Thursday, May 12, 2011

Answered Prayers

“It’s not fair. It’s not fair.” George Mungai, Artistic Director of the Phoenix Players of Kenya stated when I told him I was leaving today. He’s been the supervisor of my independent study project, and an amazing mentor and friend. The Phoenix Players is the only reparatory theater in Kenya. Being there for the past month has been the highlight of my semester. For me the only sacred place that comes close to church is this. Being in a theater and with theater minded people. I’ve had the time of my life writing props lists, reading and critiquing plays, watching and critiquing plays, running warm ups, documenting warm up techniques, learning new ones, learning what and how Phoenix works and just talking and playing around with the great entertainment faces of Kenya. I’ve fallen in Love. Who could ask for more?
            What I would ask for is more- More time here. I don’t want to leave. Something clicked for me here. This is where I belong- at least for part of my life. If Mama didn’t need me, I would have found the money and paid to stay for another month, or two weeks at least. But nothing comes before Mama. Being here has truly helped my craft and my commitment to it. I’ve been exposed to amazing people and institutions with a wealth of valuable information not just for me, but for the world. I mean think about it- I’ve worked with and have established relationships with the largest Black Reparatory Theatre Company in the US and the only (and by default black) Reparatory Theater Company of Kenya! I’ve never doubted God’s favor on my life and this is yet another example of it. They welcomed me with open arms and brought me into their hearts. And I ate up every bit of it!
            I’ve been to Karen, Meru, Tanzania, Amboseli, Mombasa, Nairobi and Nyeri. I’ve seen ‘Witchdoctors’, hunter and gatherers, pastoralists, professors, tour guides, performers, prostitutes, beggars, babies, hawkers, businessmen, nuns, members of parliament, students, actors, musicians, celebrities, mothers and fathers. And I’ve discovered something in each one. I’ve seen slums and mansions, slept in resorts and on dirt. I’ve laughed till I cried and cried because there was nothing to laugh about. I’ve prayed with fervor and let other people pray for me. I’ve spent more money than I planned but consider it all an investment. I’ve eaten chicken and greens constantly and plan on adding chapatti and chai to my regular diet. I’ve eaten goat and gotten diarrhea almost every time. I’ve learned Kenyan childhood games from successful actors at the Phoenix and taught my childhood games to children afflicted with AIDS. I’ve been starred at constantly because people can’t understand why this Kenyan is talking with such a funny accent. I’ve learned enough Kenyan vocal expressions to last me until I return. I’ve whined to my Kenyan mothers and have had ice cream eating and gossip sessions with my Kenyan sisters. I’ve broken hearts and answered prayers.
            My life is the culmination of answered prayers. As my mother says I fly on borrowed wings. I’m living one day to the next just to do God’s will and be a blessing to other people. I believe my Life is and will continue to be a testament to God’s greatness. Why should I be the first of my kin to do something like this? Lord knows I haven’t been good enough to deserve it. But I work hard to make the most out of it. So that my kin and everyone I’m connected to benefits from it. Blessings through osmosis.  I want to be the vessel for someone else’s blessing. I may be the first of us to do something like this but as God as my witness I won’t be the last. 

Ninakuacha na hii 

                                                                Nitarudi, bila shaka

    Check the bottom left pic, that's me in the society section of one of Kenya's most read papers

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Africa- Do you think of Us?

Being in Africa has proven to be wearisome on my physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological self. The last two weeks we spent out of Nairobi. The first week we visited Amboseli to see the Maasai community. The second week we went to the coastal city of Mombasa to see the Swahili and Muslim communities.

I love to read. It is fulfilling and selfishly I love to read because it adds to my social capital. For each component we have a list of readings to accompany it. On our long drive from Amboseli to Mombasa I began the readings and something that I had unconsciously already known jumped out at me in the readings. It stated that these sandy beaches we were headed to were the last parts of Africa that many slaves had seen before been shipped away forever. I placed the reading in my lap and my glazed expression focused out the window. My stomach was already uneasy from the sickness I was recovering from, but this made it worse. I’ve always had a close relationship between my feelings and my physical wellbeing. Under extreme guilt my stomach can feel like a pound of cement was poured into it. When uncomfortable or scarred my heart beats fast and I begin to shake and it’s hard to walk. Things like that. Anyway- I began to have serious doubts on weather I actually wanted to go there or not. It made me sick to think about treading on the same ground my people had treaded into captivity hundreds of years ago. But what added insult to injury was the fact that I didn’t know if anyone else would understand. The other black American is a female whom I’ve come to love dearly. I was praying she would share my sentiment.

