Between #MeToo and #AmINext – what a time to be a woman.

Today has been triggering.

next-hashtag-yomzansi

#menaretrash + #notallmen + #metoo + #aminext all came together as distinct and strong hashtags in divergent and competing camps in different combinations and with lines between them blurred. When all those hashtags first trended around whatever circumstances they were triggering enough so in combination they are just….!

Uyinene Mrwetyana (19) was brutally murdered on August 24, 2019 by a 42 year old guy who worked at the post office she went to look for a package from.

Just the above sentence could be the whole post, but I’m going to go into my feelings. Since yesterday I’ve been going through my twitter timeline and refreshing not just the outrage at this particular case and other recent missing stories, but personal accounts of  women’s first and second hand experience with rape and murder. Honestly, it’s been addictively unhealthy for me. It’s kept my mind and heart racing interchangeably because ALL of the stories and the fears embedded in them for all the women coming forward are all too familiar. I felt and feel like such a coward for watching [so closely] the handle that started naming, picturing and shaming and warning others based on anonymous submissions from women who still live in fear of the vast array of men they experienced danger/rape/assault from. A part of me watched to see if there was someone I know in there for maybe vindication. That maybe something I experienced and haven’t been brave enough to face and expose could be done by someone much braver than I. I’ll tell you it hasn’t happened and as it has continued into today that need for some release has gotten stronger. Along with my fear. I took out a bottle of wine to review for my long abandoned wine blog, but that 2017 Du’Swaroo Tannat has become the crutch upon which I’m leaning on to write this. So many of the stories involved the perpetrators using alcohol to impair the women and many accounts talk about the woman not being sure what had happened and then either being afraid to report because they were unsure OR, if they DID report, being asked about their lucidity and recollection of events. So what am I doing sipping a glass of wine as I write all the way AROUND this topic that feels so personal and real? Numbing the pain. The pain of suppressed feelings, wonderings, doubts, certainties around what has happened to many women/myself. My heart is still racing and I’m typing through a tearwall in my eye, a runny nose because the pain is so real, but I already know I’m not going to tell my story. What will it change for us personally? For the women who have come forward especially in a country whose gender based violence is as pandemic and documented globally as South Africa’s is? Everyone knows wussup. Women have BEEN coming forward since the beginning of the country.

As this story has, for lack of a better phrase, blown up and been hashtagged, there are SEVERAL concurrent stories of missing women, confirmed deaths, bodies, active abduction attempts, not to mention rapes, shootings, stabbings of [sometimes pregnant] women by men in their lives.

Many women have been through situations where they thought surely they were going to die in the hands of a man they knew and loved, speak less of complete strangers. When we were young we were all taught about stranger danger – which is legitimate and easy to determine and isolate, but somehow, conveniently for those who were teaching us, they forgot to mention the even more ominous opposite. It doesn’t even have a phrase to capture it. It is that ubiquitous. Something unable to be named. So how does it get acknowledged. And then solved?

I am currently feeling very hot, my heart is racing.

The other day I asked a friend of mine who I heard mention her story of rape in preparation for a press event how come she had never told me about it. She thought she had. She then told me. This whole phenomenon and universality of rape experience and culture is soooo omnipresent. We have the same story in some ways and not in others. As she told me I was miss #metoo. Her story ended and we moved on to the next topic. It matters, but what does it matter? We see all around us that they all mostly get away with it and they are the men in our lives. Mine died. Many die with the violation taking away any chance of closure or consequences for their actions. What a violation that itself being taken away is. It happened when I was so young and over an extended period of time. I remember as young as I was [and comfort myself now maybe] that it was not penetration, but also that it was VERY wrong. I never told anyone EVER. He died I think in my early teens when I was told that uncle z’bani z’bani (so and so) died. And thought so nothing can happen now anyway. I’ll just dead it. But these things never die. Only a small part of us dies and that part comes back to haunt us when things like what is happening on the internet with Uyinene rear their traumatizing head. When we are triggered. If we rationalize, in attempt to cope, in our head that it wasn’t so bad [because there wasn’t penetration], that he loved us and wanted us to himself, was the father of our child, was our father, was Papa in the house of the lord, that part that died doesn’t feel as dead. We feel [maybe] whole. Holding onto ourselves because in the storm and swirl of it all we ourselves are all we have.

