Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Souljourning for Truth Sketch (4/26/22) by Wanda Sabir

Sojourner Truth sketch from the photo here. 







 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Souljourning for Truth Project 2022


 In 2021 “Wombfulness Gatherings” was born. We discussed the power of the Black womb: her resistance and resilience, sanctity and sacredness, her stories, her recovery: womb as safety. Sojourner Truth’s story resonated with me. She took her freedom. Walked away from the plantation. She is a mother who left. Black women often stay when it’s time to leave. Truth packed her bag and walked away. Heart breaking, she walked away from bondage carrying one child, leaving the rest.


Souljourning for Truth Project 2022 honors Black wom(b)an agency. I too, choose to walk. Take time for me to reflect on another path, another way– freedom over bondage. With courage, she (eye) walk good, she (eye) heal grief, she (eye) claim economic justice. She died poor, yet she worked for her people. Her daughters died poor too. We need to change this.

I am traveling from Alameda County, California, to Ulster County, New York. Truth wanted freed Africans given land in California, the West, but those who could have facilitated reparations did not. “Give them land in the west.” She said.

This trek from Calif. to N.Y. to Mass. to Mich. is for her and me. 2,928 miles to N.Y. where she was born and enslaved is 7 days by car. I will be on the road for almost two months being wombful.

We honor her on June 1, 2022, her chosen birthday. Libations, prayers and celebration Iya Truth! All praises due Saint Sojourner Truth! You are an excellent example of wombful integrity, faith, intelligence, wit and humor, forgiveness, and patience. I want to feel your energy. Touch the ground where you walked. Watch your sunrise and moonset and count your siblings in God’s sky at night like you and Mau-mau Bett did.

Sometimes, we need to touch somebody. I need to touch Truth. She is an ancestor, so I can touch people from the dirt that grew her work, witness the monuments that celebrate her life, and find comfort and strength in such places we intersect and overlap.“Split, we do not think broken—we do not think. We holy. Forced isolation. With separation comes clarity. She world within world.” – from “She Is,” by Wanda Sabir

There will be a short film documenting the journey. All donors will be acknowledged and invited to the virtual screening.

Visit Wombfulness Gatherings blog for more information.
FB.com/wombfulnest
Instagram.com/wandaspicks
Contactsouljourning4truth@gmail.com

Sunday, March 13, 2022

“Ifa Divination@ Oṣun River,” Oṣogbo, Oṣun State, Nigeria



Art of the African Diaspora 2020 @ Richmond Art Center submission
for
Wanda Sabir, artist

Selection Title: “Ifa Divination@ Oun River,” Oogbo, Oun State, Nigeria (June 2018) Digital Print 20X30

Price: $450.00 



Art of the African Diaspora 2022 selection, Elmina Chic (2019), Ghana, West Africa

Artist Statement re: Art of the African Diaspora 2022 selection, Elmina Chic (2019), Ghana, West Africa. 16X20 inches. Digital Print. Cost: $350.00. 

By Wanda Sabir

When I decided to go to Ghana, West Africa, it was to see the famous slave dungeons: Elmina and Cape Coast. I’d been to Gorée Island in Senegal and Juffureh[1] in Gambia. Neither stirred ancestral energy. Well, I felt something stirring at Juffureh simply because of the female chief’s welcome. She was Alex Haley’s kinswoman. I felt the welcome in her smile and her assertion and raised fist: “Obama!” I felt welcomed, certainly seen. It was unlike Gorée, where I felt nothing inside, except intellectual horror when I saw the solicitude paid to the French. Of course, this trade in Black kins-people was terrible; however, it would not be until I was led into these wombs several years later alone, with 
Seestah IMAHKÜS Njinga Okofu Ababio (One Africa), another Diaspora mother of the continental drift, would I truly feel a tangible lingering trauma.

Even then I felt no immediate inclination to release the hurt. I didn’t feel safe enough to let my imagination or blood memories travel into spaces I might have difficulty returning from.   The trade in African ancestors is a deep ravine or tunnel I am still trying to find my way from. I was born into this legacy at once strong and bold and tenacious.  I think I needed the congestion and confusion, consternation and unknown fear – tears or anguish to enable release. All this breathing space allows too many unwelcome thoughts. Ideas reside where I just want quiet—I put my left hand over my right and sink into what is long forgotten.

As I walked the fort, I was outside my body – an animate corpse looking into holes and bed chambers, then into cells for the unruly rebellious ones who never left the tombs. My feet were adhered to sticky blood soaked floors, feces caked – I didn’t fall down, yet felt pulled into a darkness I used my phone flashlight to illuminate.

There was a nonchalance of the disaffected: “You feel too much,” the uniformed guides and guards said as European descendants of the perpetrators walked silently nearby. Many of them had African descendent wives or girlfriends. I had to negotiate a discount. Why should I pay to visit these ancestral gravesites? “For the upkeep,” I was told. The same is true for the journey. I have never vacationed in Africa. It is a journey filled with hardship.  When is fun deprivation?

