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*

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*

Diapers: Handling the booboo and protecting the bumbum

Baby is now 2 months old and as you may imagine, she goes through a lot of diapers. When she was new newborn it was very important to change her very often because he system, along with having breast milk, was cleaning itself out and her boobooing therefore was more frequent. I’d learnt about the colors of booboo and what they should be and what they mean so there was nothing scary in what I saw. Fast forward to now that she is 2 months old, she doesn’t booboo as much and that too is completely normal especially with an exclusively breastfeeding baby – they can go up to a 10 day stretch without doing so. [You should only be alarmed if baby is in pain and her stomach feels firmer than it usually is.]

So what I’ve learnt about diapers so far is that they are created for the same purpose, but not created equally. I haven’t had experience with all brands, but the ones I’ve used so far are PampersHuggies and Up & Up (Target store brand). I started off using newborn size (box is marked with  an N and her weight range was “up to 8lbs”) and that was all I knew. When that pack finished I got into Huggies and realized they have a bit more of the texturing for high absorbency…they just looked like they would feel more comfy, not that the other wasn’t. Especially now at 2 where she sleeps longer shifts at night, AND I DO TOO (Hallelujah!!), I’ve found that Huggies hold up the best. With the others, the top of the diaper will have leaked a bit to her onesie along the top of the diaper. Nights when she’s very fidgety and does a booboo means the booboo now leaks too. Not cool. So right now I love Huggies. The target ones are not bad and are a great price compared and during the day where she is mostly peeing and I change her much more often they get the job done just fine.

  

(Pictured from left to right: Pampers, Huggies, Up&Up)

All in all, so far, in my experience, with my baby, Huggies are the best especially for that added bonus of being more absorbent overnight. Everything else is pretty much the same: they all have the color indicator stripe that goes from yellow to blue when wet and have some stretchiness along the perimeter of the thigh to ensure there’s no leaking or tightness. I received a sample box from Honest that I will be blogging about that also contains their diapers and some other goodies.

p.s. I did a google search for “diapers” and there were plenty of pictures and only 1 amongst hundreds was of a black baby so I had to search for “diapers black baby” and got better results…there were quite a few non-black babies though

*@afropolitaine*

I wrote an obituary a year ago – for the love of *my life

 

A year ago today, life dealt me the card where I wrote an obituary for the person with whom I shared the greatest love. I’ve written a variety of things throughout my life from speeches and poems, to technical reports and executive summaries, blog posts and grocery lists, lyrics and emails. I love writing, but nothing prepared me for the monumental task I asked to take on and was granted the opportunity to. There, rightfully so, should be nothing that prepares one for the writing of an obituary short maybe of having done it once before.

 Coming from a big family of big personalities, coupled with the time sensitivity and pressure to get programs and publishing done, yet countered by the delicate balancing act I knew it needed to be – the below is what I wrote. As much of a loss as it was for me, she was so much to everyone and loved everyone she knew be it friend, family, neighbor or stranger “one by one”. This had to be as much about her and inclusive so everyone who read and heard it felt like yes they were included in that message. Although she was MY grandmother and very specific people’s wife, mother, sister, friend I wanted the words I thought and wrote to reflect the collectiveness of the broad spectrum of love she created with everyone who knew her however long. The personalness of the individual and personal relationship was to be held in each person’s heart and memory to be shared amongst each other, but these last words were for all of us to find comfort in ALL having lost collectively.

Obituary

Eleanor Moyo (née Twala) was born October 29, 1941 in Fort Rixon, Zimbabwe. Her father and mother relocated to Mberengwa in 1948 where she eventually attended the local primary school and graduated from Dadaya Secondary School. In 1961, after 5 years of courtship, she and Cleopas Daniel Moyo, were married. Together they eventually had eight children, four daughters and four sons, they raised in Zambia where they lived for nearly 20 years before returning to Zimbabwe at independence

Although initially reluctant to “entertain” JWs who would often come knocking on her door, Eleanor eventually came to the truth, ironically, after Cleopas agreed to meet with and “interview” them. On his suggestion, she eventually agreed to give them a listen. She was eventually baptized in 1979 in Ndola, Zambia. In 1982, two years after Zimbabwe’s independence, the two moved their family back to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where they have lived to date. This city, also called the City of Kings, was to become the family’s headquarters. A home filled with beautiful and unending stories for family and friends where she enthusiastically welcomed, hosted and shared her love of food, fashion, music, dancing and fellowship. Stories for days.

