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 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 24: Swahili Village

 

Patiently waiting for the food to come with the fruit cocktail drink that matched my outfit that day – random! My bag was yellow and my nails were red -_- …..

 

Woke up on Sunday morning in absolutely no rush for anything. Simply enjoying what the  Italians, according to Eat, Pray, Love, call the sweetness of doing nothing – dolce far niente. Went with a friend who hadn’t been there and we both had a taste for some goat meat. Swahili Village it was!! The game with Italy playing some other European team was on, music was semi-blasting, the sun was shining outside and the air conditioner was blowing quite comfortably inside.

 

I ordered chapati with ndengu (lentils) and a side of mbuzi (goat) nyama (meat) bites. When I used to live in Kenya, one of the neighbors in the compound had a cook [I remember his name was Jogenya] who used to make the bomb chapati and ndengu and all the kids would conveniently go and play at that house when he was cooking them. Mama Sam didn’t have a problem and now that i think of it, Sam could have used the “popularity” now that I realize how much younger than the rest of us were.  It was scrumptious and filling…i couldn’t even finish it and ended up bringing the rest home.

Chapati and ndengu have origins in South Asia – India to be specific. There is a large diaspora Indian community not just in Kenya but throughout East and Southern Africa! Thanks to the British and their expansionist colonial movements decades/a century ago. They are heavily involved in businesses and commerce and although they stand out as other, a good number of them have assimilated pretty decently. It’s quite common to see Indians speaking Swahili in different parts of the country. There were a lot of them when I attended Hillcrest Prep School, I had them for neighbors and best friends while there for 3 years. *Sigh*
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*@afropolitaine*

 

afrofoto *day 23: Bukom!

BUKOM!!!

Tucked away in the heart of the heart of DC that is Adam’s Morgan you will find Bukom Cafe! It is a landmark of the city and going there is part of experiencing chill/alive/cultural/musical DC. It isn’t the monuments nor is it the white house, it isn’t the museums nor is it the interesting government buildings. It’s it’s own experience and satisfies so many feelings you may or may not actively be in pursuit of when you go out. One thing that is for SURE (put $$$ on it) is that it will always be a right decision to go there. I also heard it was featured in landmarks of DC somewhere. The food is amazing and although, when busy, it might take a little while, the live reggae band interesting mix of patrons of all races, ages, religions etc will keep you going AND the food is always #FRESH. The worst that has happened to me is the food took a little longer than i’d like, but I was in great company and had walked in there FAMISHED.
I had seen people order this on previous visits and was determined to have it one day so it finally happened. It’s a whole grilled Tilapia garnished with spices and veggies :p
(after)
The address is 
2442 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
You should definitely check it out!! It’s Ghanaian and Nigerian owned (a married couple who are always there <3)
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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto *day 22: TGIF!

I will lead with this picture because i thought the scenery was so beautiful! The sun was setting…meanwhile a few miles around the corner a real live storm was brewing complete with felled trees and power outages as i would later find out later that night….

After work I was exhausted from the whole week and although my co-workers wanted to do happy hour, it was one of those days i had to go home and switch off my brain and come back. I then had friend-in-need task to complete and returned to the city to find them well on their way to inebriation and bubbling with joy! I caught up, albeit slowly…it  was a fun time 🙂

From here we went to Ozio’s and I will recommend, NOT a drink, but you check out the hottie of a Mauritanian who is a bartender on the rooftop!!! Eye candy I tell you and it helps that he’s super sweet AND speaks French. Of course he won’t remember me from Adam, but i’m very ok with looking from a distance.

A whole lot happened there and after. Great way to start a weekend in the summer 🙂

Earlier in the day i’d spotted this while standing in line at Starbucks —> Medium roast bag of Kenyan coffee 🙂 (We shant get into the sustainability and long-term poverty alleviation/eradication effects fair trade partnerships do or don’t create. Not now.)
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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto *day 20: open your afropolitan eye

Is there an option to skip? Any sick days?! No? Ok lol….

Well throughout this challenge and on this day I realized how much Africa surrounds us if we tune into it even in the Diaspora! This whole week was a little stretched as I had a conference to go to, but I remember in my morning grogginess going to the Starbucks to get some coffee and the guy who took my order and rang me up was Toure. He was very nice – not necessarily because he was African or he knew I was – it was just his nature. He could very well have been rude – we are all entitled to be whatever we want to be. Yes my Africans you can be rude too so long as your personal [negative] traits aren’t sweepingly generalized and applied to a stereotype about us collectively. We are all complex and unique individuals and should be free to do so :). Later on when I went for lunch there was a lady speaking Amharic animatedly [not necessarily because she is African] on the phone….

My cab driver later on that day was Eritrean…

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I needed to get my regular $3 bottle of wine and dashed into Whole Foods before hopping on the train and saw this body wash  –>

The description on the bottle is a little better than the one on the shea butter from afrofoto day 7 

Excerpt:
“In West Africa, authentic black soap is known by its Yoruba name, Osse Dudu. “Dudu” means the color black, which comes from the extensive “cooking” of the soap to the point of charcoal. Many cultures in West Africa use charcoal to detoxify and purify the skin, and this is an integral aspect of our true African black soap.” (<—as much as I was looking for an opportunity to roll my eyes i did not find one (: )

It continues to talk about other ingredients like shea butter and palm oil and the process in its entirety. I did have a little bit of an issue with the use of the word “authentic”, but didn’t want to get tangled in semantics.