I’m all I’ve had since it happened to me because I’ve kept it to myself. Some might argue that talking about it and telling others about it would have meant it wasn’t my burden to bear all along, but ultimately when it was happening, by design, it was only to me. Young and isolated and only to me. Just me and him. I knew him. He knew that. But he’s dead now and that is the only almost good in it all. I don’t even know the circumstances, but what it means is he can’t do it to me or anyone anymore. But if, as is usually the case, he did it to someone else and worse they kept silent OR spoke out, what would have changed about what he did? For many women, there is never any closure anyway EVEN IF and sometimes especially if they go to the authorities. Many women’s stories are their secret or their abuser died or walked away scot-free. Surely something can be done in many places where protections and legislation have been upgraded to more accurately address some of the ubiquitous aspects of what we are talking about, but South Africa is such a special case. For as long as I can remember anecdotally as a child to through research, statistics, documentaries, films, news etc. as an adult – what even gives? From primary school boys raping and maiming fellow primary school girls, grandmothers being gang raped, babies being sodomized, pregnant women being shot*, everyday trafficking and rape…every single week there is a trending missing woman overlapping with a body found. All of the women in me are tired.

“Wow hey this child gave me trouble. Took her forever to die” he told the police. Compared to what?

*I was in a relationship with someone who told me a story about someone he knew in SA getting his girlfriend pregnant and didn’t know what to do. I asked him what he had suggested and he said he told said friend that he should kill the girlfriend… my blood curdled, but the conversation continued in that familiar self preserving way that in the background we are wondering if we heard what we heard and also trying to rationalize it because OF COURSE we are in danger, but also not necessarily. Or at least not immediately. I asked him why he would suggest that (because I am a [single] mother) and he said he was just joking. That he was or wasn’t didn’t even matter. Everything about that statement was violent. I felt assaulted by it. I told him so and he thought I take everything too seriously. I take serious things seriously. But rape culture and its pervasiveness means violence against women [by men] is actually a joke.

I finished my wine. I guess I did tell it…partially.

#aminext

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*@afropolitaine*

On Gender – Are We Letting Kids Run Their Race?

How many times have I thought or mentally bookmarked that I will write about xyz topic after a particular incident or day? Waaaaaay tooo many times. So without explaining or setting up too much here goes:

The other day I attended sports day at my baby’s school and obviously being the [literally] active parent I am I came ready to smoke some other mom’s in whatever required a mother’s participation – short, tshirt and sneakers. I was a bit late because of some technicians who had showed up at home a bit later than they’d promised, but I made sure to politely, but assuredly, excuse my way to a seat in the front. I asked to see a program of the scheduled races and events and at some point during the downtime and in my wonderings realized how early and almost explicitly our children are programmed into gender roles. The children themselves and attending adults, through some of these seemingly mundane activities, are realigned into them regardless of how we actually live, teach and perform gender roles at home.

As is typical, the sports houses were organized by color (red, yellow and blue) and then races and events themselves were either girls’ races or boys’ races. Cool. Then came the more fun ones that incorporated a task or fun activity like wash day, shopping, work day, waiter etc. I could see in the program that my baby was in the waiter race and not knowing anything about what it would be I was excited to see what my bundle of cuteness would be doing. Comes the race and the teachers set up a hat, then a cup a few meters ahead and a plate a few more meters ahead in each lane. The items were colored according to what sports house the kid in that lane is in. I then noticed all the children in this race were girls. They would have to run and pick up the hat and put it on, then pick up the cup, then pick up the plate and finally run to the finish line. I am not going to tell you my daughter chose to walk instead of run and then proceeded to walk across the lanes to her friend instead of straight in her…so that you don’t ask me why. Ok so that was one event.

Other races that made me side eye no one in particular, all girl’s only races, were the wash day and shopping day ones. The former involved a clothing item on the ground, then a bucket of water a few meters ahead, some pegs a bit ahead, then a clothing line. You can imagine what the race/task was here. The latter had a dress, then a wig, then a pair of shoes, then a handbag and the finish line all spaced out with a few meters between them. Each little girl had to put on those items (all borrowed from their mom) and race to the finish line oversized dress, high heels and all. A teeny part of my brain was already like hhmmmm….

