Perfectly Made Zongzi Brings Aid to East Africa

Central  |  June 13, 2019
Photo by: Shirley Wu

Documentation by Shirley Wu and Heidi Li
Adapted by Pheel Wang
Translated by Qingjun Wei (from Chinese)
Edited by Natasha Palance

The procedure for making Zongzi, also known as sticky rice dumplings, is not as simple as one might think—you need to wash bamboo leaves, wash the rice, soak the rice overnight, and use a big steamer to cook it all with. There is a significant time commitment needed for preparation alone.

For over a decade, the annual Zongzi Fundraiser at the Tzu Chi Dallas Branch has filled stomachs and, this year, has raised substantial funding for compassionate aid relief in East Africa after Cyclone Idai. Proceeds will be sent for relief efforts in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, each gravely impacted by flooding and heavy winds this spring.

Volunteers wash tens of thousands of leaves. Photo by: Shirley Wu
Photo by: Shirley Wu

The Dallas team dedicated their hearts and souls to creating tasty Zongzi for this noble cause, and generously shared some secrets from their delicious recipe! According to volunteers, Zongzi tastes better by mixing three different types of rice. Mushrooms, pickled radishes, chestnuts and vegan meat mixed with fried rice all delicately wrapped in fresh bamboo leaves create a symphony of flavors that dance in your mouth upon first bite. Volunteers treated each Zongzi with great care as they prepared for the event.

Vietnamese volunteer Nulan explained that her passion for assisting with the annual event came from the magnitude of change that this one act of kindness brought. Doing a little more, creating just one more Zongzi, means helping one more person in need. Each volunteer shared this same sentiment, and altogether the team made 10,109 Zongzi!

Wherever we can reach, we who are happy and lucky should help those who are facing difficulties.

Mei Ling, Tzu Chi volunteer
Photo by: Shirley Wu

The air in the room was saturated with the savory aroma of fresh Zongzi. Every volunteer was enjoying the moment. After the steamy hot Zongzi cooled down on the rack, volunteers inspected each individual one to ensure they were of the highest quality. You can certainly taste the care and love with each bite.

Are you inspired to join us? Sign up to volunteer by filling out a short form, or visit your nearest Tzu Chi office.

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