Browse Category: Creative Corner

Message in a Bottle

Define Culture

So… despite my tumultuous relationship with poetry, I recently committed to participating in ‪#‎NaPoWriMo‬ (National Poetry Writing Month), during which the challenge is to write a poem a day. I wrote something earlier this week that I’d like to share.

I’ve been a recluse about my writing lately so posting this publicly is part of my attempt to get back into the practice of sharing (rather than spend so much time lamenting all my writing’s imperfections). I hope to return to the practice the self-love I preach so often, and more regularly celebrate even the smallest of victories, like the fact that this piece of work didn’t need to be perfect to be done.

Note: I’d like to say a special thank you to one of my favorite poets, Idalia, for gently yet firmly nudging me to finish it and to the amazing friends I have who sent me the affirmation I needed to amass the courage to share it. 

Define “Culture.”

Attempt #1:
a simple roll of the tongue;
salt in the wound of history’s affair
with Spanish conquerors
that didn’t burn fast enough in the sun
to save nations from genocide,
or mothers from marrying
their daughters to the wrong ones;
if we define culture to be
a simple roll of the tongue
then I guess the murder of
a millenia of bloodlines
is justified as language preservation.

Attempt #2:
Culture is a cautionary tale;
If superstition were a weapon
then Africa would be considered
a nuclear bomb;
we would never have welcomed strangers
with cocoa beans and open arms
the way our government still does
to D-List celebrities and modern day missionaries, while
rich white housewives on the verge of a nervous breakdown
search for salvation in the smiles of orphans on sale.
If we defined culture as a cautionary tale
told by pale narrators who lack introspection,
perhaps we would have paid attention
when our grandmas told us
they could feel their left eyelids twitching
at the expectation of visitors upon our shores;
perhaps we never would have wished the mermen
who called us moors, “safe passage”
in our native tongues
as they staked their claim
and carved their names
into our homes.

To define culture…

Attempt #3:
A synonym for “Home”
Neither a place or person,
these days, home is a political position
– the privilege of passing through
unrecognized as
an intruder on lands built on the backs of your forefathers.
But to the generation whose parents
cast us across the Atlantic,
raised captive in colonizer lands as cultural orphans
who never learned
to speak their native languages,
– home offers compromise
and forgiveness
to those with even less familiar roots.
A synonym for home…
only ever understood
in absence or disenfranchisement,
in dearth or gentrification,
in silence,
in loss,
in ostracization,
like a place that could never exist
for two queer brown women
and their extended family members
to settle down,
raise a kid,
or join a yacht club.

Attempt #4:
To claim culture
– to testify survival
of a massacre,
a genocide,
a raping of nations.
to dispute discontent,
or belonging
to feign knowing despite
the frenzy of stabilizing
a leaking boat
Culture is a usurper,
a lost turn
adrift from harbor
as fleeting as seagulls
in ocean light
and as slippery
as oysters
in search of
an anchor.

Do you know where you’ve come from?
Or how far you’ve sailed from harbor?
What glass containers of sea water keep your memories of belonging afloat?


Walking the Tight Rope: An African LGBTI Anthology

Call for Submissions (Poetry, Prose, Photography): Walking the Tight Rope: An African LGBTI Anthology

Cross posted from QWOC Media Wire .


QWOC Media Wire was founded on the belief that there is incredible power in telling our own stories, and highlighting reasons to celebrate as much as our vision for what we hope to change.

In the wake of anti-LGBT laws and the barrage of negative media attention currently being directed towards Africa, we are so excited to present the following call for submissions:

Walking the Tight Rope: An African LGBTI Anthology (of which our very own founder, Spectra, is an editor) seeks poets, writers and photographers within Africa and the Diaspora to share their stories.

Walking the Tight Rope: An African LGBTI Anthology

Call for Submissions in Prose and Photography

Thanks to the high interest in the new African LGBTI Anthology and the engaging poems we received in our original call for submissions in poetry, we’ve decided to expand the focus of the anthology to include prose – more specifically short fiction and short (creative) lyric essays – and some photography.

As before, we encourage writers who identify as gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, or transgender, living in Africa and first or second generation Africans living in the Diaspora (i.e. if you are African or one of your parents is African) to send their best work for consideration. Works will be chosen solely on merit.


We prefer works that are unpublished. All prose should be no more than 600 words (exceptions can be made in rare circumstances) and in English or English translations. All submissions in photography should be in either JPG or TIFF format.

