Isabella Gomez Sarmiento

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento is a 2019 Kroc Fellow reporting for Goats and Soda, the National Desk and Weekend Edition. She joins NPR after graduating from Georgia State University with a B.A. in journalism, where her studies focused on the intersections of media and gender. Throughout her time at school, she wrote for outlets including Teen Vogue, CNN, Remezcla, She Shreds Magazine and more.

On a typical sunny spring afternoon, the outdoor seating of Atlanta's Krog Street Market would usually be packed. But it's not a typical week.

As more and more people practice social distancing and stay inside in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the tables at Krog are completely deserted.

Most restaurant booths have large signs indicating they're either closed or only serving food to-go. But there's still people coming in and out, carrying Postmates and GrubHub bags.

It's Friday afternoon, and 12 people are gathered in a pole dancing class in Washington, D.C. They start warming up in front of a wall of mirrors, music at full blast. At first, it looks like any fitness class with the first 15 or so minutes consisting mainly of ground stretching on yoga mats.

Then they climb up on the poles. Some people twirl around, others fully invert, lifting their legs over their heads.

What can't Bad Bunny do?

Challenging traditional gender norms and aesthetics in the male-dominated world of urbano? Check. Revealing, via the heartfelt closing track of his new album, that he might be retiring at the end of this year? Check.

A year ago, my first real relationship came to an end. On what would have been my first Valentine's Day alone in years, I decided to stop moping and take myself to the newly opened Hattie B's Hot Chicken, a Nashville chain whose business had spread to Georgia. For support, I asked an old friend to come along.

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled its official portraits of Michelle and Barack Obama nearly two years ago. Since then, the gallery reports that attendance has nearly doubled.

Next summer, the portraits will hit the road to reach an even wider audience.

In Washington, D.C., dozens of people line up behind velvet ropes every day to admire artist Kehinde Wiley's interpretation of the former president. It features Obama sitting at the edge of a wooden chair, surrounded by lush foliage. Pink and white flowers are dispersed across the canvas.

The fourth annual Women's March descended on the streets of Washington on Saturday. But unlike the first demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands to the capital the day after President Trump's inauguration, the march drew just a fraction of the original turnout as the movement has struggled with changes in leadership and questions about inclusivity.

The demonstration in Washington was the main march, but sister marches were also held in more than 200 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Brussels.

On an unusually warm January afternoon, 28-year-old Icy Coomber attended a poster-making session for the fourth annual Women's March in Washington, D.C.

Unlike the friend she accompanied to the event, Coomber did not participate in any of the previous anti-Trump demonstrations. Three years ago, the first march drew hundreds of thousands of people to the nation's capital and hosted sister marches in cities around the world.

A cat with sunglasses on TikTok. A mom and dad fan-girling over their teenage daughter's singing skills. A hashtag showcasing just how hard young Nigerians are willing to work for their future.

In a year of gloom and doom, disasters and disease, these are the sweet online moments from around the world that brightened up 2019.

How do Inuits teach their kids not to get angry?

What is the story behind a practice known as "sex for fish" in Malawi?

And ... oh my heavens ... what have we humans done to the planet?

Stories in Goats and Soda that answered these questions were some of our most popular in 2019.

Here are our top 7 stories of the year, ranked by page views.

For people who live in food deserts, getting groceries can be a real challenge.

Yes, the Miss Universe pageant has its share of detractors. There is, for example, that swimsuit competition.

But then there is this year's winner to consider: Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa.

When Tunzi was crowned as the winner of the 2019 Miss Universe competition on Sunday night, she took a moment to speak about the importance of shifting antiquated beauty standards — and finally celebrating "black girl magic."

Evo Morales stepped down from the Bolivian presidency on Nov. 10, after the military asked him to do so, and fled to Mexico for asylum.

In the most northerly Canadian territory of Nunavut, grocery shopping is expensive.

Like, really expensive.

So much so that residents regularly post in a Facebook group called Feeding My Family to share photos of high prices at their local stores.

A package of vanilla creme cookies: $18.29. A bunch of grapes: $28.58. A container of baby formula: $26.99.

In Cameroon's Bamiléké culture, a woman gives birth to her child surrounded by the entire family. The following days are filled with post-birth customs and traditions.

Rosine Mbakam, a Cameroonian filmmaker, did not get to experience these traditions. She gave birth to her first son in Belgium in 2012, alone in the hospital with her husband. Thinking about her family back home, she started crying, she says now. And then, after some time, she began writing.

In 2005, when Mikael Chukwuma Owunna was 15 years old, he came out as gay on MySpace.

"There's a white man at the door."

In the new CBS comedy Bob Hearts Abishola, those words cause a flurry of concern for an immigrant Nigerian family living in Detroit.

"Tell me, when has that ever been good?" demands Auntie Olu, played by Shola Adewusi.

Before the members of Congolese music collective KOKOKO! take the stage at Washington, D.C.'s Rock & Roll Hotel, they slip into bright yellow jumpsuits.

The fashion choice, they explain, has utilitarian roots: That's what a lot of workers in Congo wear. Their instruments have a similar no-frills style — they were crafted from kitchen pots, tin cans and air-conditioner parts.

Editor's note: This story includes images that some readers may find disturbing.

Sherrine Petit Homme LaFrance was crying on the side of a road when China Laguerre spotted her.

Hurricane Dorian destroyed LaFrance's newly constructed house in Great Abaco Island on the northern edge of the Bahamas the same night she moved in. That was on Sept. 1.