Elmina is one of many, slave dungeons along the Gold Coast, in Ghana, West Africa. The edifice is weathered, haunted by memories visitors carry in suitcases past customs— Inheritance spilled between this location and that to come in a land beyond our ancestors’ wildest imaginations. Neither prey nor indigenous predators knew the cost of this severance, breach, hole filled with Black bodies which from then to now, do not matter. Value has always been a negotiable yet tangible notion among traders in Blackness, especially once the commodities were no longer worth the dollars[2] they were printed on.  Drowned, repatriated, imprisoned, worked to death and then recycled—Black memories are stirred here—this space both sacred and profane. Elmina is a gravesite. We visit to put flowers on the mounds, to feed the wandering ghosts, to pour water on stained walls, dash floors, leak into tunnels.

We walk these hallowed chambers where our ancestors suffered fates worse than death, because despite the casualties, many captives lived. They didn’t live long, but they reached outposts in the Pacific and Caribbean, Indian and Atlantic oceans where they wrote a new Black chapter.

There are no return tickets to Elmina dungeon and other waystations. The exit migration was one way for most descendants. There is mystique and lore attached to these geographic spaces. We fantasize about homecomings. Pilgrimages. Alex Haley’s "Roots" the prototype. And for some, there is this welcome. For me, there was none.

I was seen as a reverse negative. White woman in Black face.

157 years post-Civil War conclusion, I, an African Diaspora descendant, questions landmarks like this.  Landmarks that lament, reinjure and sanctify victimhood—Elmina Dungeon a stop on a Black History Reeducation Tour.  What legacy does this promote? Reparations. Land. Healing from the MAAFA? Are such sojourns a path to reunification? African Americans are what was left, forgotten, discarded. We are the fragile egg the Sankofa bird holds gently in its mouth.  Akwaaba! Welcome?

I Have a Red Door

I have a red door.

It’s as if a scarlet bucket of paint spilled across the front of the driveway and walked up the steps and then knocked.

I answer and invite the guest in, paint brush and all. We quickly introduce ourselves and with masks secured, proceed to paint the interior red too.  It was that kind of day. Red-shot through and through. We have learned to bleed

Cut
Sutured
Cut

Healing . . . inevitable like the red paint drying quickly when the sun’s shadow hits it before blinds are lowered.  We bow and say goodbye.

We called her Scarlett. Not red. Lips the color of persimmons and hair to match
Would be suitors feel the passion flowing in her veins
Blush just beneath the liquid honey covering her body

Hair short, twists coiled wires antennae with almost radio active frequency
Scarlett vibrated when she breathed
Her walk an electric storm

Every one kept his distance except water, who liked playing with fire

Purple cracks, broken circuits . . . melted core and cascading lava evidence of their field days . . . running and hiding. . . having fun

When she has had enough, Mama claps her hands Scarlett settles just above the horizon . . . purple fuchsia "air" kisses goodnight where the two friends met . . . they hug each other until both fall asleep into the next day


Vukani Mawethu or Mothers who sing. . .

I met Attieno at Jefferson Elementary School. I was attending Holy Names College where I was working on completing my undergraduate degree. I’d gotten divorced and was now finishing something I’d started at 17. I was 38 then. I loved going to school. I’d arranged with the children’s father to have them on the weekend’s when I was at college. I had four classes: 1 Friday night, 1 Sat. morning and 1 Sat. afternoon. During the week I also had a class. I took the children to that class. I was studying philosophy – Sartr and Kant;  Aristotle and Aquinas and Avisina.  I was waiting for the Mother Ship to land; instead bridges fell, freeways crushed cars and the World Series stopped

Everyone was watching the events in South Africa—the racist regime and the African resistance movement. I’d never thought myself a singer, but I liked to sing. Attieno kept inviting me to a rehearsal for this American choir called Vukani Mawethu which sang songs in the South African languages to bring awareness to the South African Apartheid government.

She’d ask me what I did for fun and I’d reply, I went to college. I was working on my BA and she’d reply, that’s not fun Wanda. In the meantime, Attieno gave these really fun parties where Davey D would spin the best dance music and we would dance and talk politics and just have the best time. She and her husband had a house in Berkeley. I am thinking the party was an annual New Year’s Kwanzaa party.

She told me I could bring my children [to the rehearsal]. After several months, I finally agreed to attend a rehearsal at Finn Hall in Berkeley. Fundi was the choir director. A retired art teacher in the Oakland Unified School District, she sat at the piano and ran a few scales and told me I was an alto and where to stand in the group. Everyone said hi and shook my hand and I joined Attieno in the “cool” section of the ensemble—we were the “root girls” cause we had sass and style and the most people.  We also had floaters or singers who had range and could sing multiple parts.

The kids met other children, boys and girls who showed my daughters where the cool places were in the large mansion. There was food in the kitchen where we ate before rehearsal and parents took turns watching out for the kids to make sure they were safe.

More often than not, the kids were in the room with us coloring or doing homework. This is pre-smart phones so the kids used paper to write and pencils and crayons or read books. Before long my kids knew the songs too in a variety of languages.

We wore black slacks with green or white tops.  Our sashes were green, gold and black. The choir rehearsed on Wednesdays and performed often. I remember carrying a tape recorder and a tablet to jot down notes and transcribe the languages. We often had South African visitors who would help us with pronunciation.

