Bahia El Oddi – Founder
“Let’s get a sweet at MaMa’s Ganoush!” Fatima whispered in my ear. In three secs, we were already at MaMa’s, begging her for a leftover piece of her delicious sweet. We knew that after two min and one hundred “no”, MaMa would always give us a generous piece. Despite being our neighborhood’s most famous chef, she always had the same motto: hungry children and women first. Solidarity had no price for her.
Like most chefs who own these small food businesses that proliferated across our cities, MaMa has been driven by the sensory, the human, her service to others – not by money or a thirst to expand.
Today MaMa’s Ganoush is closed. Forever. She paid every single one of her employees – “her kids” as she used to call them. They lost their “MaMa” – their “mother”. The community lost its favorite chef. We also lost our “second home”, this beloved destination between home and work where we exchanged our ideas, forged relationships, and strengthened our community.
I, like thousands of others, live now with a pinch in our hearts. If places like MaMa’s close, the psychic and economic devastation can’t be underestimated. These small food businesses employ – and recirculate money – locally. An increasing number of them have been owned by women and minorities. They define and protect communities. They are anchors and harbors all at once. Our neighborhoods would otherwise be moonscapes of Burger Kings and Dunkin’ Donuts.
But today, we are linked by a pandemic that reminds us of the fundamental fact of human interdependence and connections, and how much we have neglected them.
And today too, CoCaSha brings us all an opportunity to Connect, Care, and Share with these “MaMa’s Ganoush” who shaped our memories, relationships, and ideas. With just ONE CLICK.
After graduating from Harvard Business School, Bahia El Oddi joined MIT Open Learning to found TRUE Africa University, an online university aiming to empower African talent to accelerate the continent’s development.
Prior to that, Bahia worked at Google Arts & Culture, a Google initiative creating technologies to make cultural heritages accessible to anyone. Before joining Google, Bahia worked as a consultant at Bain & Company, where she advised companies across industries and geographies on strategic alternatives and efficiency opportunities.
More recently, she led the strategy and the implementation plan for the Education Outcomes Fund in Morocco, working closely with the Ministry of Education and multiple education organizations.
As an MBA Summer intern, she developed the measurement framework of the African Leadership Academy Education Incubator.