’s run down in my family to everyone here. And share that, show it to my children, and make sure they practice it and don’t forget the tradition,” said Orozco Clara through translation.

Before passing out the finished dish, moms gathered in a small kitchen, creating a sort of cultural assembly line — taking the chicken, corn flour, and husks and making it into a meal.

“I just want to appreciate everyone for being there because there were people from Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States. So, I appreciate everyone,” Orozco Clara said.

Orozco Clara is now passing on the knowledge in her kitchen to people familiar with this type of cooking and those trying something new, sharing it with the Vision Academy student body.

“To have this experience where they get to experience cultures at this age is important because we know as you move on in life and you get to college, those experiences become bigger. So, having that exposure now, we’ll get them set up for success,” Mulugeta said.

This type of exposure is what vision academy leaders hope for their student body, showing them different cultures while also showing the power of collaboration and community.

“So having the opportunity for us to be here and expose our kiddos to this experience is a big thing,” Mulugeta said.