We encourage writers to submit photography and prose addressing the following themes:

1) Relationships
2) Body
3) Self
4) (Re)Definition. Works addressing other themes will also be considered.

Since we have a good representation of Nigerian and South African writers, we especially encourage writers from other parts of Africa to submit their work. Also, we urge the use of pseudonyms where writers feel threatened.

Submissions should be sent through Submittable under African LGBTI Anthology.

Questions can be sent to Abayomi Animashaun via email at Please include “African LGBTI Anthology” in the subject line. Our deadline is April 15.

For more information, please visit the anthology’s website:

Trayvon Martin Racism Black Genocide

Confessions of a Serial Roach Killer: On Irrational Phobias, Racism, and Black Genocide

I didn’t know what else to call this post, so forgive the title.

A Bit of Background: My Fear of Nigerian Roaches

I have a really terrible phobia of Nigerian roaches. Yes, Nigerian roaches. Have you seen them? They’re HUGE — from a meter away you can see their entire, segmented bodies, rotating heads, menacing antennae, including what they’re doing — sniffing the bare floor, eating decaying particles of food, ugh… *shudder*

I’m okay with other kinds of roaches. I’m even okay with other kinds of insects. When I lived in the U.S., on the east coast, I remember thinking that the insects there were such a joke; small, few in number, and always fleeing, they didn’t stand their ground like the ones I knew from home. But then again the coldness of winter kills most insects, so I rarely had to contend with the range (and size) of species that thrive in warmer climates. Still, I don’t think one can claim to have seen a real cockroach until they’ve come face to face with the African-sized sort that perch themselves on your fridge handle in the middle of the night, and dare you to try to get by…. but I digress.

We all know that phobias are irrational.

As a smart person who perhaps over-intellectualises almost all of my emotions so that I may better take control of them, and be proactive (vs. reactive) in my responses, whenever I encounter a big Nigerian cockroach, all that critical thinking and control goes out the window. I almost always scream, jump up and down, become really religious (“Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!), and descend into a dry-heaving panic, crashing into nearly everything around me. To compose myself, I almost always go through this exact train of thought:

Sad Harmless Nigerian CockroachCalm down.
It’s just a cockroach. An insect.
It’s harmless.
I’m nearly 1000 times its size!
This is just a phobia – it is irrational.
Phobias are irrational.
(Ahhh, it’s so scary!)
Okay, stop. Just stop.
It won’t do anything. Really! Look at it!
It’s just chillin’ over there.
You can kill it.
Just kill it.
It’s just a useless cockroach.

I’m going to tell you something very embarrassing, but true.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to go use the bathroom. Yawning and rubbing my eyes, I walked dazedly through the door, then caught the sight of a dark brown figure on the mirror. Squinting to bring the figure into focus, I stopped dead in my tracks; staring back at me was a big brown cockroach – the size of a USB modem, with extra-long, thin antennae flailing wildly about. I freaked out.

Screaming madly as I recoiled at the sight, I stepped back and lost my balance, falling hard unto the ceramic floor and scrambling away to safety. The commotion caused the cockroach to begin crawling frantically against the mirror glass, further freaking me out. Still unhinged and shrieking, I reached for the doorknob and pulled the door shut; I couldn’t risk the creature flying into my bedroom, you see — ’cause, yeah, Nigerian cockroaches fly. In 92 degree weather, I slept with my head buried under the covers.

The next morning, it took me about 30 minutes to muster up the courage to re-open that bathroom door. When I did finally, I discovered there was no cockroach; it had clearly slid back into its hiding place, away from the daytime light. I got ready in the bathroom mostly with my eyes shut (don’t ask how), then hurriedly fled the apartment. However, when I returned home later on that evening, and absent-mindedly walked into the bathroom, I saw the cockroach again! Startled, I ran back out, shut the door, and sat trembling on the bed. I spent the entire night dreading that the cockroach would grow tired of the bathroom and sneak into my bedroom from underneath the door. But the really sad, pathetic part was this:

I let my fear of this one cockroach chase me out of my apartment for a whole week. 

I normally wouldn’t share this much, but I need you to realise how deeply rooted my phobia is: my paranoia at running into the nightcrawler persisted — and got worse — over the course of the week. It got so bad that I resorted to using the bathroom only when I was out for the day, just so I wouldn’t need to when I got home in the evenings (when nightcrawler would be out on the prowl).