This was one of those times that I resented the fact that so few of us were on this trip. Now I know black people are different but I’ve been taught and have come to believe that there are some universal parts of us that we share. And if there were more of us here I wouldn’t have felt the need to keep quiet for so long.

The staff member whom accompanied us was Mr. Sinnary. He’s a very intelligent and charismatic man. One morning near the end of our stay there I got fed up with my feelings and needed to vent them. My fellow Black American did understand my feelings but I envied the fact that she was not tormented as I was. During breakfast when most of the students had left the area I began speaking to Sinnary about my feelings. I told him that I felt a bit uncomfortable being here. That it was kind of creepy and depressing. I wanted to know if Africa ever thought about us? I mean the white man is bad but some of those slaves were bought and paid for from other Africans. I wanted to see some plaque- some statue, something to say they remembered us. I mean- we remember them. I felt neglected and odd. Like it should be wrong to vacation on this sand soaked with slave blood. I felt like I shouldn’t be having fun there. Like I should be having a memorial service.
But in the midst of this conversation a white male- my antithesis- came and literally grabbed Sinnary to pull him away from our conversation. My heart almost stopped. I couldn’t believe how rude he was being. I voiced my disgust telling him there are ways that decent people interrupt conversations. I said I couldn’t believe he was being so disrespectful when I would NEVER treat him this way. He never seemed phased. He barley looked at me. Like my blackness was invisible. I told him that all decency that I thought abided in him was gone. I was very hurt. The night before almost the exact thing had happened when I was asking Sinnary to clarify the significance of the Mijikenda people we had seen. But this time was much worse. I don’t make a habit of being vulnerable, but this time I was. I had feelings I couldn’t reconcile and it hurt that I was the only one being persecuted by them. In the midst of me discussing my jacked identity calamity and black history blemish a white man had ended my quest for answers. How symbolic. How ugly and sick and ironic. Even in Africa as I search for myself I’m thwarted by the white man. Lol. Please read this with sympathy because I am also currently reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X. It’s crazy to read this while in Africa. I usually put up with a lot of mistreatment but what I cannot stand is being disrespected. And at that moment that was for me the tip of disrespect of not only me but also my people. And you DON’T do that- I’m Diamond dammit. I wanted to hit him. It’s taken every bit of Christianity in me not to take vengeance (that characteristic comes from my Deddy). I was hurt that he didn’t understand because I wanted him to… but I know he never will. Not because he’s a white man- but because he has no concept of respect for another adult. His mother should have done better.  

That afternoon my black friend, my white female friend, and myself went out on the beach- we poured some liquor in the sand and I said a prayer for their souls and all of us descendants. We paid homage. I felt much, much, much better. It’s one thing to read about that dark past- but another thing to look it in the face. I have no clue what I’ll feel like if I ever go Deep South.

Ninakuacha na hii (I leave you with this)
A couple weeks ago during my Urban homestay I was introduced to one of my sibling’s friends. Once hearing that I was American she began to slump her shoulders and back and began spewing a bunch of “Yo homie” and “Dog” and “ya know wat im saying’”… I wanted to hit her. But I didn’t’. I smiled and spoke to her in Swahili. Thanks to the media some parts of Africa have the same view of us that white American suburbia has. I’m here to set them straight. Ignorance is not confined to white America, many Africans don’t know who we are either. That’s why I’m here. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why Can't it just be about Jesus?!?