The next race was a boy’s race – work day! *insert side eye* It involved a shirt, pants, shoes and a work bag in a lane all spaced out with some meters between – basically the same as the shopping day race. The last event that had me thinking come on people seriously?! was the family race where the teacher heading the events asked for “mommy and daddy to please come and pick up your child and pick a lane” to [relay race]. This had me scrunching my forehead some not even because I’m a single mother, but because there were 1. Definitely and visibly way more mom’s present (about 75%) than dads so 2. This was going to leave out so many children from participating. What would have been more inclusive was to ask for 2 adults to come forward for the child they came to support whether they were a heterosexual parental unit or otherwise (I know – I should hold my progressive britches). Even for children who do have a mommy and a daddy, the chances of both being present on a Friday morning, assuming one or both of them work, were slim.

Guys am I overthinking this? I did think and have enough metacognition to wonder if maybe I felt some typa way because I am a single mother and that maybe if I wasn’t I would have been completely oblivious to some of this, but I think I know myself well enough by now to know that no I would stiiiilll have thought about it. I think it’s important in educational settings as well as in our homes to foster expansive, progressive and inclusive paradigms and enabling environments instead of limited and therefore limiting ones. We all can’t control what goes in each other’s homes, but surely school should be a place where the future of our children and the societies we therefore want to create and live in are shaped. Who am I to know what people’s homes are like and/or what they should be – absolutely no one thank you very much save yourself your nywe nywe nywe. Mina I’ve said my two cents, now let’s do better and be more mindful and deliberate about how we DO gender with our children and become more inclusive of who they actually are now and might become in the future.

Side note, all the teachers are women…so that might be the perfect lead into the blog post I promised on twitter where I said I would one day write about how Zimbabwean women are both feminists and misogynists.

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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 3 | my hat is not a snapback, but have i snapped back?

Yesterday was day 10 and that’s what I committed to AND I owe you guys 3 other posts so let me render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

The afrofoto is not of the nearly snapped back African mother’s body…no. It’s of the floppy sunhat I have loved for years my mom got me in Ghana. There’s nothing particular spectacular about the hat, but it’s strikingly unique in a simple way. The brim isn’t too large or stiff and the print, though colorful, isn’t loud. I’ve worn this hat so many times and always take it with me when traveling because it folds and it versatile and the brim holds up after being scrunched up between waaaayy more clothes than I need in suitcases on 13+ hour long flights.

This past Sunday was so much hotter than the rest of the previous weeks have been so when headed out I knew to lather the sunscreen on and wear a hat to protect my face. I wish I had some hats like this for baby (I’ll let my mom know) because I know they’d be a comfortable wear.

Since I mentioned the nearly snapped back African mother’s body, I might as well indulge you guys.

To be completely honest, it hasn’t been easy getting back in shape (the literal shape I was in pre-preggo) because someone told me starting to work out for a breastfeeding mom would reduce supply. I looked it up of course and like anything many humans experience there are strong opinions on that and the complete opposite. I decided not to take my chances since I’d committed myself to breastfeeding exclusively. My supply’s been good and baby is now starting on foods so I decided TODAY to get on my “fitness journey” (the ” ” are especially true). I did my first crunches probably in a year – 30 of them! Whoohoo and I know I’m going to suffer if/when I laugh tomorrow, but no pain no gain. I’ll do it again tomorrow and take it small small, un peu un peu, mbijana mbijana, poco a poco…we will get back to the 4 pack. I’ve been eating healthy before, during and after delivery so we’re good on the food front. I might show you guys some progress pictures in a few months.

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*@afropolitaine*

#afrofoto day 10 | I went into a stinky graffiti alley for YOU!

What have I learnt so far?

That it is impossible very difficult to blog everyday when a small human being depends on you for nourishment, entertainment and prefers you are mostly within her lines of vision [unless she’s sleeping] on weekends…and you also enjoy doing that AND need to nourish and entertain yourself with her.

