I haven't told anyone this, but I will share it today. In the 90s while I was in college, my brother and I were financially struggling. Our phone and light bills were kind of hard to keep up with. We picked eating over paying the phone bill. No matter how much we worked, it seems that we could never keep up with it all. A lot of our college friends were going through the same and we band together through the hardships, but there were times you kind of stew in the reality of the struggle. I do remember one night, sitting in our apartment and just feeling like absolute nothing. I sat in front of the TV watching God knows what and a commercial came on. It was one of those commercials where you see a poor African suffering and starving. Let me pause and say, most of Africa is not filled with people starving and dying. This is a horrblie narrtive creatied by white Westerners. Though the narrative is false, I know the suffering that I was seeing was still real and that child was suffering more than I was. I made a promise that when my finances became stable I would donate to this fund.
It was 1998 or 1999 that I was able to fulfill this promise. Why did I need to do this? It was a reminder that there is always someone suffering more than myself and that there is always room to give and help. It was a way for me to connect with my own roots and strengthen them. It was a connection to the Motherland and my soul needed that connection. It was a way to make another promise; to go to the mother land and maybe even meet the families that I support and have changed my life. Until this day, I still give to children in Ghana and I will until my dying days.
Tonight I went to an event to hear a woman who, at one time, was part of the Black Panther party and she now lives in Tanzania. with her husband whoe was exiled from the United States. She was beautifully dressed in the bright colors, beautiful jewlery from head to toe, but it was her spirit that shined so bright. I felt her connection with her root and for the two hours I was in her presence, I felt the Motherland through her. It was amazing. Talking about her compound and life in Africa woke me up from a very miniscule place that my mind had been living in. My world is changing. I am moving back to Detroit, leaving a job and "stablity" and I am getting caught up in the choas instead of being calm in it. We all are human and I was having a human moment and freaking out. with so much "going on" Tonight though, hearing the stories about her life, hearing how drumming connects us to ourselves and ourn ancestors for support made be again realize, that the world is bigger than emails, jobs, money. It is bigger than me.
She read this poem that she called International African and it hit me. I am categorizes as a minority so much. I am a woman, I am black and so on and so on. But, from a world view, I am not a minority. I am part of a large marjority throughout this world. I am international and I am human. There are no limits or smallness about me or anyone else. I had been thinking of my problems and my life in a small way. Her drums and voice woke me up. I am African, I am international, I am limitless.