It can be used as a body wash, facial cleanser, shaving soap, shampoo and more. I only use it for body so far and might try the hair, but not my face. I’m pretty rigid about what I put/use on my face and i try not to blur the line in body parts. It’s made by a “Certified Fair Trade Cooperative” in Togo.

In closing on this post, like how people who are gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan are deliberate about consuming only gluten-free products and tend to hang out with others like themselves, opening your afropolitan eye will make you see that although you may be removed from Africa, Africa, to any African, is all around you ❤

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*afropolitaine*

afrofoto *day 19

I thought the thing featured today was a cushion cover when I first saw it lying around looking forlorn and abandoned at my aunt’s house a few years back. My grandmother had brought waaay too many gifts for all the unexpected guests and therefore consequential and habitual gifting. I was so excited about the way it would look on my bed since all my covers are white. It would be a semi-nautical, pseudo pop of color, clean lines and several other word pairings i’ve heard and remembered from interior decor mags and shows. But alas!

I even went looking for cushions that would fit in it, only to one day, upon closer inspection, realize that there was no pocket/slip to put the cushion into. It might have been a place mat or even just a ready-to-be-put-on-the-wall piece, but I decided to put it on my wall [<–if you can call it that] at work.

(from the same batch my Gogo brought, i have this in my room and have had it in my rooms since boarding school…might end up w it in my …)

Yes i does maintain, at least try to be deliberate about it, the afropolitaine vibes wherever i go! It’s not loud and occasionally i’ll squint my eyes and watch the waves on it 🙂

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*afropolitaine*

afrofoto *day 18

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Yes! i know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for this update!! Well here it is right here. The 2 bracelets I have on are made of a combination of recycled glass and/or [[wax]] clay I think and they are dyed in different patterns and colors as well. The size of each individual bead is about a peny wide. My darling of a friend Kofi (@NakPhilly) who i’ve known ever since middle school in Abidjan brought them FINALLY after he’d gone to Ghana for the umpteenth time and he kept somehow “forgetting” <_< …It wasn’t until i threatened him with real life unfriending that my one bracelet showed up! 🙂 …Machiavelli did say it’s better to be feared than to be loved – what he forgot to add was that it would get you the beads you want your friends to bring back for you from Ghana 🙂

The second one i got when I went to visit him in Philly for Memorial Day weekend. Can you imagine it was lying around on the table?! After how long it took for me to get the one he has them just lying haphazardly around his place. Trust me to pick it up and put it on…..and then later show it to him and let him know that it’s mine 🙂 – a go getter I am!

(you can ask me about that scar on my arm too – interesting story i tell you)

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*afropolitaine*

afrofoto: what’s more belated than belated?

afrofoto *day 15:

I really had a lot going on in this here outfit! I guess you/I can focus on the necklace – a gold necklace from Egypt a veeeeery loooong time ago that one of my mom’s friends gave to be on my 15th or 16th birthday. It’s got the head of Nefertiti as the pendant 🙂

I mentioned in the previous post that I went to Jazz in the Garden with a group of my good friends and this is then on the patchc of ground we managed to get situated on – the garden was packed. Hardly a patch of grass was free. It was a great time though, as is always the case in good company. Nigerians, Eritreans and Cameroonians in the picture and I know some of them from Abidjan where we grew up together.

 

afrofoto *day 16:

The main feature of this outfit was the purse I was carrying. You’ll see it later in the day…..check the beaded bracelet I wore. I took this picture cuz i was ecstatic about the new matte red nail polish I got from Sephora :)))) (Nails Inc Matte – Gatwick) Loooove it and it looks great with matte red lipstick.
Anywhooo….back to the bracelet – honestly there isn’t anything too special about it because these bracelets are the trademark/easy-to-come-by/ African jewelry at least in my experience here in the US or even in market in different African countries. They come in aaaaallll kinds of patterns and colors and combinations. They’ve made a successful transference from traditional jewelry to contemporary appeal and use. From the hipster to the soul-sister, for yourself or as a gift – it’s hard to go wrong with them.
Wifey had tickets to Beauty and the Beast and the bag I carried I got from the bottom of my aunt’s closet a couple of years ago. It’s made of leather died into 3 different shades. It doesn’t fit much and as i didn’t need much that night – it was my pick 🙂 We all went home afterwards, the next day waaaas…..

afrofoto *day 17:
Nothing much to see here – for some reasons I didn’t take a lot of pictures on this day. Went to a Zimbabwean cookout with my roommate – it was a lot of fun. My barely visible cuff I  got in Ivory Coast from a Mauritanian vendor at  Cocody Marche. There is a very large and merchant based Mauritanian community throughout Ivory Coast. A lot of their jewelry tends to be made of silver or bronze and has designs and patters etched into it. I love the finishing because a lot of it is intentionally made to look rustic of antique-ish. I’ve had that one for almost 10 years now.

That’s all for now…for this post 🙂