I owe you guys 3 posts now! You will get them I promise! As I type this one I already have tomorrow’s *insert salsa dancing lady emoji*.

Today was HOT (upper 80s) and we started the morning sleeping in a bit. We got up to get ready per the usual when my cousin called saying he wanted to take us (his niece really lol) to the farmer’s market in DC so we ended up doing that. We went to the Union Market area where there are a lot of wholesale fruit, veggie, meat and all sorts of in between vendors only to find them closed so we ended up going into Union Market itself. We walked around to choose something to eat and settled on  Takorean. So good! Afterwards….well earlier when looking for parking we’d seen 2 guys taking pictures in one of the graffiti’d alleys so we decided to do the same. My cousin loves his car and is into that type of thing so me too I joined in. I remembered #afrofoto and that I was WAAAAY due for a post so I thought hey me too let me get some pictures in here. It was stiiiinkyyy in that alley, but because I love you guys I endured it 🙂 I love how the pictures turned out with absolutely no filter 💗!

(no filter no nothing)

This basket-bag was my late grandmother’s and I got it from her while she was still alive. She’d already been in the States for 2 years undergoing treatment at that point with my grandfather coming and going between here and Zimbabwe months at a time. At some point while he was in Zim, I decided to go and visit him since he was mostly in the house alone and it had been a while since I’d seen him/been in Zim. This bag was in the closet in the room that used to be mine as a kid and is always where I stay when I go. I really liked the bag so coming back I used it as my carry on to hold those extra things we somehow accumulate despite having come/traveled light. My grandmother and I would be on the phone coordinating the things she wanted me to bring back for her and there was quite a bit.

She definitely got the bag herself when she went to Tanzania while my mom lived there and Kilimo Kwanza, in Swahili, means Agriculture First. I’m not quite sure if it may have been promotional for something or just was like that at purchase. What I love about it is how durable it is! It’s made of woven rafia (i think) material and reinforced along the edges and straps with fabric so it does not give no matter what you put in it. I also love the wide strip of kikoi on the front with the fringe uncut. I used to use this as my bag at work, but retired it for something else in the rotation. Today I came full circle back to it for the market because it could fit my baby necessities, wallet AND I’d have been able to add whatever we would have gotten.

Happy Sunday folk and may you go into the new week with new energy, joy and focus….says the person typing a blog post at a quarter to midnight on Sunday night and hasn’t finished packing the baby bag for the baby sitter because it’s better to let the baby sleep than end up waking her up accidentally for that.  Yes…!

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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 7 | on necklaces and STUFF like that…and whatnot…or whatever

I moved exactly a month ago now and it’s taken much longer to get settled. I definitely reduced the number of boxes that were unpacked and have a functionally arranged closet….along with a pile of cloths still on the floor to be sorted through. In realizing I still possibly another year of breastfeeding my honey bunny I’ve tried to organize clothes by keeping those that are practical and easily accessible for that and then there is the sentimental reasons keeps, then the this is one of a kind how can i get rid of it. Those last 2 categories are mostly what is on the floor because I am strongly aspiring minimalist. Moving really really really reinforced that. You/we like to think we have not that many things until it’s time to move. Even then you look around yourself and see the big furniture items and maybe think I don’t have that much stuff, but once the furniture and big pieces are out, the STUFF is really where it’s at. I was so upset with myself for how much stuff I had. I’ve got boxes at the door of things I already identified as having been unused or unnecessary at the other place. Thank goodness for the silver lining of babies outgrowing things at a pretty consistent pace. On the one hand yes you have to keep getting them things, but on the flip side you get to get rid of things at the same pace.

Anywhoooo I finally got to a box that has my jewelry and I’ve also sorted through that. Quite a few ended up in the bucket of jewelry I will NOT be keeping. Some are just because I never really loved them, but many are just not practical for a grabby baby who’s teething at this point. Today’s #afrofoto is one I kept. I have loved this necklace from the time I got it at one of the African themed jewelry stores at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg. In fact, many stunning pieces I have are from shopping I  did transiting through that airport. Pretty pennies were paid for them. I’ve definitely outgrown the jeweled phase of my style for now…or until my boo boo is well beyond being fascinated by colorful things around my neck. So yeah.  What does the necklace have to do with moving and the stress of it? Nothing or something necessarily,  but it was part of the STUFF we find ourselves with in these situations.