           I hunted and gathered. We drove for hours into the bush. As we drove we passed hundreds of little houses made of mud and banana leaves and grass. We passed hundreds of little babies running and screaming and waving with enthusiasm. The first full day we went to gather roots for eating with the women. As soon as we arrived at their site my heart immediately got excited when I saw the beautiful chocolate babies everywhere! We were given a tour of the house and were asked if we had any questions- I just had one, “Ninaweza kubeba motto?”= “Can I hold a baby?” So within five minuets I had a beautiful naked drop of cocoa in my arms! My life seemed complete. I was wearing a kanga and sat down with the rest of the women with the baby in my arms hoping to disappear among them. I did- one of my cohorts said “Diamond I didn’t even notice you there!” And the biggest grin spread across my face. The baby, a boy, liked me greatly. He seemed content and warm. The only things covering his ebony skin were a gathering of beaded bracelets. There was one on each ankle, under each knee, on each wrist and around his waist. The tiny beads were yellow and blue and red and green and were made to fit his tiny body. As he sat snug in my lap I warmed by body with his and placed my face on his head. My back was slightly arched trying to get as close to him as possible as he clasped my fingers in the palms of his tiny hands. I turned him around to face me and we made faces at each other while our noses met one another. I rubbed his back and basked in this God given gift of joy when this baby boy baptized me. I got peed on and couldn’t have been more at peace. I instinctively lifted him up and said, “Oh, just got peed on!” then adjusted my kanga so he could have a dry place to sit again. I saw the students moving and the women preparing to take us to gather food. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to give up my baby so soon and thank God, the mother simply came over to me and handed me a kanga to protect the baby from the sun but let me keep him. My baby wasn’t too keen on the moving or having to be covered by the kanga to keep from getting scratched by trees. So to keep him smiling I followed the ways of my mother and her mother before here and I sang. I made up a song that said “Una furaha mtoto (4x) nina furaha pia” which means “Be happy baby and I’ll be happy too”. He grinned at ever refrain. Digging for those tubers were hard work! The only things we had to aid us were these sharpened sticks. I wasn’t very good at it! But my consolation prize was going over to sit with the women and the baby again! The women then roasted the tubers over a fire and passed them around to all present. The ‘eating’ consisted of chewing on the tubers and sucking the juice out. There are also some great pics of me and my baby sharing a tuber!
Two nights in a row we had all night dance and song sessions. The first night was preceded by a Q&A session that rocked my world (this was my element- not that hiking stuff). I asked them- in Swahili- if they really needed us tourists here. I mentioned how one of the articles we had to read for the trip was a journalist stating how the Hadza were starving and didn’t need tourists, just food aid. I told how one of the common beliefs that academics (like me) are trying to dispel is the that Africans are like babies and need to be taken care of; that AID from outside countries is crucial to their survival. However Africa and Africans can stand on their own- with the right type of aid (“Dead AID” by Moyo). Suddenly the ‘chief’ (who was actually just the old man who liked to be called chief, because contrary to popular belief Africans don’t and never had chiefs this was a creation of colonization) got very excited and moved to the edge of his chair and was addressing the rest of the Hadza and our guide Killerai. Although he was speaking Swahili he was speaking way to fast for me to comprehend but Killerai laughed every once in a while and was smiling. I thought chief might have been telling me off but even if he was I was still excited- its what I came for. Lets ruffle some feathers and get some answers!  
 Translation time came and Killerai told us that cheif began by saying that that was the best question they had ever gotten and that he was very impressed with my Swahili and was proud that I was there and proud of me. I was cheesing and my heart was filled with so much euphoria because I felt like I connected and I wanted them to see my heart. To answer the question- the only reason they needed tourism was because it provided money for them to send their kids to college. Point Blank. They are NOT starving and their other dietary/physical needs can be obtained from selling the DELICOUS honey they collect. I don’t even like honey in the states but Haza honey is BOMB! We danced late into the night and they sang us the Tanzania anthem and their Hadza anthem- which was my favorite, and I got it on tape! The next day at another camp we danced into the night again. If you know me you know I can dance ALL NIGHT LONG. While sitting around the fire one of the younger men engaged me in conversation. To make a long story short my night continued while laying atop of this huge rock formation under a beautiful African start lit sky while a Hadza man whispered sweet nothings in Swahili in my hear! And to think I could have been in classroom!

Ninakuacha wewe na hii/I leave you with this:
            I hadn’t really realized how hard old Missionaries have made it for us new ones. One of the realities of my religion is the hideous effect it has had on this continent and my people. The issue is that Missionaries didn’t just bring Christ- they brought a plethora of other things too. Some things were great, (like promoting the ending of Female Genital Mutilation) and some not (the belief that all Africa ways of life were backward and wrong). But in the 21st Century it seems that there are still Missionaries doing it wrong. Those that have been to see the Hadza apparently had preached the Gospel and also encouraged them to leave their hunter gatherer lifestyle. I was so irritated to hear this. Why can’t it just be about Jesus?!? But they were signing some pretty tight praise songs in Swahili that I can’t wait to bring back to the states! On our last ride together I joined them and we sang with jubilant enthusiasm praise to the one true God and Jesus Christ. So despite the missionaries BS, the Hadza know about Jesus!! 
Brown Skin- "I can't tel where yours begins- I can't tell where mine ends"

