Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the Meriwether Foundation, I would like to express a sincere thank you to all 2010 community volunteers and contributors!


I am so grateful to report that the scale of our work is growing rapidly. From planning to open 2 new medical clinics in Zambia and Zimbabwe to delivering a record number of medical supplies, books, agricultural goods, clothing, school supplies etc, our projects continue to look to better the lives of so many in rural Southern Africa.

(Lambo Village, Zimbabwe)

(Zitha Village, South Africa)

I invite anyone inspired to make a difference this holiday season and in 2011 to help sponsor one of our many programs or join in one of our volunteer trips to Southern Africa scheduled throughout the year. Also check out our 2011 raffle(details below) to win an exclusive Southern Africa Vacation for two!

(Victoria Falls, Zambia)

(Cape Point, South Africa)

I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Prosperous New Year!
(Table Bay Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa)

Nana Meriwether
Co-Founder and Director

Wilhelm D. Meriwether; MD, MPH
President and Medical Director

Nomvimbi Meriwether; JD, MBA
Program Director

Win Southern Africa Vacation For 2 Travelers and Make a Difference at the Same Time: Join Our 2011 Raffle!

Raffle Ticket Cost: $100.00

Grand Prize: International and Regional Africa economy class air­fare for 2 travelers aboard South African Airways from Washington Dulles International Airport or JFK International Airport; ground transportation in Africa; 5 nights in Cape Town at Table Bay Hotel; full day tour of the Cape Point including Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, Penguin Colony at Boulder Beach and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; full day wine tasting and tour of the wineries; cruise to Robben Island to view Nelson Mandela’s cell; full day Cape Town city orientation and township tour; interactive African drum­ming and cultural experience; 3 nights safari and accommodation at a private game reserve in the world renowned Kruger National Park area; volunteer service at the village; 2 nights in Johannesburg at Michelangelo Hotel; full day tour of Soweto and the Apartheid Mu­seum; 3 nights at Royal Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls Zambia; tour of the Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world; day river safari cruise at Chobe National Park in Botswana; elephant ride safari along the mighty Zambezi River.

The Raffle is conducted by the Meriwether Foundation, Inc.. The Raffle proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s ongoing charitable programs in Africa. For the Raffle Official Rules and purchase of Raffle Tickets download the Raffle Form at: www.MeriwetherFoundation.org or email us at: missions@meriwetherfoundation.org

Meriwether Foundation, Inc.
501 ( c ) ( 3 ) International Non-Profit Charitable Organization

Questions or comments? E-mail us at missions@meriwetherfoundation.org or call us at 301-880-0535
Mailing address: 9213 Pegasus Ct. Potomac MD 20854
Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall 2010: Miss California, Duke University and New York!

I have had such a great month!! In early October I ran for Miss Los Angeles County run by Toay Ortiz. Anyone looking for more experience on stage before state/Miss California and a chance to hold a local title that comes with making fabulous appearances in southern California should do a prelim. Toay runs about 5 of them including Miss Hollywood this upcoming February 2011! With Toay and her fabulous team, I am readying for Miss California in just a couple of weeks. We have been gown, wardrobe, swimsuit, makeup etc shopping and I am having a blast with Toay and her team of experts! This week we begin interview and walking training! I cannot wait to make Toay Productions proud at state. (www.toayproductions.com)

(Miss Los Angeles County Weekend before my interview and backstage before the show)

The weekend right after Miss Los Angeles County was Miss California Orientation weekend at the fabulous Riviera Hotel in Palms Springs. It was a weekend full of sessions and photoshoots all in preparation for finals weekend in November. We got to take our official Miss California 2011 Contestant pictures with Benizo!(=an amazing photographer).
(The beautiful Riviera Hotel in Palms Springs, practicing the look I almost did for my official shoot with Benizo(pardon me, I am sans makeup), and finally the look I decided on for my official photo for Miss Ca 2011!)

Besides all of that I got to go on an east coast trip about 2 weeks ago! The weekend started in Maryland where I met up with my parents. We took a road trip to North Carolina…may I just say, so glad I’m not an only child! haha just kidding it was great to spend time with them, especially my dad who I see maybe twice a year because he is always working or in Africa volunteering his time and services.

We went to Duke University where it was my dad’s annual Medical School Alumni reunion. I attended Duke University before transferring to UCLA and it was my first time back since my freshman year of college back in 2003 (I’m old). It was a special Alumni reunion that weekend because the Duke Medical School had an afternoon celebration kicking off construction for the new hospital they are building. My dad was the first African American to attend Duke University, so it was an honor to walk around campus with him knowing what doors he opened for the prestigious university. So many med students came to shake his hand in admiration and thanks and it re-inspired me to keep pursuing my dream to be just like him when I am older.