I had to have the songs on cue cards for the first few gigs until I learned a bit of the repertoire. It was pretty exciting. We sang for all the visiting dignitaries, and because we were in the SF Bay Area where Ron Dellums was the Congressman and Barbara Lee the Assembly person and Keith Carson the Supervisor, South Africans were welcomed with open arms and many ended up staying here or making this area their base.

There were choirs like ours in Ireland and other places in the West. Founded by James Madulope Phillips, a South African Union organizer in exile, they said he was the South African Paul Robeson. He could not return home and so used music to educate and bring attention to the civil and human rights abuses in his home country. Dr. Fania Davis invited Madulope to the Bay Area where he led workshops and put on a concert with his students—a mass choir. The choir was so successful and fun, Vukani Mawethu grew out of this event. I’d missed the concert, but I’d heard about it. When Attieno invited me to come sing with her, I couldn’t imagine where I’d get the energy from to rehearse and sing, but I did.

I didn’t date and go to clubs or bars, so Vukani Mawethu introduced me to adult fun. I went to Yoshi’s for the first time to see Pharaoh Sanders where I met Shukuru Sanders, his wife at the time. I’d never been dancing at Ashkenaz either, but this place quickly because my dance home. We’d take over the space and my big sisters would surround me and I could just feel the music and let go of the single mother blues. It was great. The kids were always welcome; however, like typical kids they didn’t want to hang out with mom.

The choir became my home—I’d found my tribe. I remember when we sang at Grace Cathedral when Bishop Desmond Tutu spoke. I also remember seeing Hugh Masekela lots of times and how intimate the settings because someone in the group always knew someone who knew someone. We went to all the concerts and when Zulu Spear defected and members of Sarafina – after I’d seen the play at a theatre in San Francisco . . . it was just so exciting to be a part of a liberation vocal orchestra. We stood with the Palestinians, the Indigenous people, the Unions . . . when the union shut down the ports on the West Coast, we were on the bill that day to sing. I went to as many events as I could. I took the children when they were young and then got babysitters and eventually left them at home. It was a ten year commitment. I remember when the elections happened and Mariam Makeba spoke about flying home after the concert to vote for the first time in her adult life. I remember seeing the polling places in South Africa and hearing from poll monitors there who lived in the Bay Area like Gerald Lenoir what they felt like and what he witnessed. Here there were polling places set up for people to cast their ballots. It was so exciting. We were able to buy ballots as souvenirs later on at a fundraiser.

Arnold White painted a picture of Mandela. He also added Fania Davis and Angela Davis to his Freedom Tree.  Clearly, the man of the hour, when Mandela got the vote and the African National Congress took over the former Apartheid Government – it was a fulfillment of all our dreams. When this hope was not fulfilled we were disappointed.

That day. The day Nelson Mandela became the first African leader of a new South Africa, we eagerly awaited his world tour itinerary. Oakland was on the list for a stop. Immediately there began to be rehearsals for a mass choir performance. We rehearsed at Allen Temple Baptist Church where Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith is now pastor emeritus.  Vukani was the lead choir and we led the rehearsals with others.

The day of the concert we sang at the very full Oakland Coliseum. We danced into the stadium while in other aisles drummers performed. I have yet to see footage. I heard from my children and friends (they were seated with) that we looked good.

We were embraced here, so when I went to South Africa on the ANC’s centennial, I was surprised at the reception: sucking teeth and hands out. This was when I was at the transit station in Johannesberg at the information booth. However, when I was with friends or friends of friends like Salelo Maredi and Maisha Jenkins it was like old times.

It was so nice to see the land I’d worked to liberate. The Anti-Apartheid museum in Johannesburg was amazing—I was unable to see Mrs. Mandela but we drove by her home. I wasn’t able to get a press pass for Oprah’s girl’s high school graduation either and disappointedly I wasn’t able to get the the Centennial Ceremony in . . . but I got to hang out with Selelo and meet musicians and artists at the National Museum and went to the place in Pretoria where the women tore their passes in half.

My parenting relationship was not one where I could trade and take advantage of opportunities to travel to South Africa with Vukani Mawethu, but I did get there eventually years later with my younger daughter after a trip to Madagascar for a month.

I really wanted to go to Boswana and Mozambique and Swaziland. Next time.

Dumile and Elouise had a group called Amandla Poets. Everyone performed at Ashkenaz or Yoshi’s or the Herbst Theatre or Zellerbach Hall . . . even Stern Grove or the Greek Theatre, the Great American Music Hall or what became the Justice League. There were outside concerts too: Festival at the Lake, concerts at the park at the Embarcadero and later at the Port of Oakland.

Politics and Art waltzed together. We had political education classes or workshops and homework. When someone came here from abroad we got together over a meal and listened to him or her speak. When we sang at these events, we were conversant in what was happening on the ground and could speak intelligently about the boycott or sanctions against companies and corporations that supported the Apartheid regime.  I’d already gotten my kids used to boycotting the grapes and strawberry companies that did not support the United Farm Workers Union, so they were used to reading labels and watching me do research on who owned Lever Brothers, Bank or America . . .