Nigerian Cockroach Takes Over HouseThe straw that broke the camel’s back was the day I forgot to pee before I got home. I’d been out at a restaurant with friends and it had slipped my mind. I’d ordered a soup for dinner, so around 10 pm, I really needed to go. But it was dark outside, the night belonged to the cockroach, not me. So rather than brave the inevitable face off in the bathroom, I held my pee… for 8 hours.

Yup. I stayed up rocking back and forth in the fetal position in my bed trying to hold it until dawn, when the ferocious bug would have retired. I got NO sleep that night and, as a result of the exhaustion and anxiety, I developed a severe headache and wheezing (from my asthma). By the time I had to get ready for work, I had no choice but to call in sick. I was so ashamed of myself. It was totally pathetic, right? But now you know how frightened I was, and how deeply-rooted my phobia is.

Despite hours of reading about how non-threatening this insect was, I couldn’t shake the fear. He had to go. It was either him — the cockroach – or me; two of us couldn’t occupy the same space. I wanted him out, period. So, the next day, I purchased some insecticide (the cruelest way to kill bugs), sprayed the bathroom, and left the apartment for the damn thing to die

Where am I going with this, you might wonder?

Honestly, I’m not sure how to articulate the feelings I experienced after coming home to open the bathroom door and realising what I had done: I’d given into my phobia and the cockroach had lost. The revelation of this – that I’d carried out the torture and murder of a Nigerian cockroach – might seem a bit dramatic; maybe it is, but I haven’t been able to shake or clearly articulate what I’ve been feeling over the outcome of the whole fiasco.

So, naturally, I wrote a poemthing: a somewhat apology or eulogy for the Nigerian cockroach. Silly (and comical) as it is, maybe after reading it, you’ll understand better understand why this insignificant moment about an insect holds some significance to me as an activist. If not, hey, you at least got to laugh at me shrieking and tripping over myself as I tried to flee a bug. As we say here, nuttin’ spoil.

In Memory of the Indigenous Cockroach, Nightwalker:

This morning, before I left, I sprayed the shit out of my bathroom so I could murder the African-sized cockroach that had been my torment for weeks.

I fled the scene, coughing as I escaped a fate I could not wait for the foul thing to meet. But over the course of the day, my conscience got the best of me.

A butterfly flew by, landed neatly on a jasmine leaf and I thought, “How pretty,”
right before I began to question what it means
to pick and choose what shade of life offends.

We play God with cans full of poison, then cry foul when they insist the wrong version of history is truth.

Whose home is this? Whose ceramic floor?
Who decided white tiles and bath towels meant foreclosure?
What is home if not the audacity to feel
safe — to roam freely in black and brown without fear
of finding yourself in the wrong neighbourhood?

Dear Nightwalker (can I call you that?),
you’re dead and gone
there’s no coming back
no resurrection from violence this absolute,
just a self-indulgent eulogy to make your dead corpse political
lest we forget that it wasn’t fear that killed you,
but my unwillingness to place your survival above it;
that this IS your house,
that this IS a murder,
that it is I who have been the intruder,
and life is unjust.

My phobia-turned-hate got the best of me,
so I sprayed my humanity away,
justified insecticide just so I could feel a little safer
from that cruel brown creature of the night whose corpse I cannot face
for fear of seeing myself.

But this is not a poem.

This is an apology, for killing you AND your wife.
I had no idea she’d be at home when I cast the first stone.
I thought you were a rogue in the night,
not a nighttime hustler
head of your own household
seeking bread crumbs for a family you’d kept out of sight.

You must know that when I returned home and saw not one,
but two overturned corpses laying side by side
I knew the war had just begun…

They say the sins of the father follow the son.
I do not wish to kill any more, so I hope to god they’re wrong.
(I know they’re not.
My time will come.)

RIP Cockroach (and Cockroach Wifey – my bad)

Cockroach Family

Queer POC Holiday Media Gift Guide

10 Books, Films, and Music by Queer People of Color That Would Make Excellent Gifts

Shopping is Personal is Political

For Him For Her... Bullshit

It’s the last (shopping) weekend before Christmas. But if you’re anything like me, braving large, busy malls filled with mainstream goodies fueling the hyper-consumerism evident just one week before Christmas isn’t your cup of tea. Online shopping, despite the lure of its crowd-less aisles, fancy pop-ups, and steep discounts hasn’t proven to be that much better.

Constantly having to decide between clicking on “Gifts for Him’ and “Gifts for Her” irks the LGBT activist in me. Then there’s the constant temptation to forgo spending your hard earned money on holiday shopping (for family members who aren’t as supportive as they should be) altogether and getting yourself, instead, that heavily discounted Xbox with Dance Revolution bundle, flashing obtrusively on the top right corner of your screen just as you’re about to check out… Wait, I’m sorry, this isn’t about me. I digress.