(Duke University has the most amazing botanical gardens. My mom and I took a walk through them while my dad mingled with his class of 1967)

After Duke, I flew to New York! I can definitely see myself living in NY..hopefully with a move in date around May 2011 ;) It is such an amazing city.

I got there on a Friday night and immediately went to dinner at MPD a new restaurant in the Meat Packing District. During dinner everyone in the restaurant started dancing and my table ended up eating our dessert mid dance to Lady Gaga , it was a blast! The next day I took a walk through SoHo(where I was staying) and had brunch at the Mercer Hotel. I got to see a show too! I saw Jersey Boys! What an amazing cast and production, the music was awesome!

That Saturday night we had dinner at The Lion. The atmosphere and food were fabulous, I hope to go back..but probably won’t be able to get a reservation again :( After dinner we went to Tao for Kim Kardashian’s 30th Birthday party. We of course danced the night away, it was a great time.

(Forgot to take pics at Tao, but everyone always says I look like Ciara so this picture will do!)

The next day, Sunday, was a day full of shopping and walking the city. I was on the look out for a Miss California gown and wardrobe. Blessed with amazing weather, I decided to end my afternoon of shopping with a stroll through central park. I had a great time in New York and cannot wait to get back.

I have so much to look forward to. Miss California is in about 3 weeks and I am having fun preparing. Although a little stressful at times because I am balancing school and starting MCAT classes on Monday, multitasking and being busy 24/7 is what I live for. Ever since my student athlete days at UCLA, I have learned how to juggle my many different ventures all at once. I guess it’s genetic..my dad has lived so many lives in one from being a world class athlete to a world class doctor and humanitarian, I guess I am just trying to be half the person he is!

REMEMBER TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!Especially during this exciting time as I prep for Miss California 2011! Thanks and see ya next time!

(more pics from Miss California Orientation in Palms Springs. In between sessions I would run back to my hotel room to get some Organic Chemistry studying in. And Also a pic of some of my new friends! Miss California this year has the highest number of contestants ever in history, very competitive!..on that note off to hit the gym!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Meriwether Foundation.


About 5 years ago, I was inspired to cofound an international nonprofit charitable organization called The Meriwether Foundation. Motivated by the work my parents did in the early 1980s, the foundation focuses on operating medical and healthcare clinics, sustaining HIV/AIDS orphanages, and establishing community and agricultural projects in rural Southern Africa. Further, in response to the dire need for education at all levels, we have founded schools ranging from preschool to a health science college.



In the early 1980s, my father, Dr. Wilhelm D. Meriwether, traveled with my mother to South Africa to dedicate 8 years of service as a missionary medical doctor. While he worked pro bono in clinics and hospitals, my mother established projects in impoverished villages to motivate economic empowerment. For example, she initiated programs that encouraged villagers to make and sell indigenous arts and crafts to support their families. She promoted feeding schemes for the malnourished and implemented agricultural projects to help meet dietary needs. To this day, whenever my family travels back to the villages my parents worked in, people will sing and dance upon our arrival, grateful for my parents’ selfless dedication.


The Meriwether family has continued to support the needy in Africa both remotely from the US and by organizing trips to the region to raise awareness of the myriad issues still plaguing it. These groups have consisted of students, volunteers, physicians, healthcare and nonhealthcare workers, and even a white house fellows delegation. In 2005, we formally established The Meriwether Foundation, and we have since achieved a 501(C)(3) nonprofit status.


Through my work with the foundation in Southern Africa, I have been blessed to engage in wonderfully enriching experiences. I have helped drill bore holes to provide water for villages whose closest access to water was from rivers or streams several miles away. I have worked to provide food, school fees, uniforms, education and counseling to orphans affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have made bricks from water and river sand to lay new foundations for better village housing. I have provided medical service to the sick while shadowing my father in rural hospitals and clinics. I have fed, played with and taught preschool and primary school students. In the footsteps of my mother, I have helped provide agricultural and medical supplies, clothing, laptops, school books and so much more. I have sat on a committee to plan the curriculum for the health science college founded by The Meriwether Foundation that helps train physician assistants, home base caregivers and other healthcare workers. I am absolutely thrilled to continue this ongoing work through The Meriwether Foundation.


I am so grateful to my parents for paving the way so that I and so many others may help those less privileged in Southern Africa. We have projects in 6 countries, namely South Africa, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zambia. These projects could never exist without continued support from our friends and colleagues here in the US, so I would like to extend to all of you an invitation to volunteer or fund any of our current or future projects.

For more information please email: Missions@MeriwetherFoundation.org. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!!
Ps. Our next trip to South Africa will be in December. If you would like to join, send me an email at nana9213@yahoo.com or email the above posted Meriwether Foundation email.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Random fact about me: I grew up a vegetarian! My father raised us kids(my brother and sister) vegetarian and we were not allowed to eat candy or watch tv either. To this day my father is still a vegetarian...it's probably why he looks like hes 30 years old (when hes actually 60-something;) shh dont tell him I told). Anyway I too to this day would rather a delicious vegetable dinner over a huge steak.(Although I do enjoy a delicious steak once in a while..shh dont tell my dad that either he still thinks I am a vegetarian).