Zionism and Apartheid were twins and we did not support the economics of either. My children learned early the link between economics and power. The people could stop a giant simply by stopping the fuel – dollars.

Happy Mother's Day Little Sister, I'm Back

 Happy Mother's Day

7 messages

From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:18 AM

To: Lavina Johnson

Cc: TaSin Sabir 

Greetings Lavina:

I want to extend you a congratulations on a wonderful son, born today, Justin. Congrats. 

Tell Chris I said hi. I am back from Africa as of yesterday (smile). I attached a couple of photos of me at Bridal Falls in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, Eastern Highlands. I was at an arts festivalthis weekend. I am home now. I was away for two and a half months (three countries).

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir



From: TaSin Sabir

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:23 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Love these photos of u! glad ur back


From: Wanda Sabir
Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM

To: TaSin Sabir <tasinsabir@gmail.com>

Yes, I am happy to be back with you too (smile). I didn't go to bed :-(. Now I have to go to work.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir


From: TaSin Sabir

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:25 AM

To: Wanda Sabir <wandasabir@gmail.com>

What! Oh my drive safe. Can u call out


From: Wanda Sabir
Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:26 AM

To: TaSin Sabir <tasinsabir@gmail.com>

What do you mean? Call out? The house phone doesn't work. I don't understand that.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir


From: Lavina Johnson

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Thanks Sis! I will tell Justin and Chris you said hi and sends kisses lol.

I'm glad you made it back to USA in one piece, the photos are beautiful! I'm so proud my big sis is doing her thang! lol 

Love You!

Lavina Rose

From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

To: Lavina Johnson 

Wow! You're in CA?! Great! I am starting a doctoral program in October, so I will be coming to Carpinteria, a few miles south of Santa Barbara, CA, to Pacifica Graduate Institute. Since I will be so close, we can get together perhaps when Icome down?

My classes are Monday-Wednesday, crazy. Each month I am going to be absent from classes. I don't know how that willplay with the powers that be, but I will make it work for the students.

I will set up work for them to do in the Writing Center on those days, along with group work. It's for nine months, then inthe summer I have to do a research project (smile). The doctoral program is in Depth Psychology: Eco Psychology,Liberation Psychology and Community Psychology. I am excited. I was accepted while abroad.

You know Mom's brother's name was Floyd. I think they called him Rusty because he had red hair. I think he is the onewho drowned or died early from something.

You should all come up for Thanksgiving at my place. I will even cook (smile). We'll invite Fred over or maybe we'll havethe dinner at TaSin and Shawn's place, and we can all cook. You all can bunk with me. I have an extra couple of beds. ByNov. the study should be neater (smile).

I love Africa sis. I love everything about it, even the bad parts, even when I get frustrated and want to slap someone(smile). I love being with so many black people. I am so proud to be thought one of them -well I am (smile). Zimbabwe isso beautiful, yet the people are really suffering--no water in the suburbs. I was boiling water for baths and washing dishesand laundry and then I ran out of water. The farmers don't have seeds and people are hungry.

The country has the highest literary rate in Africa, yet there is 70 percent unemployment. The president wants investors tolet Zimbabweans have 51/49 shares and he is getting resistance in this from foreign investors. Add to that US sanctionsand we have a problem. The country has not currency. It uses an inflated American dollar and for change (they have nocoins) the South African Rand.

I had to learn to count in rands quickly. The market is really black (smile). Yet the folks are pleasant. I felt like a celebrityon Sunday when the combe drivers wanted to take a photo with the Californian. The men went and hired a photographer.They were sweet. They then got back in the combe after finding a clean bathroom for me and paying the attendant,chased down another combe I needed to transfer to to get to Harare.

I was trying to make a soccer game, but it was canceled.

Combes are commuter vans. There is no public transportation system. I had a trip from hell Thursday. I have to type mynotes (smile). (My trip home to SF took more than a day and I almost got into a fisticuffs with security in Addis at theairport last night.)

There is no central heating anywhere, so I was cold a lot, unless I was under the covers or bundled up. At the festival itwas chilly and windy--it is winter in Africa now. Summer is in December/January. The house I was staying in was lovely,swimming pool, huge garden with great veggies, a patio,. secure, but no water. Yep, when the basics are absent, it's hardto make a palace a home.

Brother Saki is a friend of a friend. He is in NY on his way to Italy, so his son showed me the house and how to manage.There is a caretaker and his family here, so I am not all alone on the premises. I have set off the alarm too many times.The security company knows my name (smile). They just can't spell it. I think they can now, but I am gone.

I loved Ethiopia girl. So beautiful in the countryside, really really beautiful. I had so much fun exploring and I met some really nice people. We did our libations for the ancestors when I arrived the first week and went to a concert. Houses aremade from mud bricks and these houses are really sturdy and sound. The government is tearing these houses down anderecting these project looking condos. In 20 years Addis Ababa is going to look like one big slum. They have these samebuildings in Zanzibar town, and parts of Harare. Grungy and ugly, the classic mud houses are going away and with them ,in Addis, this city's unique charm.