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Diva Outdoors

So I feel like Wash U totally suckered us into this program.  All the St. Lawrence kids came on this trip because they are all involved with their “Outdoors club” at school and love to talk about trees and plants and see plants and tress and camp and hike and climb and run and all that… so yea. The Wash U kids came to discuss and study and analyze and read and learn and watch and teach and philosophize and campaign if necessary. So this past week we went to spend a few nights with a hunter-gatherer group called the Hadza (or Hadzabe) located in Tanzania. They are one of the last groups of people who practice hunting and gathering. Little did I know that part of this little adventure including almost a week long of camping. Full fledged outside in a tent with bugs and rain and mud and going potty outside camping. The morning we left I didn’t feel good at all. I think my stomach was dreading the days to come. So after many hours of driving we arrived at a campsite in Tanzania and met the guides from Dorobo Safairs. We were then loaded into these huge army trucks that were once used by Germans. This is where the “fun” began. As we drove through the bush these wretched trees came to attack us. The first one got me in the face because I wasn’t ready. I was so pissed off. So the next ones we passed I reached out and pulled the branches off and our guide, Killerai, laughed at me. That night as we debriefed we were told we would be hiking the next morning. I immediately got upset and told Kilerai that I was too pretty for this. He laughed hysterically and told me that I was in shape and would be fine. The next morning after a horrible night in a tent, with a thunderstorm, and a theater nightmare, Kilerai greeted me with “Good Morning Diva!”  And I embraced it.
I can walk just fine and look good doing it but I don’t like hiking. Walking uphill at a fast past makes it hard to breath and I forgot my inhaler at our compound. Needless to stay during our 2-hour hike up that mountain I was very unhappy. But I did it. Killerai was trying to stress the beauty of the Rift Valley but my response was “I know someone has these pictures on the Internet somewhere. We could have printed them out and passed them around as drove up the mountain.”
For most of the trip our group of 28 students was split in 2 to not be overwhelming for the community. On our last day there we met up again. This is when we were informed about the “No Shower Club”. Apparently about 10 students (9 boys and a girl) decided not to shower for the length of this trip. Now please note that we camped outside everyday, walked or hiked at least two hours everyday, hunted animals, climbed trees, dug in the ground and danced. And Dorobo even had these nifty shower bags so we could take a shower outside. But no. They did not. One guy even wore the same clothes the entire time…. Now I may be a Diva or old school but my Granny used to say “Its ok to be poor but its not ok to be nasty, God made too many rivers and streams for you to clean yourselves with” Now living out there was kind of live being poor in a sense. And as long as I had access to clean water and my Dove soap I was NOT GOING TO BE NASTY. I bathed every morning. And I’m positive I’m the only one to do so. Granny also said “If you can smell yourself` everybody else is sick of smelling you” So I bathed every morning knowing that Granny was looking down on me with Jesus smiling cuz her Grandbaby didn’t stank.  As I was getting dressed this morning my tent mate was starring at me and said “You do not look like you’ve been camping for the past week” This was such a great compliment! “Thank you” I said “That’s how it should me” Then I sprayed on my Black Amethyst body spray and the Diva went out to have her last breakfast in the bush.
 I write more n the Hadza a little later. Don’t worry. Here’s a picture of me in my tent with this AWESOME headdress made of Zebra mane.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black Hearts, Black Tears