As Miss California(in November) and Miss Los Angeles(in August) near I have begun focusing alot on my diet. For me it's about making better choices. With the ton of school work I have it seems way easier to stop and get a quickie meal to go somewhere when in reality taking the time to make my own meals is a)WAY healthier and b) doesnt even take that long.

What do I eat??Well, I am obsessed with farmers markets. There is a great one every Sunday in Brentwood and they have the best fruit, flowers and veggies. They also have really good Mexican food....:( My typical farmers market bag will be filled with beets, carrots, kale, parsley, spinach, cilantro, yams, all sorts of berries, peaches, lemon, garlic etc. There is just something about picking out your own fresh food from local farmers... The only things I usually pick up from the grocery store are extra firm tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt and granola.(I love using soy products over dairy!They make me feel better and they are better for you)

I sometimes slip from eating healthy especially on weekends but I try to stay on track especially when I think about being in a swimsuit on stage in a couple of months.

Anyway I am off to do more physics problems:( I have an exam next week. I am officially done with the second half of Physics(and Physics in general!!) in about a month...well that is until the MCAT. After this summer I venture into the lovely world of Organic Chemistry in the fall! Wish me luck!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Early Summer 2010.


I love to travel and I am usually blessed to travel somewhere in the world every summer. This summer sadly I can't.. I am taking physics as a part of my Post Baccalaureate Premed Graduate Program at USC and it literally takes up all my time. I am basically taking a years worth of physics in about 10weeks:/

Besides studying I have begun preparations for Miss California this fall:) I was planning on doing a prelim this June, however final exams for my summer course fall the day after the event so I had to postpone for a prelim this August(Miss Los Angeles County)...what does all this mean: I have reunited with my running shoes and workout clothes. I am naturally muscular so my workouts and eating habits before an event like Miss Los Angeles County and Miss California are probably opposite from what most girls do. I try to stay away from too much protein and do massive amounts of cardio. I never weight lift, but you can probably find me swimming or jogging. I live in Santa Monica so I usually will run to the beach. This is weird too but I love to workout at night...there's just something about ending your entire day with a good run!

I am a woman of few words this blog post as I must get back to the books(yep studying on a Friday night and lovin it!), but I made a fun little video to compensate(It is posted above)...you know what they say a picture says a thousand words, so hopefully videos say a million! If you can't access it or want to view it in a bigger screen you can find it on my youtube channel! Enjoy and see you at my next post!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Miss USA.

Last week I finally finished finals and this past weekend I got to travel to Las Vegas for Donald Trump’s Miss USA. I started doing pageants in 2007 after I “retired” from volleyball. I still felt a need to compete in something so I entered my first pageant Miss Malibu. I won and got the opportunity to compete for Miss California USA!

I have told many people this, but it is so amazing how just one weekend out of the year can allow you to gain so much confidence in yourself. It’s like nothing I have ever participated in and every year I grow and take from my Miss California experience values and lessons that I apply to all aspects of my life.

It is sad there are so many stereotypes of what it means to compete in a pageant, but the truth is it takes a lot to put yourself out there! When I started I had little to no self confidence in myself. I can proudly say competing has provided for me what I was missing and that is facing and challenging yourself to really understand who you are and what you believe in. I can tell you if you don’t know who you are and you haven’t mentally prepared, it becomes immediately apparent the second you set foot on stage. It takes a whole lot of self evaluation and I am thankful that my experiences have allowed for me to open up and be the confident, ambitious, intelligent, personable woman I am today!

I am blessed to have the opportunity to compete and this year I am excited to start the season off by competing in the Miss Regional California pageant in June. It is an official prelim to Miss California 2011 in November.

Preparing for Miss California (and any prelims along the way) is tough and takes great discipline. Even from many months before an event, I begin tailoring my diet and workouts. Having to be in a swimsuit in front of hundreds of thousands of people in the audience, on the internet and on tv definitely keeps you on track!

As I said before apart from the physical, there is the more important journey of mental preparation. The whole weekend at Miss California you are surrounded by media and have to go through interviews both behind the scenes and on stage. Preparation for this part of competition really involves getting to know yourself to the core. It is my favorite part of competing and is the most valuable reward I have ever and will ever take home with me!

