VegHead Profile: Nesri Olhaye

VegHead Profile: Nesri Olhaye

Nesri and I went to the same high school in Germany together, and she was vegan before I even knew I was going to be! She’s originally from Ethiopia and is active in her school’s Muslim Student Association. In this VegHead Profile, Nesri tells us why we need to visit Ethiopia and read her favorite books on social justice, and gives us a glimpse into her travels through her photos.

Quick Facts

Name: Nesri Olhaye

VegHead Status: Vegan

Age: 22

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

Current Location: Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

Occupation: Graduating Senior at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) double majoring in Religious Studies and Psychology with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies

The women in this group picture are part of the African Student Union at UNCG. Most of the women are East African descendants such as myself. The traditional dresses are called kemis and are used for a variety of celebrations from weddings to graduations.

Favorites

Favorite Plant-Based Milk: It’s a tie between Vanilla Almond milk and Soy milk. They’re both so good!

Favorite VegHead-Friendly Cafes and/or Restaurants: (in Greensboro) Boba House – they have amazing boba tea

Favorite Foods: This Ethiopian bean dish called Foul

Favorite Place You’ve Visited and Why: Marrakesh, Morocco. I love the culture, food, people. Everything is beautiful and I hope to live there one day.

Marrakesh, Morocco

Favorite Veg Cosmetics/Body Care Brand or Company: I always try to buy cruelty-free but I don’t really have a favorite

Fav Veg-Related/Environmental/Social Justice Books: Social justice books are definitely my favorite and right now I’m stuck between two: The Hate You Give and Between the World and Me, a must read especially because of the current (and historical) violence towards black people.

Fav Veg-Related/Environment/Social Justice Movies: my favorite would be The Reluctant Fundamentalist It’s about the tensions that arose before and after 9/11 through the perspective of a Pakistani man. It’s probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Interview

When did you go vegan and why? Tell us your story!

I went vegan during my sophomore year of high school. Growing up I never really enjoyed fish or chicken so I rarely ate those and then I watched Earthlings which disgusted me completely. I just couldn’t handle the thought of enjoying animal products when they were so brutally and unnecessarily killed. It didn’t take too long after that for me to quit all meat products, but it took me a few months to quit dairy products because I love yogurt. But eventually it became easy to substitute everything and I’m so happy I did! During my freshman year of college I went back to vegetarian just because of financial purposes but all in all I’ve been vegan for about 7 years!

Tell us about your travels:

I’ve visited 17 countries and 12 US states. The best place I would recommend for a VegHead is Ethiopia! The vegetarian options are endless, the food is delicious, fresh, and unprocessed. Ethiopia is a very vegetarian-friendly place because the staple foods are those that are easily acquired and don’t go bad too fast. It’s also very beautiful (although I might be biased since I’m from there), but I recommend traveling to Lalibela, Dire Dawa, Addis Ababa, Jinka and Axum! The culture, dances, language, food and people are so unique in each city and it’s an amazing experience.

Fir-Fir is a traditional Ethiopian dish made from Injera (a spongy bread) and vegetables with berbère which is a spicy red powder. It is completely vegan and most people eat it with a salad on the side.   
This picture at a restaurant features my little sister, Hana, and I in Rotterdam, Netherlands. We went to celebrate Eid there with some of our Somali family.

Do you have a favorite veg recipe you want to share with us?

I love this recipe. I don’t follow the recipe exactly because I like to add some other stuff in and it makes it delicious. Throw in your favorite veg items or try it just how it is because it’s so good either way!

What are your future plans?

After I graduate in May, I fly off with the Peace Corps in September which I’m so excited about! I’m going to be in Cameroon for two years, and then after that I’ll be coming back to school for my Masters and trying for a position with the UN in International Relations.

Me wearing a hijab because I am part of the Muslim Student Association at UNCG and it was hijabi day!

Follow Nesri Here:

Instagram: @_nesri_

Twitter: @ethiopianbitch

 

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