Tanzania and Zanzibar were also beautiful. I traveled a lot while there. It was in Tanzania that I went on a safari, saw thelions and tigers and cheetahs and elephants and crocodiles and zebra and wildebeests, and moneys and baboons andsnakes and foxes and vultures and flamingos. giraffe and antelope. . . . It was fun. We camped, which wasn't fun. I think alion came into our camp one night. At least that's what I heard. I didn't go and see.

Food has been a challenge, vegan and gluten free with no dairy and no eggs and no tomatoes and no sugar. I can fit mysize 14 pants again (smile).

The music festival in the eastern highlands was really fun. We stayed at a nice hotel. Again no heat and the water afterone night was luke warm. The music was sooo good, really good. And the festival was free. I met a new friend at GreatZimbabwe, he is an archeologist, I stayed at the National Park with him and his colleagues (he gave me his room) thenthe next morning we caught the combe, van, toward Chimanimani. We got a lift from a really nice man, he works for an NGO that installs toilets in communities and helps these same folks develop nurtritious gardens. The people install thetoilets with training.

He told us about other scenic spots along the way to Chimani, so we stopped at the Hot Springs which as lore will haveit, have been 100 degrees celcius since the beginning of creation. Those who believe this also believe the waters whichare hot, are holy.

I am not blocking any blessings girl so I filled a bottle up with the hot water. I had to let it cool before I put it on my face.You could make tea, next time, I am going to bring some bags and sit and have a few cups. It is such a unimpressivespot. It's not in a spa, it's across the street from some small stores, literally in the 'hood.

I left some for my host's parents who are not doing too well presently, especially the dad. Brother Saki is a filmmaker, an author, father, husband and director of a multimedia arts institute in Harare. He lives in Emeral Hill, only in the movies right?

Where else would OZ be real but in Africa (smile). In Zimbabwe to be exact. I am going to adopt a 14 year old girl I metand really like. I visited an orphanage while in Zim called Mother of Peace. I have friends who support the mission and Ireally loved visiting there.

Bella Bridget is such a sweet girl. Her parents are deceased and her siblings are all older than she. She and anothersister-friend of hers helped me climb the sacred mountain the day I left. It was divided into 14 stages of the cross, the girlsprayed at 9 of them, while some women ahead of us who we eventually passed was singing and shouting and reallygetting their prayer on (smile).

At the top of the mountain is an altar and open space for prayer and worship. We made prayers. I wrote mine on paperand the girls wrote theirs in the dirt. We then climbed back down to visit the shrines. We met the keeper of the shrines onour way up.

Mother of Peace shares this area with a Lepers colony. We had lunch with the guardian of the Shrine in Mutoko. Thecommunity is Catholic. The two women, sisters, Mama Jean and Mama Stella, are taking care of 125 children, many havegrown up here. My host's wife was raised there. They have cows and hogs, chickens and lots of crops. The localprisoners are hired to do the harder labor like planting crops and harvesting.

There is a dam near by where people fish. The village is arranged in cottages with the names of saints on them. I was in St. Raphael, a cottage a friend of mine built. Dr. Scott started practicing medicine at MOP in 2002(?) and the health of the over all community began to shift. There is a clinic where not just the children, but the community can get check-ups, routine tests, the clinic even provided prenatal services now.

A lot of people have HIV disease. it used to kill many of the children at MOP. Not that number has decreased. Bothmothers and children are living longer healthier lives. I took books and a couple of dolls as donations plus gave somemoney (smile).

I visited three children's shelters while I was away. In Addis the children were being taken care of by the community. Inanother place there was a drop in day center and if the kids were homeless, street kids, they could live there. A lot of thekids also had HIV disease. The boarding house I was staying at supported this facility as well as activities and schoolingfor many of the kids. I gave books and a doll to one of the women I met there who was adopting an Ethiopian child fromanother facility.

She was Irish.

When I went to Arusha, I gave most of the dolls and many of the books to the children at United African AllianceCommunity Center Home. UAACC care for about 100 kids too. They are so sweet and are doing well in school. Thesekids are no all orphans, some of them have families who cannot afford to send them to school and need help.

Many families still do not value education for girls. Child marriages, especially in the countryside is still common.

I met a park ranger in Arusha at UAACC and an attorney/retired judge. I hung out with both of them. Maggie has anorganization that supports the well-being of orphans. She takes them out on Sundays to the amusement park everymonth. There are only 5 women park rangers in Arusha or Tanzania, three of them are related to her (smile).

We went dancing that night. It was really fun hanging with the tots at the amusement park in Moshi. I spent the night ather friend's house. Her friend has a mansion (yes there is water (smile). She has three girls. Her back yard is on a lakeand Mt. Kilimanjaro is within view.

I have come to appreciate mountains.

Maggie and her friend, whose name is escaping me, have a women's coop where the women are developing microbusinesses where they are raising laying hens and fryers, growing food and doing other lucrative trades so they will no bedependent on their spouses, which gives them more leverage in their relationships.

The same was true in Bwejuu with a women's group I met there. When a woman has no income, the man can do as heplease, well he feels as if he can do as he pleases with no consequences.