(PS: whenever I tell people I compete for Miss California USA the first response is “what is your talent?” and I would like to straighten this out once and for all: Although I am very talented;), the Miss California USA competition is a state prelim for the Miss USA pageant put on by Donald Trump and only entails interviews, swimsuit and evening gown to compete. Every year all 51 state delegates travel to a city(Las Vegas for the past 3 years and I believe 3 years to come) for 2 weeks to compete and the winner gets to move to New York, live in Trump towers, travel the world, attend red carpets, represent a great cause etc. for 1 year. It is truly a dream!
In contrast, the Miss America pageant is the one which entails performing a talent as a part of competition. Miss USA and Miss America are thus 2 completely different systems!!)

That is all for now! Thanks for coming and see you at my next blog!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010


As many of you know I used to play volleyball! I started in the 8th grade after my best friend Naabia urged me to take volleyball as my PE class. My older sister(Fortune) also played and I can clearly remember running to the high school gym every day after school to peep into her practices. It was probably really annoying to have her younger sister snooping around, but from the day I was born I have looked up to her and tried to do everything she did. Fortune ended up going to Stanford University where she ran track for 3 years and graduated with honors in Human Biology…she went to University of San Francisco Medical School following. From watching my sister on those fall afternoons, I knew volleyball was the sport for me(even though I also played basketball and ran track). By the end of high school, I ended up achieving 12 varsity letters in all three of the sports I participated in (meaning I played varsity in volleyball, basketball and track starting from my freshman year to senior year).

My father strongly encouraged me to run track and do high jump. At the age of 28, while already practicing medicine as a full time doctor, a friend of my fathers told him to enter a meet…he did and by the end of his track career he had run in the World Championships and was Olympic Games bound. He unfortunately tore his hamstring and couldn’t go, but keep in mind his age!can you imagine if he had competed when he was younger…or maybe it’s in the Meriwether genes to reach your prime at 28 which would definitely put my mind at ease for reaching the ancient age of 25 this May! I digress...sorry..my father ended up breaking (and still holding) the world record for the 100yrds because soon after he broke it, they changed the race to the 100meters..as a result he will forever hold that record(which I think is really neat!) He also made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1971 wearing the typical uniform he became famous for wearing while running: a white undershirt, yellow (SHORT) shorts and suspenders!(back then nabbing a cover was a very rare accomplishment.)

After high school I was recruited to play volleyball at Duke University (my father’s alma mater...he was actually the first African American to go to the prestigious university). After one semester I decided to transfer to sunny southern California where I was recruited to play volleyball at UCLA. (I ended up also joining the UCLA track team as a high jumper for one season) By the end of my career at UCLA I was a 2 time All American and on my way to play professionally in Puerto Rico for about 5 months in a wonderful town called Mayaguez. After my professional season, I was invited to train for the 2008 Olympics in Colorado Springs.

The 3-4years I spent on the UCLA volleyball team were the best years of my life. Playing for UCLA was not just an athletic experience; it affected who I was off the court as well, allowing me to become the confident, ambitious, intelligent woman I am today. I made such good friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life and I am so grateful to have had the experience of being a student athlete during my college years. I to this day, have a closet full of blue and gold sweats and it was not till I stopped playing that I realized I needed a new wardrobe!!! (SHHHH don’t tell anyone but, I currently attend USC (UCLA’s biggest rival) and I must say, I still bleed blue and proudly wear a blue backpack around USC’s red and gold campus) I am a true BRUIN FOR LIFE!

(the game pic below where we are in a sea of red is from my senior year when we made it to the final four vs. Nebraska. We played in front of a record breaking crowd...my last night of college volleyball:(

Monday, April 19, 2010

Student life

This is my first official post thanks for joining me! My life right now is a little crazy. I graduated in 2007 from UCLA and about a year later I decided to do post graduate work at USC.

I am currently a Post Baccalaureate Pre-Med student at USC. It's a 2 year program for students or professionals who graduated with a degree not sufficient to apply to med school(aka I took no science classes during my years at UCLA as a Political Science major) or for people who decided to change their careers and go to medical school. As you probably know, to go to medical school you need certain prereqs(like biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry etc) and the post baccalaureate program allows me those classes as well as MCAT classes. It's about a 2 year program and I will be done next year, then off to med school!

The classes are really intense(especially since I haven't taken science classes since high school..don't ask how many years ago that was). On top of my classes I am a Med-Volunteer at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills where every 3 months I rotate between different departments in one of the most well known hospitals in the world. I am currently shadowing trauma surgeons and my next rotation is following anesthesiologists! My dad is an Emergency Room doctor so I got to get a glimpse into his hectic world. I am looking forward to shadowing the anesthesiologists because I will get to see such a wide variety of surgeries! (the pic above is of me shadowing med students, residents, and attendings all part of the trauma team at Cedar Sinai, we are off to the ICU)

Anyway I am off to go study once more...I have an exam in chemistry this thursday on various topics including complex ions: wouldn't having to know diaquadiamminedihydroxocopper(III) nitrite drive you crazy too! eep wish me luck!