*deletes Xbox Dance Revolution package from shopping cart… (for now)*

Luckily, I don’t have to deal with (most of) the Christmas shopping madness this holiday season. As per  my last post, in an attempt to facilitate important conversations with friends and family about my sexuality (so that I can make it through dinner without bursting into tears… or flames), I plan on giving the gift of media created by queer people of color. Luckily, over the past few years, there’s been a steady release of media that reflects the lives of LGBTI people with complex racial and ethnic identities while navigating a diverse landscape of cultural and religious beliefs.

A List of Books, Films, and Music by Queer People of Color

Any item(s) from the list below would make great holiday gifts to family, friends, or even to yourself. After all, getting our loved ones to accept us whole is as much of an ongoing process as it is learning to celebrate who we are for ourselves, so why not nourish your spirit this holiday season too?

Note: Because my experience is trans-continental, I’ve prioritized media created by LGBT people of color with various cultural, ethnic, racial, and national contexts. Also, if I’ve mis-labeled or mis-represented any of the media producers’ identities below, PLEASE let me know as soon as possible (with source) so I can update! 


Pariah Movie

Written and Directed by African-American lesbian, Dee Rees.

Themes: African-American, Family, Coming Out, Religion, Gender Identity.

This isn’t just another queer “coming out” movie. The main character, Alike, already knows that she likes girls; it’s coming out to her parents while exploring her gender identity (i.e. more masculine/feminine) that makes this one of my favorite films of all time. This coming of age film is packed with moments familiar enough to resonate with even the most conservative: first crushes (and first kisses), father-daughter bonding, mother-daughter loathing, and siblings who remain annoying as hell but will always be there for you. I loved Pariah so much that I wrote about it twice: My Afrofeminist Review and Coming Out as a Nigerian Boi.

Great Gift For: Everyone, really.

Saving Face Movie

Written and Directed by Chinese-American Lesbian, Alice Wu

Themes: Chinese Culture, Family, Career, Marriage

If I had to put my film picks in order, this would really be at the top. Saving Face is a drama-comedy about two young adults, who are driven by their careers and commitment to family, and thus, find love a tad inconvenient. Saving Face strikes the perfect balance between heart-warming and hilarious. I recommended it to my sister when I first came out and it helped her understand my sexuality, not through the white, class privileged narratives of the L Word, but in the context of our culture. Indeed, part of the film is in Mandarin as the lead characters search for acceptance in a small community in Chinatown, New York.

Great Gift For: Siblings


Circumstance Movie

Written and Directed by Iranian-American, Maryam Keshavarz

Themes: Iranian, Family, Religion, Government, Censorship

Two young women find love and attempt to escape their -er – circumstance of family and politics. What I love about Circumstance is that the lesbian relationship, though central, isn’t the only theme (or issue the women have to worry about) in the movie. Hmm, feels like real life, when religious dogma, traditional parents, and an oppressive government regime are equal (if not greater) thorns on the sides of LGBT  people in non-western countries–a reality that quite often goes above my white gay American friends’ heads. In any case, there’s an (awesome) sex scene that may be awkward to watch with parents (so you may wanna go grab some leftovers during that bit).

Great Gift For: American LGBT friends.



Gun Hill Road Movie

Written and Directed by Latino straight ally Rashaad Ernesto Green

A Latino man is released from prison only to find that his son is in the process of saving up for gender reassignment surgery (i.e. transitioning from living as a man to living as a woman). To cuta a long story short, drama happens, followed by a stereotypical (yet believable) display of machismo, such as forced attendance at baseball games, and an awkward scene with a prostitute. But hey, that’s apparently how to be a “man’s man” (forget not doing things that land you in prison so that you’re around to love your wife and raise your children — that’s for sissies). There’ll be no shortage of issues to discuss after viewing Gun Hill Road, including the trappings of masculinity, femininity, culture as a barrier to individual expression, and really good acting. Says, the LA Times: “… the quietly commanding turn by newcomer Santana — whose outward embrace of an already well-internalized transformation leaps off the screen with equal parts joy, melancholia and bravery — is a standout.”