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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 6 | am I a “sweet mother”?

Today was a hard day. It really tested me not in the general general sense of testing, but in that LIFE revealing way. I will not get into details and save that for my memoir or maybe sometime way down the road when it’s actual comedy…one of those things people tell you many years after the phase that oh remember that time when such and such, now look at you. By the time the day ended early evening baby and I came home and I had a snickers ice cream bar, a glass of wine, some kettle butter popcorn, 2 lollipops, a huge salad, some pasta and mussels I made. I came home from battle I won and enjoyed the spoils if you will. Sooooo in all of that I completely did not think about #afrofoto until literally right now. I don’t even have a picture, but I was like I can’t just skip this day. I already have a skweredi (debt) with you guys for day 3. I really have nothing for you guys today, but also a LOT. But since today has already been a LOT, I will leave you guys with this picture and leave you all to your imaginations on what the mood of the day was and now is.

#mood

Looking at myself in that picture I relish looking like an African mama – it’s a superpower! and as I thought that the song Sweet Mother and it’s lyrics came to mind.

Sweet Mother – Prince Nico Mbarga

It’s funny cuz on Mother’s Day when I went to church (mostly Ghanaian), that was the song they played on the letout. It was originally sang by Prince Nico Mbarga a Nigerian-Cameroonian highlife artist. It’s ever poignant and ever timely for mothers universally and today was one of those days me myself the song could be about me, but just generally a reminder of how much mother’s go through and still keep going. I’m so proud to be a mother and I’m glad in everything that motherhood takes I managed to get #afrofoto day 6 up.

Also, the cloth wrapped around me was my grandmother’s and she got it in Zim and I think I’ve had it since I was like 18. (cloth talk again lol)

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afrofoto day 5 | red red wine (pinotage)

Sooooo….confession time. I have another blog. At some point it completely pulled me away from this one here and I was completely absorbed into developing and growing it. It was about wine. Correction, it IS about wine and I enjoyed doing it so much and gained a teensy teensy bit of “fame” from it. It was during the time I lived in NE DC and would look for wine related events like tastings, launches, readings, pairings, etc. There was this ka-YUTE little wine shop that opened [I hope is still there] called DCanter (toooootal play on words) I enjoyed going to in Capitol Hill a comfortable walk or short bike ride to. Cute decor, not HUUUGE selection, but comfortable and they always had great events featuring sommeliers, vintners, viticulturists etc. The guy who owns it or is the manager was just genuinely engaging without being salesmany and it was just altogether lovely. Anywhoo back to my “fame” surely I can’t miss a chance to share with you guys. I walked in there looking specifically for a pinotage totally expecting to find just 1 bottle/type. Nope they had a few and he also put me onto something. We get to the front at check out and he asks me why I haven’t been writing recently. Guys! Like those are the small moments bloggers/I live for. Of course I died of shyness and was more interested in how he knew it was me….silly question i know, but you know…self doubt. Little ol’ me. Anywhooo back to wine. 

I wasn’t able to drink wine while I was pregnant and for a long time after I had my little booboo, but you know I decided to not be so strict on myself because no one would cut me some slack. So once in a while…

My favorite reds and possibly variety overall are pinotage (hyperlinked to one of the best resources for wine info and knowledge at whatever level (Wine Folly) and tempranillo. That first one is a variety unique to South Africa that wasn’t, until recently [nearly famous], that well known in the “traditional” wine world (French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish – European). It was/is still sort of seen as an outsider, but from the moment I tasted it years ago I loved the depth of the flavor. Besides the typical bouquet of notes and flavors, it has an additional smokey essence (wouldn’t quite call it taste) to it. Like how things back home sometimes do. It’s a slow and unrushed sip. One where you take a sip and listen to what it does to your mouth and how it warms your chest like a cuddle. Ok that’s it this is not my wine blog, this is —-> https://thatoeno.wordpress.com (ThatOeno on twitter as well).
Today’s afrofoto features a wine my little cousin (she’s grown guys, but will always be my little … *wipes tears at what a wonderful young woman she has grown to be*) bought me. She’s actually one of those people who since having the baby has presented me great wine drinking opportunities. She’s in the navy and brought me back some heavy thick madame full bodied red from France when she came back from her voyages. Last week she asked me what are some good reds because she wants to stock up for her place and of course without hesitation I said “pinotage and tempranillo”. Here she comes on Friday like she’s just visiting and hands me a bottle of each for mother’s day