Money is the great equalizer. We had fun dancing. I danced by myself for the most part and we would dance together. Atthe every end, a man started dancing with me for multiple songs (smile). When I don't talk, people can't place me (smile).

Anyway, that is a bit of my journey. The tour guides tried to pick me up, most of them youngsters. I am starting to look atage differently now. It has taken me a minute to understand, but it's not always about the green card (smile) or they thinkit isn't.

By the time a man gets to be 40, he is married with lots of kids. There are not single 50 year old men in Africa. if thereare, I have not met any. And I am not interested in being a second or third wife, been there done that.

So anyway, I am open and not letting labels keep me from following my heart. I am also using my brain too (smile). I leave broken hearts behind wherever I travel. So far, I have left the men and if there was a summer fling, the summer fling, behind, so far . . . (smile).

I still communicate with three men, one asked me to marry him and his wife approved, the other is a sweet man in Mali who is not married, and a new friend in Ethiopia who has written me a few emails. A met another man from Congo who lives in Paris. I met him at the airport in Addis when I was flying to Zimbabwe. I almost missed my plane (smile).

How old is Justin now? Send me his address so I can send him something he might like. What would he like?

Fill me in on the details. I am glad you have slain the dragon and that you are not in a shelter. I have never stayed in a shelter, but all the books I have read and films I have seen make such places really last resorts. Good you have options. As long as you are happy, the current situation sounds like RELIEF (smile).

How is Chris doing in school? Is he making good grades? Tell him I am rooting for him (smile).

Peace and Love,

Wanda

PS I was all dressed and ready to go to work and I started feeling faint. I am supposed to be sleeping now. I was up all night. Let me go. I am going to send you a picture of Bela (beautiful).


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Reflections on London (12.2.2016)

Reflections on London

Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Since Sonia Sanchez's poem about lions, I have felt an affinity for the king. I am of course not influenced by the Leo risingaspect of my horoscope. To see the magnificent lion, black like King Selassie I's Lion of Judah, put me at home.

London is a city seeped in Kemetic ritual and culture. It is similar to Washington DC. I just don't have Dr. Tony Browder toexplain it to me. As I walked through Covent Gardens through the three arches into St. James Park towards BuckinghamPalace, I noticed an old castle to my right as I passed . . .

When I got to the end of the road which curved, there seated was the Queen, larger than life. Cherubim and birds andother blessed creatures carved into the edifice. Golden and black gates covered the entrances. I reflected on theAsantehene in Kumasi and the British destruction of the king's palace in search of the golden stool. After the king snd hismother were arrested and sent to the Chelles islands in Madsgascar, and the king returned Christian, the British gave theAsantehene a building as a castle. The new castle is nothing compared to Buckingham palace.

Just the park, where the palace sits, the paved roads, cobbled streets (similar) to the same seen in Ghana (where there ispavement) is evidence of the travesty that is neocolonialism and enslavement. Britain can leave the EU rather than offerreparations to African descendants of the slave trade and African descedents of colonialism- - both. Membership in theEU benefits people who do not have the resources to shop around for better healthcare, pay tuition instead of attendingan EU college with free tuition, retire in a country where their retirement dollars will go farther. . . . The EU decision seemsto be part of a larger plan, similar to the USAs political decisions which isolate and estrange.

When I was in Ethiopia, the lion roared philosophically, and it roars in England too. Gondor is the prototype for England'scastles. There is so much back and forth culturally it is dizzying.

I see why the Eastern border including DC. is called New England and New York, New York. From its subways to citydesign, the eastern coast is home to British culture . . . Kemetic culture. As seen in the current exhibit at the Britishmuseum, the presence of Kemet practically and philosophically in the building of a western culture lies in its relationshipwith a black world. Kemet saw divinity within the animals and birds another living things, while the Greeks did not. Thisrespect paid forward is seen in a global disrespect for life, esp. non-human.

On my way back to Convent Gardens I found myself lost in paradise-- mama swans and her ugly duckings prepared fornightfall. I walked towards town, stopping to take photos of monuments to WW2 women soldiers, and carved inscriptionswith unicorns and serpents and nymphs. I passed a large building covering muliple blocks -- it was the Parliment whereI'd been watching discussions on BBC. Police stood at the various entrances. I also saw large underground stations likeNYs Grand Central. Red buses vied with hearse carriages (cars) the preferred mode of transport. Gas prices must not bean issue. Lots of people walk. I listened to discussion re underground access to Birmingham which still takes hours toreach. Reminded me of Antioch and Vallejo suburbs which are not easy to get to without a car.

I was on a treasure hunt for Ira Frederick Aldridge, Shakespearean actor. He moved to England at 17 to make the stagehis home. His story is topic of the play Red Velvet. The playwright is spearheading refurbishing of her theatre in SouthLondon. The current play ? is the last production before the theatre closes.

I did get by the National Gallery to see Aldridge's portrait and though I missed the curtain, I tried to go to an opera to seeinside the Royal Opera House where Aldridge starred as Othello. I'd planned to go by his home, but rainy cold weatherand time were not on my side this visit.