Great Gift For: Dads, Uncles, All the People with Testosterone in Your Family



Other Side of Paradise

By Chinese-Jamaican lesbian, Stacey Ann Chin 

Themes: Jamaica, Adoption, Family, Womanhood

The first time I saw Stacey Ann Chin speak, I thought to myself, “Damn, I need to be louder!” She’s known for thunderous performances, her constant swearing, her political poetry that takes no prisoners. But, if you’re a writer, you know how much it takes to bleed the way Stacey Ann does anytime she speaks. And when she writes… goodness, there are no words. Her memoir is a glimpse into the circumstances that birthed the beast: growing up in Jamaica, being raised by her grandmother, and the thrill, pain, hilarity, and confusion that comes with discovering womanhood. A must-read.

Great Gift For: Poets and Writers


Memory MamboMEMORY MAMBO (Book)
By Cuban immigrant lesbian, Achy Obejas

Themes: Cuba, Immigration, Culture, Family, Gender

So, I’m cheating here; I really want to suggest two of Achy Obejas books. The first, “We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?”, is a rich, diverse collection of short stories about a Cuban family’s journey from their homeland to the beautiful and broken promises of the United States, all the while grappling with new ideas of culture, gender, and sexuality. Her second, Memory Mambo, is a full-length novel centered around a familiar, yet nuanced immigrant narrative; Janua, a 24-year old Latina lesbian, searches for an anchor in the terrain of an new country (with a band of crazy cousins–blood and adopted–who keep dragging her into trouble).

Great Gift For: Cousins, Extended Family


by African-American Lesbian Poet, Writer, and Activist, Audre Lorde

Themes: New York, the 50’s, Working Class Black Women, Class

From GoodReads: “Audre Lorde recounts the first half of her life in an amazing blend of her own poetry, popular songs, journal entries, and memories that are startling in their exactness and fairness. Her ability to recount her extreme loneliness and desire for companionship at being Black in gay scenes, gay in Black crowds and female and working class in the U.S. is a testament to her desire to create bridges…” I started reading this book and had to stop because I began resenting my work for constantly interrupting my love affair with this breathtaking novel about living “life at the intersections”, a subject for which Audre Lorde is well-known. Zami is moving, powerful, and filled with a tender, vulnerable love for humanity, despite its shortcomings.

Great gift for: Black women (who experienced the 50s in the US e.g. older Aunties?), feminists of all backgrounds


Ash Malindo LoASH (Book)
Written by lesbian Chinese-American immigrant, Malindo Lo

Themes: Fairy Tales, Cinderella, Love and Romance, Self-Determination

Who doesn’t love fairy tales? This re-telling of Cinderella’s love story is appropriate for ages 8 and up, says, making it the perfect gift for young cousins, siblings, and adult friends alike. Apparently, rather than fall for the prince who rescues her from an enchanted slumber, Cinderella starts a love affair with the woman her evil queen mother sends to kill her. I haven’t read it myself, but after reading glowing reviews I decided to gift myself the Kindle version. Incidentally, an accompanying book, “Huntress”, about Cinderella’s love interest, was published shortly afterwards. And, the author just released the first book in her new young adult sci-fi series. Juicy. Visit to learn more.

Great gift for: Young Children, Parents


OI AM (Music)
Jazz composition by gay Guyanese-American, Omar Thomas Large Jazz Ensemble

I grew up listening to Jazz, from the smooth of Miles Davis to the soul of Anita Baker to the afrobeat of Fela Kuti–my father’s influence. So when I left home, and became separated from my father, a part of me distanced myself from his favorite music as well… until I met Omar. I fell in love with Omar’s love for classic R&B, soul, jazz, and his talent for bringing those genres together in his compositions, which feel old school enough take you on a walk down memory lane, and new school enough to warrant Ne-Yo’s replacement as the official baby-making musician of the 2000s. “I Am” will be released on January 15th, but you can pre-order now on iTunes. I’ll be getting two copies — one for me, and one for my father, as a reminder that even though we are now worlds apart, our struggles and our love for each other remains, through heart, through life, and through music.

Great gift for: Dads


by queer Latina, Vicci Martinez

I don’t often have time to watch TV, but I remember when I heard that a queer Latina musician was rocking out on The Voice, a show similar to American Idol, in which contestants compete to be named “The Voice” of America; I looked her up on YouTube immediately and was blown away by the power of her voice (from a relatively small person!). She’s been quoted as saying, “I don’t look the way I sound”, which, though I get what she means, isn’t quite true; she’s absolutely beautiful in her gender non-conformity, and her voice, a reverb of yearning to live beyond measure, beyond bounds. The acoustic version of her new single, “Come Along” is a tantrum of emotions, familiar to anyone who may still be wondering how they survived being a teenager, and — as a member of the LBGT community — how to continue singing for freedom in a world  where your kind of love is seen as an act of rebellion.