The pinotage is a 2015 shiraz blend at 15.5% alcohol (the higher the percentage alcohol of a wine the slower it’s suggesting you sip it …to me) and it tastes like all the wonderful poetry I started to tell you all above. Besides “Wine of South Africa” one of the signature markings of wines is the screw top. Another reason why European wines/industry kind of hates on them. The South African industry has always been about sustainability and has been able to adapt with the times. Corks, although traditionalists mad at the democratization of wine consumption might beg to differ with a pinky in the air, especially natural ones, are terrible for the environment and sometimes the wine itself. More on environmental effects at this website – Academic Wino – another incredible place on the internet with my types of information superheroes. They also, as I’ve experienced too many times, sometimes crumble into the wine and are difficult to remove. It also makes it so you have to finish a bottle because it doesn’t keep that well once the cork isn’t airtight.

So afrofoto day 4 – pinotage. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re welcome. Check out the other blog if you will. It’s not dead, it’s dormant. AND to the one person who asked me to keep going with the story about the road trip from South Africa to Zim, can we just meet over a cup of tea/glass of wine, there’s so much to tell….sike! I definitely will one of these longer days 🙂

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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 4 | cut from the same cloth (on upcycling my late Gogo’s fashions)

FullSizeRender-27Continuing from my last post, one of the things I did whilst in Zim was get some clothes made. Until that point I hadn’t bought anything maternity because quite frankly its all hideous and unflattering…to/for me. I wanted some cute African print somethings I could maybe even wear beyond pregnancy.

 My grandmother was, to anyone who knew her, a very very stylish lady even well into her goto-ness (grandmotherness). ALL, if not 95.9% of her clothes were African print dresses, skirts and tops and whatnots from fabric she’d collected from all her travels. She visited my mother in all the countries she lived in and did quite a bit of traveling herself to others. Those were a lot of countries and she had a LOT of clothes. Like the rooms that were ours when we were little have closets full of her clothes. Her room’s entire wall of closet had more clothes….I’ll just leave it at a lot.

In being my grandmother’s handbag when I was little and well into my adulthood while she was alive one of the things we enjoyed doing together when I’d be in Zim is going to her tailor maNdlovu. They had a very special relationship so while I was home in July I took a day where I picked 2 of my grandmother’s outfits whose print I liked and took those to maNdlovu to upcycle them. At this point it had been a year since my grandmother’s passing and when i walked into her shop she started crying….and then I did too. I think especially that I was pregnant must have really touched her because she knows how my gogo would jokingly nag me about her great-grandchildren. MaNdlovu immediately recognized the outfits I brought because she’d sowed them.

I had a couple of pictures for what I envisioned and of course she had to chime in about the length of the dress and the snugness of the dress I wanted…i had to sternly, but lovingly remind her she was not making a dress for gogo anymore and that gogo would have wanted me to wear whatever the hell i want. After all, in her own heyday, my gogo was a stylish shasha (fly girl)!

Cut a long story short, today’s #afrofoto is what maNdlovu made. It’s cute in and of itself, but sooooooo far from what I showed her. She is one of those tailors, especially when you are first going to her, you need to go back to 7 times for the first 5 things she makes for you before she learns you. I’m glad it managed to be wearable post part.

