And because of where I made it at, I can make it anywhere! I am truly a diamond in the rough and I cannot reiterate how I WILL NEVER FORGET where I come from; for where you live does not measure how successful you will be. You cannot tell me anything about my hood. I come from a hood where dirty faces have hearts of LIONS.
Food is not the only way to a man’s heart, food is a way to fall in love with a culture.
South Africa has a variety of foods of which you can purchase in townships, downtown, or nearby our guest home. What seems to be common, amongst all the variety of foods eaten, is that the meals are very light (little to no grease) and very tasty (seasoned well). As I continue to eat traditional meals, I will add them to my list of dishes below. I will also incorporate bakeries/dessert shops, where the owners have been raised in South Africa. Food is merely one way to connect with a different culture. Many foods are common to other cultures, but when something is delicious that is global. Let’s us recognize the unique skill for the chiefs/bakeries of South Africa.
We were able to purchase our own choice of meat at Tintie’s Butchery, before we tasted the famous ‘Chesa Nyama.’ Chesa meaning burnt/Nyama meaning meat. The meat of my personal choice was pork sausages, but the group’s favorite seemed to be the lamb. The pap is the white stiff grits (comparison) and the sauce in the container was mild peppers, cabbage, and a special curry sauce. This by far was one of the most common traditional meals that you could eat on a family night.
Kota is not like your ordinary bologna and cheese sandwich. Kota is a famous food that originated in the Durban area of South Africa. Although my classmates and I brought our Kota in Troyville, the sandwich could have not been any better. The sandwich included a huge piece of bread as the base and a small tiny piece at the top, this specifically makes Kota look messy and uneatable; yet, I ate all of the Kota without any issues. Inside the Kota had lettuce, cheese, bologna, a hot dog, and a special ingredient sauce for he flavor. It took about 10 minutes for us to receive our Kota and the price was R15 (R = rand). R15 is equivalent to $1.5o in the states.
Lesedi’s Bakery is located in Mabopane. Let me just start off by saying that, I DO NOT LIKE DONUTS. Donuts have never been my favorite, although Liani (my daughter) is delighted when given a donut. However, Lesedi’s Bakery has the best donuts that I have tasted in the past 10 years. Donuts are generally too dry from sitting around and tend to have either too much icing or too little sugar. The donuts are Lesedi’s Bakery were served fresh out of the fryer and had special flavoring from the first bite to the last bite. Even when my donut sat for about ten minutes it remained soft and favorable. The bakery offers community teaching classes to the public, so that everyone can benefit from these delicious sweets.
Rest In Peace, Madiba
I specifically remember when Mandela Long Walk to Freedom, the movie, was coming out in theaters. It was a movie that I surely knew that I had to go see. To have an iconic individual still alive while their movie is being released was by far amazing. Sadly, this was also around the time many suspected for Mandela’s life to reach the heavens. Mandela past away of December 5th of 2013, making July 18th, 2014 (his birthday) the first of which he would not be along with us. This day, the 18th of July, 2014 is and will always be another historic contribution to Madiba’s story. In addition to that, for myself, waking up and being in South Africa is by far the most memorable blessings to come.
Mandela worked, served, and never settled. It was his duty to earn the title of a man and he humbled himself in the most courageous ways, despite the barriers he had to overcome. Mandela started his life for his family and himself, but he surely ended it with South Africa on his back. South Africa, the locals, all of us, would not be here today if it were not for the path of which was paved from Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
As a class, on Mandela Day, we all served our 67 minutes. It is common for the South Africans to use the term 67 minutes this year because Mr Mandela spent 67 years making the world a better place. Our Mandela Day of Service took place in Emathonisini. Emathonisini was a family name and this home was opened up to cater the elderly in the Soweto community. God bless the owner because she then found herself taking in blind children and other human beings, who were left alone or mistreated. As we painted the walls, sung songs, and ate, all I could think about is how peaceful Mandela must be. The whole community contributed in some given way, just as mandatory it is to dedicate time to church on Sunday. Mandela is a legend, he will forever be remembered, July 18th will always be a tradition. “Wise words won’t make you a Nelson Mandela, acting on them will!” HAPPY MANDELA DAY, BE MANDELA (IN YOUR OWN WAY) EVERYDAY.
