Friday, July 15, 2011

Senegal: Gore Island

This was one of the most unique experiences I have had in my 20 odd years on this earth. For those who don't know, Gore Island is a small port in Dakar, Senegal where hundreds of years ago men, women and children were enslaved and forced to migrate to the Americas. I am getting goosebumps from just writing this because it is taking me back to all of the emotions I felt when I was on the island. The slave house on the island is still there and running as a tourist attraction. The guides recount the stories of many enslaved Africans who were shipped to Cuba, Brazil, the US, and all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Entire families were split up and sold and traded in different countries. One could trade a mirror for a young lady.

The facilitators running the YOWLI conference created a small ceremony where we did a libation, a prayer and we broke bread and shared it with each other while the participants from the Diaspora (people in the world with African descent) said, "You are a part of me" and the African participants said, "And I am a part of you." There were many tears during the entire ceremony. I broke down as soon as I walked in the place. It pained me to know that this ever took place, but even more the thought that we are still dealing with modern day slavery today.

I couldn't help but to wonder where did my descendants come from? How did they get to the "New World?" I guess this explains why I feel like it is so important to acknowledge ones blackness, it is somehow in honor to all of those people who were enslaved, brutally mistreated, dehumanized, raped, sold, beaten, and forced to move to a place where they would continue to be discriminated, stereotyped, targeted, and the list goes on.

I am against the argument that many of my counterparts often argue, "It happened in the past, leave it there." We can't leave it there because we are still suffering all of the consequences from this tragic historical disaster. When I say we I am speaking of all of the people from the Diaspora and those in Africa and all of those who are being enslaved today. It should not stay in the past because today millions of women and children are being illegally trafficked and smuggled around the world, including the USA. We should do the complete opposite of this and keep this event close to our hearts and minds so that we are reminded that we need to fight against injustices even if it is at a community level and that community can be your school, your department at work, your gym, you street, wherever it is, just try and make this world a little better each day, not only for my future children and yours, but for us, today, now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Senegal: Drums at Sunset

The sound of the drum was a big part of my trip. In this particular occasion we visited one of the supervisor's home. There was tons of dancing too, but I made sure to put my camera away, let's just say there was some SERIOUS dancing happening. I love to move to the sound of the drum and I wasn't the only one, there were lots of children dancing and jumping around to the drum beats. To top it off, the sun was setting and the lighting was just incredible. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Senegal: Faces

Here are some of the great people I met in Senegal. They came from all over Africa, here we have friends from Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Senegal: Cool Patterns and Shades


Finally, after promising to post these pictures of my trip to Dakar, Senegal from back in December of this year, I have decided to post pictures all week. I will also take some time to write a bit about the amazing opportunity of visiting an African country and meeting people from all across Africa.

The Reversed To Do List

I have mentioned this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth mentioning it again. Today was one of those days where everything just seem to go wrong, I forgot my lunch at home, they wouldn't cash my paycheck in two different banks, the lock on the door at work broke, and the list goes on and on. So to overcome all this negative energy, I have decided to pat myself on the back and give myself some kudos for what I did manage to accomplish today. By managed to accomplish I mean every little thing I did, from paying the rent to simply putting my phone to charge as soon as I got home (I am one of those people who is always carrying a discharged phone because I am too lazy or forgetful to connect the darn thing to the charger).

The most important thing I did today was signing up for the gym. I have gained a total of 32 pounds since my freshman year in college, I am only 24 and believe I could go back to that weight. More than just pounds, I need to start feeling better about my health and yes my image. In no way I want to conform to what is seen as beautiful in the magazines and on TV, but I want to feel good with what I feel I have constructed as beautiful, and lets just say that being out of breath after going up a few flights of stairs aint it! So I want to rethink my eating habits and my exercising routine (or lack there of) a bit more. I really do feel better and I am more productive in every aspect of my life when I am consistently active. More than losing the weight I really want to just create a lifestyle without sacrificing all of the things I love to eat. I have always hated diets and I don't plan on starting one now, I am just making a few adjustments.  I am also doing a GOC (Grow Out Challenge) and treating my hair with sweet natural things like honey and olive oil so that it can grow long and I can wear it big and beautiful! Oh and one last thought on this weight thing, you feel better when you look better to you, this morning two of my jeans that I bought last year didn't get past my thighs, that is a problem, an unhealthy one at that, so I have decided to fix it!

So now go on and create a reversed to do list so that you can admire it and congratulate yourself for being so awesome and prevailing through all of the negative things that you encountered throughout your day. Be grateful to the universe, the people and the God(s) who helped you accomplish these things. Love yourself.