“I love you beautiful Queen, yes you! It is just because you are reading this!” It is Women’s Month here in South Africa. Although I celebrate women every day, I especially want to tell YOU to continue being strong, fierce, and lovely. If it is anything I am thankful for in life, it is being a lady because I can give life to a king or queen at any given moment. We create the everlasting love in this world. Never forget to hold your head high because someone is always watching us to embody success, strength, sassiness, sophistication, and sweetness.
Stand Up, Be Confident, And Move.
Stand Up, Be Confident, And Move
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. Sometimes individuals will try to degrade you or challenge your capabilities because of your past, but first thing first, remember that when you have already experienced rock bottom, no one can ever knock you down. Only the individuals who have experienced low act carefully when he/she is high. People who have always been high are willing to do anything, including oppress, to feel superior; however, they are truly the ones who are low. Do not let anyone control your mind and reach for the stars.
Food is not the only way to a man’s heart, food is a way to fall in love with a culture.
One of the first things that goes through your mind when you travel abroad is, “how will the food be.” I sure know that before leaving to South Africa, I asked my aunt to prepare all my favorite meals, as if I could mesmerize about them my whole month abroad. Thing is, South Africa’s selection of meals are actually someone of the best foods I have ate, outside of my culture. South Africa, like any other city, has a combination of traditional meals, but also has specific meals that are influence by other cultures such as Indian. What seems to be common, amongst all the variety of foods eaten, is that the meals are very light (little to no grease), very tasty (seasoned well), and contain a piece of meat (mostly chicken or beef). As I continue to emerge myself into the culture, the best meals have came from traditional shops that have been passed down from generations before. 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 of the chefs/bakeries of South Africa.
All of us had to put some work in before earning the pleasure to eat the most traditional ‘Chesa Nyama’ meal. Translated from Zulu, Chesa means burnt and Nyama means meat. We had to purchase meat from Tintie’s Butchery. The meat had to be taken outside, to a few men, where they cooked the meat in one of the largest grills I have ever seen, in a similar BBQ affair. The meat of my personal choice was pork sausages, but the group’s favorite seemed to be the lamb. In addition to the meat, the pap is very similar to stiff grits and the sauce in the container was mild peppers, cabbage, and a special curry sauce. We left the forks and spoons down and used our hands to enjoy the tasty meals as South Africans do. First you had to grab some pap, then you had to add some sauce on top, and lastly putting the meat on top to enjoy. 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 of the Kota was lettuce, potatoes, french fries, 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, I never was pressed for donuts. However, Lesedi’s Bakery has the best donuts that I have tasted in the past 10 years. At first, I just wanted to support, but I cannot wait to go back to buy some more. Donuts are generally too dry from sitting around and tend to have either too much icing or too little sugar. The donuts from Lesedi’s Bakery were served fresh out of the fryer and had special flavoring from my first bite to my last bite. Even when my donut sat for about ten minutes it remained soft and favorable. The bakery offers community bakery classes to the public, so that everyone can benefit from not only enjoying, but making 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.Be Mandela Stand Up Be Confident And Move
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.