As a working mother of 8 and several grandchildren, she spent 22 years at Mpilo Central Hospital in medical records of the X-ray department until retirement in 2003.

Her official diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer came in October 2012 and she came to the US soon thereafter for treatment and care. The last three years saw her fight a spirited battle with the disease. In all of that time, her joyful, energetic spirit was steadfast to all who loved and cared for her. She laughed, danced, cried and cooked for most of that time.

On September 6, 2015, at Laurel Regional Hospital, she passed on having spent the day with and surrounded by Cleopas, all 4 daughters, 2 nieces, 4 grandchildren, relatives, friends and brothers and sisters of the congregation.

She will forever be celebrated by her eight children, four daughters and four sons, twenty two grandchildren and countless relatives and friends she was very near and dear to.  To all who knew Eleanor she was an amazing daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend and colleague. A phenomenal woman. Legend. May she rest in peace and may we all be blessed for having been blessed by this child and woman of God.

To the congregation and the Kingdom Halls she went to, we are eternally grateful for you all keeping her spirit filled and strengthening her faith. Here she made friends who cared for her like family. The countless errands you took her on, the scrumptious meals she enjoyed in your homes, the scriptures you read and the hymns you sang. Thank you.

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I have the * in the title above because this was not about me and I was not the only one who lost a love. As much as a love like hers is thus far irreplaceable in my life, the my-ness of it all seemed too selfish when I saw the outpouring of love for her I had known was there, but I hadn’t quite seen with my own eyes all at once.

A year on, may my grandmother continue to rest in everlasting love and peace. I look forward to the strong feels she still inspires in me.

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Commitment Issues

blog-authority…the relationship type. What are relationships though?

For the definition I had to practice the ancient art of reaching for the dictionary, which in this day and age involves going to the .com of whatever dictionaries were bunny-eared, greasy fingerprinted and possibly ripped in our childhoods. I chose the Oxford dictionary because why not consult the inventors of English – the English?! The definition I needed reads as follows…(*this actually took much longer than it needed to because oed.com is now a subscription website*)…I looked around actually and in it taking a while this felt the most appropriate:
“a romantic or passionate attachment”
Simple. Something I seemingly struggle with in my relationship to my writing. For any topic I decide to write about, it’s a lot easier for me to explain, even unneedingly, than summarize. Back to the matter, I have commitment issues in my relationship to my writing. I love writing. I have a romantic and passionate attachment to it. Love it so much I think and speak in writing. My writing voice is my favorite voice. When I talk and say something I feel was epic, I want to write it down. So much that I have 69 drafts of thoughts I crafted, teased and fluffed in the heat of inspiration with love. But why don’t I do it more? Why don’t I hit the “publish” button more often?

My best simple days where I feel the strongest sense of accomplishment are the ones where I write something and hit the publish button. How many people read it doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I did it. I got a thought that was weighing me down off my chest and it touched someone.

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*@afropolitaine*

I moved, now I’m moving

I’ve been having some trouble with my beloved blogspot and my http://www.afropolitaine.blogspot.com and have seriously been considering moving back here. I can’t fully remember why i moved in the first place, but it’s been fun on blogger. I’m not even fully sure if i’m moving here and completely jumping ship or if i’ll try and do the double postings and see how that fares. Stay tuned and heeeey i’m back. For those of you that are reading this, just in case I do not get a chance to update you on what I’ve been doing, do check out http://www.afropolitaine.blogspot.com so we’re all on the same page for the next post 🙂

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*@afropolitaine*