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Confidence Builds, Hate Tears Down #ForwardFridays

attentive young black groupmates using laptop while preparing for exams with anonymous teacher

I can 100% promise that anyone who is hating on what you’re doing is not doing anything themselves, and if they are doing something, they are not happy with what they are doing. I am 100% sure of that because confidence builds up others, always.

There is no way that a person who is happy with themselves has the time or thoughts to think negatively of others. Trust, there is a difference between matching negative energy and just being negative. There are some people who can wish evil on you because they are jealous, I actually had someone wish that on me before and admit they were jealous. She looked stupid because everyone around noticed and was unpleased with her behavior, but because her energy was so evil, I matched it in spirit, and she did not get away with that nonsense. That is different from actively negatively wishing evil on people. I actually am serious when I say, I believe in and see the good in everyone. I can feel evil, yes, but ask anyone who knows me, I am always trying to get people to see the best in themselves, because I see the best in myself. People have this perception, especially in America, that positive people are trying to cover up something. One of the main reasons I hate this society is because good is seen as evil, and evil is seen as good. I can go to Africa, experience genuine positivity where people actually compliment me and speak life into me all day, and it’s not for any ulterior motive. For example, anytime I’m in Nigeria, all day literally I’ll be receiving prayers, uplifting, and obviously Nigerians are more blunt with their opinions, but it’s not the same hateration that happens here in America. Even when I was in Namibia, I had the same experience; people compliment each other, speak life into each other, and there is not as much tension. I remember one day I fell down awkwardly, and in America, I’m used to people around laughing so I literally expected people to laugh at the way I fell. People gathered around me and it was a family affair trying to help me up and making sure I was ok. I honestly didn’t expect it, and I realized that, that is where my African spirit comes from, I feel more at home in Africa where my happiness and care for others is normal.

It is only in America where my happiness is seen as some deficit. Or people think confident people are really masking some type of pain. That is the difference my dad made people, because he, as a person raised in Nigeria, spoke life into me all the time, made sure I believed in myself, told me all the best things about myself, and I carried that into my everyday life. So I really am confident, and even in life’s struggles, I have an overcomer mentality. The difference is, I instill that into others. I often tell people that the reason I had so much success with my students is because I believed in them wholeheartedly. I didn’t look at them as some disadvantaged kids, I didn’t even listen to the analysis by school social workers and administrators. With my students, whatever was told to me that can’t be done by them, was achieved with me. All that other “save the Black children” nonsense was background noise. Those are my kids, and if I have the confidence, they will too. I don’t understand the need to break everything down scientifically. The human mindset is simple, yet people make it so complicated, then they teach our children with these low standards and expectations based on some useless scientific analysis, and wonder why the kids are not exceeding their expectations. I set high expectations for the students and people in my life, and I walk through it with them. If there are children who need a different approach or have a different learning style, I pick up on that; I promise it’s not that hard if success is your goal and not meeting some low, state administered standard for “disadvantaged” children. Life really needs that, people who walk with us, not people who stand over there and expect us to catch up.

So if a person is truly confident, it will show in their interactions with others I believe. If the confidence reminds other people of what they are not doing or achieving, my friends, that is projection. The first step to confidence in my opinion is understanding your purpose and accepting it. I understand my purpose, I accept it, and I don’t see success as something over there in the future; I am successful now because I work towards and in my purpose every single day. Anyone who comes into my life benefits from that, I help in ways I can, and if I have nothing to contribute monetarily or physically, I give my words and true support. Unless you are harming someone, every idea is good and realistic in my eyes. It came to you for a reason, it is not dumb, or silly or redundant, it is yours. That’s why nobody can literally tell me anything I do is not good, unless you have suggestions that help it grow, it is noise. The number one people who have unnecessary feedback are people who are not following their own dreams. This is 100% money back guarantee, any useful person is a person who acts on their faith and ideas just as you do.

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Our Origins Move Us Forward… #ForwardFridays

Hey Y’all! I often hear people say that “history doesn’t matter” or, “don’t stay stuck in the past”. That narrative is often posed to Black people, trying to gaslight us into forgetting our past, the good and the bad. If we say “we were queens and kings”, someone will say, “well we aren’t now”; if we say “we were enslaved and we are owed reparations”, someone will say “well we aren’t slaves now”. The point is, all of our history matters, why?

Well, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember living in Namibia and them teaching me the importance of hairstyles. Braided hairstyles on both women and men could tell the person’s age and status, along with jewelry and markings that furthered these symbols (widow, wife, etc.). There was a particular hairstyle that was designated for little boys, it was two braids, braided towards the front or the back with the rest of the head shaved off. I remember coming back to the US, and 2 years later, that style becoming popular over here with the men. I told someone one day that their hairstyle is symbolic to Himba culture in Namibia and they laughed. Again, if we knew what a lot of the things we do mean, we would not take them so lightly. What if they knew that their hairstyle was a symbol of boyhood, and the next level hairstyle represented manhood, or even that it identified the tribe they were from? He could either wear it with pride, or wear the hairstyle that represents his status as a man! Through enslavement, all these identifiers were taken from us, and that part is important too! However, the fact that the royalty still found its way into the diaspora even through enslavement is why it matters, because we can still celebrate and live out our royalty, building on the legacy of the ancestors, even though some feel like they are doomed, and there’s still work to do…