I want to retain knowledge about where my ancestors are from. I also want to relate to the brothers and sisters who experience poverty, injustice, and teenage pregnancy, just as Americans do. Different culture, different stories, different hardships, yet we all have one dream, one vision, and one goal – goals that coincide with UNITY, EQUALITY, OPPORTUNITY, and RESPECT. I want to increase my voice for those who are counted out because they did not solve a math problem correctly, their parents did not go to college, or they had a baby young. We still are working, despite what society may depict through your television screens.
At 11:30am, Friday, from New York City, I boarded my first international flight. I could never imagine traveling out of the USA, especially as a college mom. Currently, I am a Temple University senior, more than prepared to graduate in the Spring of 2015. Growing up in North Philadelphia, more specifically the Hunting Park area, seemed like one of the best things that life could offer. The thing is when you get older and reality smacks you in the face, you realize there is so much more to offer. A few of these offerings include education, academic success, traveling, wealthy conversations, etc.; No my past is not squeaky clean, for being a teen mom was one of the most tragic things that could have happened to me, “PLEASE!” who said I would let the society determine how my timeline would go. Besides, we all know my daughter, Liani Janae’ Durrant, is pure motivation along my road to who I am fully capable of being. All in all, as I was sitting on my 204 flight to South Africa, I understand my growth. Life is full of different cultures, books, and traditions. Even if it’s the scariest thing you can picture yourself doing, save up and plan a trip out of your country. Even if it does not align with your funds, save up. A lot of people from my community do not get a chance like this, whether it is being abroad or being a college student. I realize this is merely a blessing, so I assure you all that I will embark on this journey. We are about a day and a half into our new discoveries, therefore, I advise you to stay tuned towards what is to come. Despite the 15 hour plane ride that brought me to this joy, the plane ride and watching the sunrise was beyond description. Life above the clouds seems endless, so even when you are at ground level, remember, “Life is not solely about having dreams, it’s about pursuing them” (janicemdurrant/slogan). All of those visions you have, be proactive and fulfill each and every one. Through my testimony, I know for certain that this South Africa journey is one of many incredible life changing events. What makes this greater and more amazing is knowing where I came from, with no vision or dream, to knowing and trusting in my God to take me higher along. First step to getting this far is allowing your wings to spread without shallowness and ignorance holding you back. For the next month, I will try my utmost to allow you to live this opportunity with me. I will put my all into documenting, as descriptively as I can, this Temple South Africa Aboard experience.
Growing up, it was always hard to separate my wants from my needs. I “needed toys, money, and lust,” clearly I am glad I have grown out of that thought. I now know thoroughly the things that I can do … Continue reading
Recycle Funds to push a sister or two above
According to the Black Laws Dictionary recycling is defined as, “a strategy to minimize waste, in which any reusable materials are recovered from a postconsumer waste stream, and put to the original or different use.”
As many of you may know, I had several fundraisers this past Spring to support my upcoming journalist studies in South Africa. I had a GoFundMe Account, which ended up to be more successful than I could imagine. I also celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary by printing out shirts, with the birth of my logo, selling about six-dozen. In addition to my scholarships, these two fundraisers most definitely decreased the amount of stress and worries that I once had. Studying abroad to South Africa is one opportunity of my life, which I am confident that will set me up for endless career opportunities. For this main reason, I am so appreciative and thankful for all of my supporters, whether they made monetary donations, shared my journey with a friend, or said a prayer because each and every contribution is equally important.
Having so much success in my own fundraiser, I could not live without recycling my funds with other hardworking scholars. Although I am still preparing for my study abroad program I could not help but to take notice in some very high scholastic females, who have either donated to my fund or have helped me in college. I believe that pyramid schemes are common but should never be the norm for one’s success and this is why I am sharing and making my own contributions to these women. I have faith that each and everyone of us ladies will recycle our knowledge, wisdom, and support continuously to the youth, once we grow into our full potential.