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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 2 | Success is the Journey, Not the Destination …they said

While I was preggers I took a trip home to Zimbabwe. It was sort of my way of getting connected to the place in the world that comes most readily to mind when I think of home. I wanted to come home before I reached a point where I wouldn’t be able to fly and also because I figured it would be a while after I delivered. Unfortunately, I was sick from pregnancy related travel complications from the very first flight I caught out of Baltimore (BWI). The flight was one of those deals I got months before for a STEAL…and I was paying for it in how many legs the flight had. It went from Baltimore (BWI) to New York (JFK) to Amsterdam to Johannesburg and finally to Bulawayo. On the very first short (a little over an hour) leg, after landing as I stood in the aisle with others to get off the flight my body temperature shot up, I got lightheaded and fainted completely falling deadweight and blacking out in the aisle of the flight. I woke up not sure how many seconds minutes later with flight attendants and a passenger attending to me. This had happened to be earlier in my pregnancy on a very looooong direct flight was DC to Addis Ababa and I remembered I needed something cold on my body to cool me down and something sweet to bring my blood sugar back up was needed – so I knew what others around me should do. I directed them on what to do and was able to stand and make my way out of the narrow aisles of the plane. Paramedics had been called since my being 5 months pregnant made it even more emergency. An ambulance sped down the tarmac and pulled up literally beside the airplane. A gurney was brought up to carry me from there to Jamaica Queens Hospital. I’d hit my head and busted my knee on the fall and was just completely OUT of it.

Cut a long story short, I’d arrived NY about 8 in the morning and my next connecting flight was supposed to be at 8pm and I’d planned to spend the day in the city, but that wasn’t happening. My friend Zanele with whom I’d planned a day of fun with spent the day bedside in the hospital with me and once I was discharged later in the day took me out to eat and freshen up. I was determined to continue on the trip because I thought maybe that WHOOOOLE entire incident was a fluke (also my terrible habit of not cutting myself some slack or allowing myself a break sometimes). Things came together and I made it onto my next flight to Amsterdam as a passenger marked as needing assistance. I arrived there with less than 2 hours to connect to my Jo’burg flight…..but given how long that flight is and the previous one had been, the airline decided against letting me on as I needed to have time for my body to recover from the pressure and stress of the flight. Oh did I mention I threw up my whole life on that flight an hour to landing?! They booked a hotel for me and I was booked on the next flight 12 hours later to Jo’burg. To be honest, that did help in ways I didn’t realize. It was good to just sleep, eat and do nothing for those hours with little/no interaction with people. Everything had been overstimulating until then.

Made it to the airport the next morning and did a bit of walking around the airport (Schipol shopping is the bomb.com) and eventually boarded. Again, I was marked as needing assistance and got on with the old people and those traveling with kids (iWAS) – I can’t wait to get that preferential treatment when traveling with baby. Flight attendants checked on me constantly to make sure I didn’t faint in my seat where and no-one would know since I wouldn’t fall.

Made it to Jo’burg now a day behind the originally ticketed days and before I even came out at arrivals I maneuvered my way behind the scenes there to see how that could be resolved. Basically, all flights from Jo’burg to Bulawayo are fully booked until 3 days later. My whole trip was 2 weeks and I’d already lost a day sleeping in Amsterdam. Crap! Although I have family and friends in Jo’burg I’m typically a planner and springing myself unplanned or unannounced is NOT my thing. I did not want to have to figure out a plan to stay with someone. I like Jo’burg for transit unless I have plans there or when my mom lived there. I sucked it up and called an uncle/cousin (not quite sure which he is) who is in the family/clan WhatsApp group and he happily came to get me and welcomed me in his home with his warm and beautiful wife and two young sons. Mind you also by the way as well…Jo’burg was FUH-REEZING (compared to final destination Bulawayo) and the warmest thing I had was the sweater I wore. Mind you, home in southern Africa aren’t quite centrally heated so the house/room i was in was an ICE BOX. I showered and jumped into bed holding myself in the same position and completely under the covers hoping my body would kick into highest for heat. Nope it stayed on slow. First day I slept there I just decided to give up on thinking and planning how I was gonna get to Bulawayo. Just slept. Made some calls next day and looked things up and there were no flights or at least not without paying monies that were not budgeted for. I couldn’t spend those days so  we brainstormed and me uncle/cousin also did his part. It turned out a distant cousin who I either had never met before or had a loooooong time ago (we both weren’t sure) ‘s husband was driving to Zim early the next morning to take supplies for their house they’re building in Gwanda (this sentence should be used to illustrate their vs. they’re usage…teeheehee). That was my ticket out I did not care what ungodly hour he was leaving I was gonna ride with him. They’d said he’d pick me up 7 in the morning. He didn’t come until 2pm when we went to his house I met the cousin I’m not quite sure about and their kids then we finally hit the road to Zim at 10pm. Don’t ask me what things needed to be don, shangaan bags (ghana must go) were put in the back of the pick up truck, snacks and mphako was put together in all that time.