Young Himba Boys

I always get excited when I find cultural similarities between the diaspora, it’s the sociologist in me, but I find that others do not care. As I stated yesterday, freed Africans purchased their own land in Texas to even be able to celebrate Juneteenth in peace without being harassed for being on “white property”. Now, we are still being harassed on land that belongs to all of us, and in the spaces where we celebrate ourselves, we are not really living out the true meaning of these holidays and celebrations. Not that it has to be 100% serious, but we should always use these spaces to educate and edify and empower. There’s always the 1 Black person at the cookout who wants to celebrate blackness and teach everyone there, everything they know (I’ve been that person), but they get laughed at or told “this is not a Harriet Tubman moment” , you know what I’m talking about and you know I’m not lying. We always have people trying to remind us, but because of brainwashing, we are told to forget, or laughed at…. our origins matter!

So, this weekend, as you celebrate Juneteenth, and every other holiday for us, be sure to use those moments to be that person, whether laughed at or not. Educate, edify, and empower, trust me, they are listening!

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Precolonial Africa: Submission or Liberation? #SoulfulSundays

So there’s a long running debate on cultural practices that we shared in precolonial Africa. I’d like to say upfront that I don’t believe that how we practice our marriages have any bearing on unity as a people. I believe that as long as we are engaging in healthy, life-giving (man and woman), relationships, we will be able to build families around strong bloodlines and generational wealth building as we move towards liberation. The foundation of societies are strong families, but I want to use this blog post and video to debunk that all of precolonial Africa practiced patriarchy and submission.

This is part 1 because, I want to go way more in depth about this. In this video is use 3 models: my Igbo culture (Nigeria), the Himba people of Namibia that I lived with when I was teaching there, and Ghanaian culture based on accounts from Ghanaian friends to show that women were honored as the life giving vessel, seen as closer to God because of our ability to give birth, and esteemed amongst society. God was also genderless as a being, I’ll get into that in part 2. Let me know what you think of this video!

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What Was I Thinking?! #ThrowbackThursday

Hello All!

So today is the first #ThrowbackThursday of the new posting schedule, where I tell you what I was thinking during the time I wrote an old blog post, and today I am featuring the first blog post I ever wrote when I arrived in my new town to teach in Opuwo, Namibia. I actually started blogging via Tumblr when I arrived in Namibia to give people an accurate depiction of Africa. I knew beforehand that my experiences of the world, especially Nigeria, were often misconstrued by the rest of the world, so I was happy to give an accurate perspective of a rural African town from a Black person such as myself, especially as a person working there. In addition to this blog post, I remember arriving in my town and everybody being happy that I was Black. The Principal, teachers, and the students all expressed that they were tired of white volunteers coming from America and Europe, undermining their culture and telling them what to do, making them feel inferior – they told me all this on the first day, they actually assumed I would be white, and they urged me to tell Black people to please come to Africa. When I got there I was thinking, wow, I did it, I’m really here helping my people. I made sure to tell them that I was here to learn about them just as much as I want them to learn about me, so I did not follow the rules of making them speak English all the time, oh well. So settling in was interesting, they were so interested in me and I felt I was going to have a good time. Oh, and the name of the language I was referencing below is Xhosa. Check out the original blog post by clicking here, or reading below!

I Live Right Next to the School!

So I arrived in my new town today, It wasn’t quite how they described it but the people here are very nice. It was an 8 hour drive from Windhoek to my town where I’ll be teaching called Opuwu. The driver was funny, and I saw 3 Giraffes, The Giraffes stood there so tall and reminded of how good God is. I couldn’t help but think, look at the beautiful design of those Giraffes and how they stand there looking like statues, Just beautiful! And the landscapes and mountains were beyond amazing. I’m realizing that Nigeria and Namibia are so much alike and so much different at the same time. The same African Spirit is still there, but the cultures are so diverse it really makes me appreciate being able to experience two different African Cultures. For example, that clicking sound that people often make fun of when referring to Africans is real, except the clicks come in between words and there is a certain way that you have to click to get the meaning of each word. It’s actually very sophisticated. The driver that bought Karina and I to our placements actually speaks that language, and He told me what it was but I didn’t get the spelling so I don’t want to give you guys the incorrect spelling. I liked listening to him talk to his friends in his language as we stopped along the way, he even listened to a radio station with the language. Well I’m all over the place with this blog but now I’m in the town, the principal and vice principal of the school are so happy to have me here, my room is nice and the teacher I’m living with is nice along with her family. Tomorrow I’ll go into town and meet people and another WorldTeach volunteer (year long) lives close by, we’ll most likely meet tomorrow, she’s been here since January. Oh by the way, I saw Himba women in their traditional clothes today, it was quite interesting. They wear a certain paste on their body and hair to protect them from the sun, and yes, they are somewhat naked but their style of dress and the way they present themselves shows who they are in society, it is a very sophisticated way of life and is historical as well as inspirational. It’s good to see Africans that still keep their traditions although having so much western influence around them.