Portland cuisine supports health in West Africa

A story by Maria Cushing from 2018

Maria Cushing in Cape Verde

I love to cook. I present Portuguese Colony-inspired food from my native countries of Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau at festivals to support a non-profit I created in 2003, Amigos de Mente (Friends of Mind). We help establish immigrants in New England and assist Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau in improving health and medical institutions there. I love to cook because I came from family of 14 children I am #6, and we always had food and cooked a lot. My mother she was great cook.

I grew up in Cabo Verde where I received a Bachelors degree in Library Studies and Respiratory Therapy (RT). I moved to the USA in 1980. I was very young and a new graduate, so I when back school get my HS and GED and started out working start as a waitress. Today, I work as a Cardiology Technician at Maine Medical Center.

I have always worked with my community to improve their health and social economic life. I work in interpreter services for the City of Portland and Community Health Worker organization, and work with Portland Empower Parents at Portland High School. I love to help the New Portuguese Speak Immigrants. I am a Member of Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Empower the Immigrant Women, and the League of Women Voters Maine (LWVM).

I love Maine because it reminds me of my home, Cabo Verde Island with fresh ocean products and a lot of seafood. I have been in Maine for almost 37 years. Now Maine is my land because I have spent more of my life in Maine than Cabo Verde.

Medical supplies going to Guinea-Bissau

Maria in Cape Verde

Fundraising in Portland by selling Cape Verde/Guinea-Bissau food!