I just returned from my Rural Homestay in Meru Kenya. I had such an amazing experience. It’s a pretty daunting thing to be thrown into someone’s family for a week. It is quite a drive to get there so we stayed in a hotel one night on the way and one night coming back. Both locations were ex-British camps where the colonizers stayed while tormenting this country. It was as if I was sleeping in a hotel on plantation land in the south. Actually, that would be much worse, but that’s what it was like. I didn’t like it at all. It was creepy.
I was very nervous about this homestay. I wanted to do and say everything right. Plus I know that not all Africans are that excited about us Black people. The media portraying us shooting each other and doing drugs creates a deep prejudice. But that was not what I saw in Meru. Once I got off the bus my host father (Henry) greeted me. Then he paraded me around like a prize cow, lol. Many of the other parents came around to gawk at me and shake my hand. One man even said “Black Americans, you are the pride of America”!
At home I had 3 sisters and two brothers, a mother with a fractured leg, 2 cows, 3 chickens and a rooster, a dog, a kitten, 2 sheep, and 3 goats. The dog and cat were not pets. The dog was for protection and was overjoyed when I petted him. The kitten was kind of a stray. It was not used to people but would run in the kitchen during meal times to beg for craps of food. Surprisingly to me my favorite animal was the female cow. I named her Cheka, which means laugh in KiSwahili. She made me laugh when I first saw how beautiful she was and I love ‘Laughing Cow’ cheese in the states. I named the ugly man cow Cheese. Cheka loved me back too. Believe it or not she could be laying down in the back of the pen but if I came over and called her she would get up and trot over to me! In fact I have a video to prove it!
We didn’t have electricity or running water. Going out to see Granny in the desert in Mobile prepared me. And I could reference Uncle Robert’s animals and the small garden Mama once had in the backyard. My younger sister Moreen was 18 years old and my main companion. She’s a bright and extremely caring individual. People say that singing helps you get through work easier. Moreen sang constantly. With our mom on crutches there was much work to be done. Floors to clean, chai to make, meals to cook, animals to feed, feed to collect, dishes to wash, clothes to wash, people to wash, food to buy and food to dig out the garden. The one thing I didn’t want to do was milk a cow. I thought I lucked out because Checka was too young to give milk. But ‘luckily’ our uncle’s farm was nearby and he had a milking cow. So one day I milked- or rather failed miserably at, milking a cow. That cow hating me, and I don’t blame her.
I ate Mangoes everyday!! The ‘worse’ mango I had in Kenya was still better than many of the mangos I’ve eaten in my life! I didn’t know bananas could grow so sweet as the ones I ate there. And I ate macadamia nuts fresh off the tree. I didn’t even know I like macadamia nuts! I ate sugar cane from the stalks and it is such an amazing sweet treat! God is so cool!
I went to the first Methodist church in my life on Sunday. The most interesting part was the auction. For tithes and offering if a member did not have money to give they brought whatever they did have. At the Alter laid a plethora of produce; bananas, mangos, chewing sticks, brooms, milk, avocados, and a chicken. And then one by one the items were auctioned off to the congregation and the money went to the church. I was awed. We got there at 10am, the auction was after a few scriptures and multiple choirs singing, and the auction ended at 1:52pm. Then there was a sermon. I could never see this happing at home! Even if they wanted to use this method they would schedule the auction either after church or the next day!
I got very attached to my family. One of my sisters had a son whom I absolutely adored! My mother was extremely loving, and my father was a strong leader and teacher. Each night after dinner he would read from my bible that had both English and Swahili text. First either mom or I would lead a praise or worship song, then Dad would read a passage in Swahili, then English. Then he would explain it in Swahili then English. My nephew was usually sleep by the second reading of the passage, and mom was usually sleep by the first explanation!  Each fellowship would end with my sister Moreen ending with prayer. This child has a God given gift. It was amazing to hear her pray. The last few nights our brother Moses had joined us for dinner and fellowship.
The last night Moreen prayed over the lives of her brothers. Once men are circumcised they no longer live in the same house as their parents and sisters. Another ‘house’ is made for them near to the main house. So somewhere between 10-15 they start sleeping and eating under a different roof than their parents. Moses chose to come eat with the rest of the family partly because of my presence. He took such good care of me while I was there. Our other brother never broke bread with us. As Moreen prayed she began to cry. She asked God to loosen the hold drugs and alcohol had on her brothers. She prayed that they would see that those things would lead them nowhere but to death. In her at that moment I saw myself and all my female cousins and the rest of the young women of color in America. It has become somewhat of a joke that me and my female cousins rarely know where our brothers are. We all hold on to hope that that next time they call home it is to say they are fine and well and not in jail or in the hospital. Zora Neal Hurston wrote in Their Eyes Were Watching God that “The black woman is the mule of the world” That praying moment bridged the gap for me. There were already things we had in common; the differences weren’t many. But the most raw touching and important similarity for me is that miserable knowledge that from Phoenix to Meru we both pray and cry for our brothers. Our Black hearts are breaking our Black eyes are flooded with tears. I hope we never stop praying- but I wish we didn’t have to cry so much.
Nitakuacha na hii (I leave you with this)
I think I got too attached to my family. They loved me as a daughter and sister and even gave me a new name: Joy Makena. Makena means ‘Jolly or Joyfull’ in their language of KiMeru. When it was time to say goodbye I cried till my chest ached. I must see them again. A piece of my heart is in Meru. There are pieces of my heart in Phoenix, St. Louis, Mobile, New York, California, Australia, Baton Rouge and Tallahassee. 
But if you leave pieces of your heart in so many places, how can it ever become whole again?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Best Thing about Swahili