At this point I’ve been typing so much and I’m trying to figure out if I should continue with how that total 16 hour drive with 2 hours spent at the border that, with efficiency and without corrupt, underpaid border officials, should have been 20 minutes went OR just skip to the #afrofoto of the day.

I’m going to skip forward to the #afrofoto, but if you reply/comment that I should continue the trip story your wish is my command in another post 🙂

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*@afropolitaine*

Today was Africa Day and I’m bringing back #afrofoto – Day 1

I have 2 alarms set in the morning. The first one goes off, but it’s not for getting UP. It’s for WAKING up…I have 20 minutes to check into the world outside the 4 walls around me (news, email, social media etc.) AND feed baby for the morning while we lie in bed. I get into Instagram and there were a few posts, especially by people/Africans in time zones ahead, wearing their African print clothes, showing off jewelry and/or flashing back to their last trip back to the continent. Did Africa die…? no! It was all for #AfricaDay!! Today was/is Africa Day. Quick history behind it – May 25 marks the founding of the African Union in 1963. It’s celebrated in many African countries and, OF COURSE, by Diasporans – we no dey carry last.

I typically choose my outfit for the day the night before so I thought to myself *insert thought bubble* “How can afropolitaine the blogger mark this here day in her own way? – CLOTHES of course”!! There’s a dress I’ve worn just once that I bought while in Ethiopia when I went to the market on an in country work trip to Bahir Dar. There were so/TOO many dresses like it, but something about the color combination caught my eye [it wasn’t the combination of either neon colors nor the red-yellow-green]. I haggled HARD for that dress because the market was HOT, had WAAAAAY too much going on and I knew I didn’t want to have to come back so I was getting everything in gifts for others there and being DONE. I wore it the first time while living in Baltimore (just moved a month ago) at Artscape to a Wyclef Jean concert (life was gotten there [he really is/was such a talented artist and I didn’t realize how many hits he’s had throughout his career….but that’s a convo for another day]).

The dress. Let’s talk about the dress. It’s the typical/traditional woven off white cotton called shemma. It’s a pretty casual style and a bit see through because the weaving is light so I wore a beige short tank dress underneath as a liner. I actually fell in love more with it now because I previously thought it would only be cute during maternity – this dress said no girl you can wear me anytime!

 I enjoyed wearing it and got several compliments in it *insert dancing salsa girl emoji*  (yes …i just realized dancing and salsa make that redundant, but also it could be salsa the food).

Onto where this blog stands currently. OBVZ I have not blogged not nearly enough. Actually, even not near enough is way more than what I’ve done. Motherhood has taken all those moments I used to use for stuff like this and replaced them with a completely different set of joys. When it’s not those joys its also just enjoying the teeny tiny sweet ounce of doing nothing. Funny how doing nothing also means something completely different now that I’m a mom. “Doing nothing” can be folding laundry you meant to 3 days ago when it dried, doing your OWN laundry, clearing out the clutter indoor inbox…lol…it’s different. I do, now that she sleeps better (earlier and longer) want to ease my way back into blogging. It was, after all, one of the joys I had before. I’d like to make a commitment to you all so STARTING TODAY, I’m bringing back the #afrofoto daily series! I’ll commit to 10 days first and push to make it past that day by day.

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(guys I couldn’t [be bothered to] figure out how to shrink this a bit…but shoutout to Riko for taking the pic)

So yeah this whole post was Africa Day and #afrofoto day 1. The dress is from Ethiopia, I’m excited to be back…ARE YOU WITH ME?! Ok, let’s do this together 🙂

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*@afropolitaine*