As I walked through Covent Garden at dusk a black man played Otis Redding's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. He didn'twhistle.

I felt quite at home, even though what they speak in England sounds like a foreign language. I couldn't bring myself to buyanything with the country's flag or colors. I don't wear the American flag, why would I wear that of this colonial power. Inever got used to seeing Ghanaians wear scarves and shorts and blouses with stars and stripes.

How patriotic. Sister Imahkus (One Africa) spoke often of the Ghanaian love of all things American.

Update Zanzibar; Safari in Tanzania

Update Zanzibar (smile)

From: Wanda Sabir

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 7:32 AM

To: TaSin Sabir; Bilaliyah 


I tried to send this yesterday after the safari, lost it and had to type it again. It never sent. I am in Zanzibar now. TaSin it looks like Tana, Madagascar. The hotel roof looks just like the second place we stayed.


The room is sooooo much nicer. For some reason there is no blanket or top sheet. I have to ask for one.

We are right on the Indian ocean. It's pretty here. You have to do this with me next time. From yesterday. I don't know why it is so hard to send images, but I had to remove it to send the narrative.

June 28, 2013 Take Two (smile)

The days are running together. I leave for Zanzibar in the morning at 8 a.m. I will shoot you an email once I am at the hotel. I don't know why this phone is not texting internationally. Can you send me a text?

My number is:255 0755360765 (I tried texting you again TaSin. I think I will return to the store where I bought this phone and ask what the problem is.)

The O'Neals just threw a party for their son Patrick, granddaughter Malia and daughter-in-law Aisha. The party was also for the students from Stoneybrook and American University, medical and anthropology students.

Some of the guys in our truck were annoying, youth, testosterone and white skin. One kid who got dirty yesterday and messed up the back seat, took my seat, it was annoying. I sat there, to keep the peace.

I used the bathroom in a corn field today too. At the last place we stayed, the ground was wet and the tents weren't up when we arrived and it was getting dark. It was the last day. for me day five and after Frances said she got rooms for the students, I asked if they had another for me, and I got a room for $40. The men had upgraded me to a bigger tent but I was tired of camping. My arms hurt, my trigger finger (where I press the shutter button).

I met the teacher who took the college students to stay in his village. He is Masai. A young woman named Helen Thomas was with him. I told her she has my mother's name and my grandmother's maiden name.

Her dad died and her uncle is taking care of her family (4 kids, but it is hard). She is the first in her family to go to college. Her fees are just $500 per year. The semester starts July 15. I have seen her college; it's not far from UAACC.

The name of the village translates as Black Tea -- Mati ya Chai. There is a brown river that runs through town. We saw lot of Wildebeests hanging out in the road. It gave us a sense of what it must be like when there is the big migration. I want to return when the animals are moving from one part of the Serengeti or Ngorogoro.

Lake Manyara National Park was tje first park we went to; it was the warm up park. We practiced taking photos while holding on as the vehicle moved. Just kidding. We learned to frame shots and our driver,

Julius was really patient. Later on, I think we were beginning to get on his nerves, because he would not stop sometimes and other times pull off before we were ready. I started speaking up when i really wanted a shot.

We saw so many lions, lots of them, cubs and nursing mamas. We saw lots of nursing mamas: elephants, ;baboons, zebra, a leopard, wildebeests. . . .

I loved the zebras. They are so pretty and the elephants. Two males were vying for the attention of a female who was standing near a tree and scratching herself. Cute. My clothes are so dirty, I can write my name in them.

We went to this really cool gallery/museum. It is patterned after the Guggenheim Museum in NY except it is African. We then went to a market in town where I bought three Masai dolls. Overkill since I already had one I bought in the gift shop with the Serengeti. She has earrings on, but I am going to fix up the others.

I am going to go back and get you some earrings and sandals. They have some really pretty ones. The Berkeley Flea Market markup is high. I found the earrings I bought before I left for sale for a little over a dollar. I am going to get a couple Masai blanket. The cook, Jumani was really great. He fixed really great veggie soup for me twice for breakfast. Most often I just ate bananas. I miss mangoes and avocados. I have to find some in Zanzibar. I have to remember to get my DVDs from Mzee Pete in the morning. I can see myself forgetting them and I need them for my presentation in the morning. I will write a note to myself.

There is a park with lots of baobab trees, but we didn't go there. Next time. Our driver needs website for his business and for his nonprofit. I told him about what you and Shawn do. I will introduce you all to him. He is interested in raising money through his website(s). The nonprofit is to help children continue their education after elementary school which is free. Kids take a test for high school and have to pay fees which many cannot afford. If they could pass the high school exam they could skip this and go straight to college.

Did I mention the cheetah we saw. It just walked by our car slowly. Another group of tourists had been waiting for it to travel across the plain for over and hour and we roll up and it walks right by us. After a short while the kids would want to start moving and I was like, what is the rush? It is not like we see this often.

We drove through Ngorogoro to get to the Serengeti. There was a museum in a couple of parks. The Masai were all over both parks dressed transitionally kids and adults. At one of the museums where we learned about Dr. Leaky, I met a docent and mentioned that they should have a website. The timing couldn't be more perfect. One of the researchers is coming out with a book. They need a catalog of the fossils and artifacts and history of mankind. So anyway. I gave him my card, but I have the museum's information (smile).