As we rode from the airport I noticed all the billborads that decorate the sides of the roads. I've never seen so many beautiful black faces in print up for public view. I was so proud.
Academics and non academics alike talk about how the USA is now in a post racial soicety. Whatever. I still see color. And so do most of the United States. Kenya still sees color too. As we travel to the maket to exchange money and do some shopping I as I swapped pleastantries in Swahili with a shop keeper he asked me 'Are you their guide' I chucked and my heart smiled. A bit later the same shop keep and another vendor informed me that next time I went shopping I should go alone- I would get a better price that way. It was pretty hectic mind you. 27 white Americans flood into the market and the shop keepers decended like hawks. Who could blame them? One of our students purchased a traditional African skirt for $20 US dollors that should have cost her  $5-7 US dollors!
I have been told numerous times that I look like I belong to the Luo ethnic group whom reside in the Kisumu area of Kenya. Obama is a Luo. Speaking of which- Kenyans love Obama more that Black people love Obama. And I Love it!
Last night we had a welcome party for us and some guests from US universities who wanted to check out the program. It was a great Karamu (party)! Prior to the event I went back in the kitchen to help our chef Isiah and two other women who work here (Mary and Azibetha) cook our meal. Again I was quiteted in their presence. I just wanted to please and feel what it was like to be with them. I can't lie, I see color, and there is always something uneasy for me when I see black people serving whites. Like back at Wash U. However I understand that the important this is that they have work- and I would be even more upset if Wash U for this program was emplying non-blacks/Africans to work. So I joined them. And I realized that nobody can do it better than us. It was amazing and beatiful. I was back at home in the kitchen with my mama and aunties and unlces cooking and roasting and cutting and cleaning. We are one people. We just call dishes different things. In America sliced tomatoes and unions and chorinader is just that- but in Kenya we call it Kapuli (i think). I was so grateful so have such a family moment here.
Nitakuondoka na hii (I will leave you with this)
The best thing about Swahili is that I can talk about my fellow students with the staff without them knowing it! ;-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I made it Family, early- early this morning I landed at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. I still feel like I'm in shock. Standing there in my "Kenyan Pride" hoodie (thank you DJ) I had mixed feelings. I don't take this trip lightly. I'm extremely blessed to be here. I desire to get everything I can from this experience because its not really about me. Its about the Kingdom of God, its about my Family, its about the Black Arts, its about Kenyans, its about our future. I'm here to learn and to teach and to grow. There's no way I'm coming back the same. I was already different before I left and God is just continuing to mold me.
There's a quietness in my spirit. I don't want to just see Kenya, I want to touch, hear, taste and feel it. I want the dirt to be second nature to me so i can compare it to my desert dirt of Phoenix. I want to speak as much (if not more) Kiswahili as English. I want to look in people's eyes and change. I want people to look in my eyes and change.

I didn't want to jump on the "Blacks returning to our African Homeland" tip but there is something sitting in me about it. Being an AFAS major it had to come to mind. Now, i didn't jump off the plane and kneel and kiss the grass or anything- but when I felt the breeze from the open doors of the airport I was quieted. The breeze passed over me and settled in my spirit.

Identity is something that all beings struggle with. America has made this tenfold for African Americans. I am not exempt. Am I a tourist? Am I a returning black? Am I an outsider? Am I a Kenyan? Am I only American? Am I black or African-American? Where do I fit in? As we go from one stage in life to another our identities are constantly challenged. Being from a state where diversity is fulfilled by coloring a picture of MLK on his holiday, I was the Black Girl who surprisingly got good grades and didn't act like the other black people who didn't. I identify as African-American. I don't desire in the least to omit the first classification. I embrace it. And want to know what that means for Diamond. Above all, despite the malnutrition our blackness has garnered and the self hatred and confusion and violence and hate it has created in us ONE  IDENTITY stands above all others. We are children of God- the Most High King. And that goes beyond color and class and money and country. That FACT will forever sustain the turmoil of our magnificent, and mutilated history. I am one of children reaching up past labels to define and help others redefine who we are and who we can be. Never Settle.
Revelation is near. God is speaking to me in this moment in my life. And I'm ready to receive. And I'm ready to pour out.

I leave you with this-
Jewish people have a program where they can return and visit Jerusalem for free called Birthright right?
Well I think us black folks should be able to come back to Africa for free too- call it BLACKRIGHT!!
Someone get on that and we'll squash the details when I return. :-)

Love 4eva & Always
*Almasi* aka ~Diamond~