Recyclable funds allow us all to continue moving in our direction towards greatness. One day someone may donate something to you, when you may be in need. When you are not in need and the position switches, be sure to donate it to he or she; for this keeps us all moving in the path towards success. Recyclable items get far more use out of them, rather than those who only belong to one.
Check out how these women will all contribute to the future in one way or another, let’s make it easy for them to help others.
Milan Harris: Closing the Education Gap (Howard University Alum)
Alexis Rylander: Studying Health Disparities (Ghana Study Abroad)
Ashley Session: Working in Youth Development and Youth Leadership (Kenya Study Abroad)
Once I started blogging, a year ago, I questioned what would be my motive and what message could I ultimately get across to the youth. After brainstorming for days, I knew for certain that I wanted to come up with a signature phrase. I wanted my phrase to be one that could give my audience a pure idea of how I continue to overcome many trials and tribulations. Although it took a minute, it suddenly came to my head (3 am in the morning) of how I have been successful thus far, no matter the challenges that were in gear to rob me of my full potential. Stand Up, Be Confident, And Move. I wanted to exhaust my thoughts, so I was not too sure to adopt this as my signature phrase, but nothing else seemed to fit. These 6 powerful words, combined, are my first and last statement that represents my brand. A year later, I am still inspiring, encouraging, and motivating everyone to stop insulting themselves, escaping their passion, and dismissing misery by just following the Stand Up, Be Confident, and Move method.
In life there will be a million and one things that are in store to knock you down. It is your job to swallow the pain and stand up in order to get where you need to be. Stand up against negativity, hatred, and sorrow. Stand up for positivity, love, and happiness. Standing up is the first step towards becoming a better you.
To be confident is to be favored. Having confidence in this world is rare because if you do not fit what society depicts as beautiful, successful, or intelligent then it will be hard for you to manage. Understand who you are as a person and never let anyone alter what makes you the person you are. Chin up sugars.
Prayer without performance just does not work efficiently. Stay on your game in order to move up on your personal ladder of success. Even when you fall you have to get up and move. The moment you become inconsistent is the moment you are giving someone else to steal your shine. Slow down for what?
I hope that my life experiences gives you the same inspiration to persevere, as it has been doing to those that I know personally.
Real Life Impact
Beautifully, as I opened my eyes this morning and scrolled through my Facebook’s timeline, a status from a young lady named Kierra Lizzimore instantly caught my eyes. Her status read:
I was told to stand up because if I stood up I would be able to fight any obstacles that came my way. Being down talked being knocked down feeling like you have no where to turn feeling like your back was against the wall is what I felt like, but I took the time to stand up. Confidence, I needed to be more confident with myself in order to find myself. I was lost and felt like I was not good enough for anything, that is college, or singing, or writing. I felt like my confidence level was below 0 and I was fighting with myself to believe that maybe I could be strong. Today, I am the most confident person in the world!! … I believe. I believe that I am so confident, [that] no one will stop me, at a all time high and I love myself [so] much. Move, I was told I couldn’t move because I didn’t have it in me. I was told I would
be stuck in one place and be a dummy all my life, I was told harsh things that made me feel as though well maybe they are all right, maybe I won’t ever move, maybe I will continue to do the bad things I do, maybe I won’t ever be good, why so many negative thoughts, but you know something? I prayed to god one night and told him I needed his hand to guide me, I wanted to move and guess what ? I Stood Up, I was full of Confidence, and I Moved! #TheseWiseWordsHelpedMe Stand Up Be Confident And Move
An Aspiring Writer
I write this all with the hopes to continue inspiring, but to mostly thank of all the supporters of my blog and dream.