Great gift for: Angst-Filled Teenager


Discuss! What do you think? Would you consider gifting any of these items to yourself, friends, or family? As an ally, have you read / watched / listened to any of the media above? What did that do for your understanding? Also, I’d love to open up this space for recommendations. Which books, films, and/or music or poetry albums would be great additions to this list?

Ibhabhathane Community Centre

[VIDEO] Africans for Africa Update: A Day at The Ibhabhathane Community Centre

This post is part of my Africans for Africa project updates: I’m traveling through Southern Africa for 6-months offering free social media, online fundraising, and organizational development strategy workshops to African women, LGBTI, and youth grassroots groups. I publish stories, reflections, lessons learned, and interviews from along the way.

Never Doubt a Small Group of Dedicated Women…

I recently visited the Ibhabhathane Community Centre, the only pre-school available in Rieebeck East, a small farm village with a population of about 700 people. Needless to say, providing good quality education (much less early childhood development) is a challenge. But a small group of dedicated women are making a difference.

An elderly black South African woman (she’s serving food in an apron in the video) reached out to Yolande, a white afrikaans woman, then a new resident to the small town, asking for her assistance in setting up a small center to care for toddlers; many of the young children were left idle / unattended, without sufficient social stimulation, and were growing up with developmental challenges, further impeding their success at the local primary school.

Yolande, a teacher by training, worked with the local community to open the first creche (pre-school) in an abandoned wooden shack. A few local women volunteer to teach and play with the children every day in their native language, Xhosa. And, over time, they remodeled the shack into a warmer, more colorful space. The roof needs to be fixed, and the floor needs to be re-tiled, so fundraising is top priority for them as they hope to grow and implement higher quality programming (in a more conducive environment) for their children.

A few of their goals include building a comprehensive library of children’s books, acquiring funding for more teachers, and a bigger space so they can take in more children, who, without the centre, would remain idle in the village, as the unemployment (and alcoholism) rate is very high.

Rieebeck East, My New Favorite Getaway

During my visit, I stayed with Yolande, the project leader, and her husband, Marc (a talented visual artist and photographer) in their charming Bohemian style mud house, located just outside the township. The interior was painted aqua blue, and they had beautiful art they’d collected from over the years hanging on the walls. Yolande, who comes from a family of mosaicists, has tiled the counter tops, floors, and walls in a simple, yet accentuating masonry of pastel yellow, silver, grey, and black tiles and pebble stones.

On the night I arrived, they happened to be entertaining friends from  out of town, so we all built a fire for a brai (South African barbequeue), and spent the rest of the evening drinking wine and conversing passionately about the arts, apartheid, and the media’s spin on the murder of 36 protesting mine workers. Nothing like spending an evening outdoors, by a fire among fellow artivists; it was the most fun I’d had in several weeks.

My remaining two days there were a lot quieter, a much-needed oasis of nature, peace, and serenity, especially after spending nearly three weeks in the cold city of Cape Town. I woke up each morning to the sound of their fives dogs, three cats, and a whole lot of chickens, then watched the sun ascend from the horizon (which one can see for miles and miles around), as I sipped Rooibos tea. The landscape was breathtaking, and the warmth with which I was tended to, moving. It reminded me that as a traveler, there’s only one way to find home away from home; don’t search for it whole; find snippets, bits & pieces wrapped in small acts of kindness.

When I left, I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and with two new friends whom I can’t wait to visit again. Maybe next year.

A Bit of Kindness, Returned

Ibhabhathane Community Centre is currently trying to raise about R8000 (~$1000) to get high speed internet installed. Currently, there is no connection in the very small town, and Yolande needs to drive about 45K up a dirt road to the nearest university to use the internet (her mobile data modem is much too slow for anything more than checking email). Getting the infrastructure installed will make it easier for her to improve communications with potential donors (and the outside world in general), and also, increase Ibhabhathane’s social media engagement, which they’d like to use for fundraising.

I made this video for them because I was moved by how much they’ve accomplished with so little, and also, how kind everyone was to me, a total stranger, just passing through. I’ve visited about 20 NGOs since I arrived in South Africa in July, and this is the one with the idea — and the people — that have touched me the most.

So, here’s the short video I made — a snapshot of “A Day at the Ibhabhathane Community Centre”. I hope you enjoy it, and consider supporting them as well. You can donate to their project here.


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