To the writers, write with purpose; remember that someone is always reading your material. Whether you have 1 hit or 10 million hits, know that you have the power to spread positivity, choose your words wisely, for what you say can either build or breakdown someone who looks up to you. Remember the steps that it took you to get where you are. Use your skill to motivate in some sort of way, even if that is not your genre of writing.To the readers, thank you all! I inspire you to continue reading, for this is what opened the doors for me, as I writer. I could never fully connect to what the writers before me had to say, so I figured I would share some thoughts myself. Never hesitate to express your thoughts as well. To me, everyone has a little writing within. Grammar should never be a barrier; I am still improving on that myself. Do not let anyone discourage you, write, do not only read.
She’s a mother of inspiration to all, but the biological mother to one. The news of the death of Dr. Maya Angelou was so sudden that it was hard for everyone to digest. Since being a child, I can remember all the very poems that each of my classmates would attempt to memorize. It is classified as a talent to recite a poem with the style and grace like Dr. Maya Angelou. Some angels are so rare that they need to be in the hands of God sooner than others. I pray that her close friends and family see her passing not as a time to mourn, but as a celebration. She has served.
The phenomenal Dr. Angelou in so many ways has touched me. She has touched over a million souls, inspiring youth – adults to grow into the butterflies that he/she is, rather than allowing one’s spirit to remain captured in a caterpillar’s body. In so many ways, I want to live my future uplifting those who are underrepresented, but just like Dr. Angelou because of where I come from, I feel like a caged bird.
I am still learning how to improve on my skill, but Dr. Maya’s story inspires me to still rise under the pressure.
The legendary mother of poetry, Maya Angelou, also has a heart-breaking story as a teen mother. She mentioned to Oprah, during an episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN (http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Guy-Johnson-on-Being-Dr-Maya-Angelous-Son-Video) on how she had sexual affairs with a male and ended up pregnant, in her teenage years. One thing that individuals fail to mention, when glorifying Maya Angelou’s achievements, is that she also birthed a child and still managed to uplift her community by returning back to school, polishing her craft, and used his life to guide her love for poetry and music. These are the very stories that can encourage teen mothers from giving up. From being a mom, I know that there are times that I want to be classified like others (a successful person with no children in this case), just being glorified by my accomplishment; however, I know that being a mother is my first unique skill that allows me to stand out.
If you did not know, Dr. Maya Angelou has a son named Guy Johnson. Many celebrity children feel pressured by their parent’s success, but Mr. Johnson states otherwise. To Oprah, Guy mentioned that he did not live in his mother’s shadow, “I grew up in her light. Sometimes I wasn’t worthy of it, but it has always been an experience that expanded me.” He adds, “She has faith that’s like a rock — you can stand on it. She speaks to our humanity and she reminds us that we are both brother and sister to the rest of the human race.” Johnson knows and embraces the beauty of having a mother that he was able to share with the word through the lessons she taught, the poems she shared, and her journey with other activists.
In a New York Times article, published on May 28, 2014 by Margalit Fox, individuals close to Dr. Angelou describe her struggles to support her son, Guy Johnson, through “odd jobs”. “Determined to raise him, I had worked as a shake dancer in nightclubs, fry cook in hamburger joints, dinner cook in a Creole restaurant and once had a job in a mechanic’s shop, taking paint off cars with my hands,” she wrote in “Singin’ and Swingin’.” Elsewhere, she described her short-lived stints as a prostitute and a madam.
(Excerpt: Still I Rise – Maya Angelou) Did you want to see me broken?
I write this all to say:
We do not recognize one’s hard work and sacrifice, until their name is in big lights or on a tombstone. I am using Dr. Maya Angelou’s story to inspire women, young females, and especially young mothers to blossom. Break the chains that are rapped around ‘what a teen mother is,’ and redefine that negative stereotype into ‘what a teen mother should be’. Let’s not confuse what is common for a teen mom, with what is normal. Normal teen moms do not fail, although the society only highlights the COMMON steps towards those who are misguided. Through Dr. Maya Angelou’s journey, her spirit, and her words, I see a change coming. God bless her for breaking barriers – The Maya Angelou Way.
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Born: April 4, 1928, St. Louis, MO Died: May 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, NC Phenomenal Woman Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, … Continue reading