My battery is dying again. It's cold and I do not have enough cover. It is going to be a long night.Let's see if I can send you a couple photos (smile).

Love.

Mama

Zimbabwe to Babylon

 From: Wanda Sabir

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 4:01 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Greetings Friends and Family:

I am headed back to Babylon-- I am leaving Zimbabwe and headed to Lusaka (2:25 - 3:35) and then Addis Ababa for(8:25 p.m.-n 10:15 p.m.), then to Rome (2:25 am-4:25 am) then on to DC (8:30-10 am) then to San Francisco (12:45p.m.)

If you are in any of these places, drop me a line (smile). I am going to look for Internet or a novel (smile).

It has been a marvelous journey and I am really grateful for all your kindness. I have met many people whom I now callfamily and as such my heart is full as I say farewell for now (smile). I started the trek in early June in Ethiopia and thentraveled on to Tanzania/Zanzibar where I discovered a lot about the salve trade and a people's resilience. I also had anopportunity to meet a couple of freedom fighters who are doing much to change the world for the better as they bridge theriff between Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. I am speaking of Mzee Pete and Mama C in Arusha at UAACC.

I hung out on the beach in Bwejuu, Sister Upesi paradise on earth. Mama Yemanja rose in her majesty the evening I wasdeparting. In Mangatpani Sister Aida nursed me back to health as I had an opportunity to learn more about the trade inAfricans. My visit to Pemba was a highlight of the Zanzibar sojourn. I really loved the large island and met a traditionalhealer and met fishermen and a really nice extension of the Khadija and Muhammad's family in the person of AbdrRahman (nephew),

Zimbabwe is such an African country when one thinks of precolonial, pre-white invasion. I think this is certainly a result ofPresident Mugabe's reign (smile). For all his faults this is certainly a plus. Zimbabweans are a proud people because theyknow their history. I cannot say this of all the places I have visited. Many Africans want to disappear into whiteness to theextent that the children do not speak their indigenous language or recognize the names of their heroes (Senegal, SouthAfrica).

It's hard here for folks and in Harare, one can see the hand of western culture but that is the way of the economic world.America's ideology makes the world go round (for real). National Heroes Day (8/13-14) falls strategically the week afterelections. It is a national holiday as was election day.

I have hung with the people literally as I took combes to distant cities --I am talking hours and hours on hot cramped vansand buses, with the occasional ride in a private car. (People carpool like that here, kind of cool). I visited Mutoko whereGogo Jean and Stella take care of a community of children who are orphaned, many to parents with HIV/AIDS. I got toclimb a mountain there. Visited Great Zimbabwe twice and can't begin to tell you the wonderful energy that engulfs theplace.

Chimanimani Arts Festival was a great opportunity toi get a taste of Zim music and dance. My battery is about to die, so again thanks for making this East African tour so wonderful.

I will certainly be back (smile).

PS Gloria C., I have a message for you from Jemali re: the house (nice man).


Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 4:01 AM

From: Roni Jordan

To: Wanda Sabir 

Wanda,

Lots to share and I can't wait to hear about your journey. I was on the phone when you arrivedat MOP and I hope you found all well there. Travel safe and let's talk once you settle in.

Min. Roni Jordan

Mother of Peace / Africa Outreach

City of

Refuge UCC Oakland, CA

916-730-0225

http://sfrefuge.org

ww.motherofpeacezimbabwe.org

www.ronijordan.organogold.com

www.coffeeallovertheworld.com

916-730-0225 my direct line


From: Jean Cornneck

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

God bless you in your endeavors we love you very much and looking forward to your next visit


From: Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 1:57 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Hie Wanda

Thanx for the mail. It is my hope that your journey back was good as Ambuya Mujena from the Shona Village fortell. For myself, I am doing fine here, currently at working and starting my preparations for going back to the University.Registration is starting next week and 26 August lectures will be kicking off. It is my hope that you also found yourdaughters and their families well and missing you a lot!

Bye!

Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya

Great Zimbabwe National Monument

P.O Box 1060

Masvingo, Zimbabwe

+263 77 5 102 724


From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 4:28 AM

To: Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya 

Hi Munyaradzi:

TaSin is well. I haven't spoken to Bilaliyah yet. We talked for 4 hours and then went out to dinner. She is fasting an extra week. It is Sunna, something Prophet Muhammad did.

By the time I finished my tea, we were at a Vietnamese restaurant, the sun was down and she was eating from my claypot with coconut rice and tofu with vegetables (smile). She ordered curried chicken, but they brought curried tofu insteadby mistake. They corrected their mistake. I had noddle soup and tofu with vegetables. TaSin and I spoke about sadza(smile).

One of my former students works there. He is almost finished at UC Santa Cruz. He was in my English Lit class.

I have to go to work tomorrow and I am going to bed at 4 a.m. I am still on Zimbabwean time (smile). I saw your email though and I had to respond. I am surprised to see that you "miss me" (smile). I got no hug goodbye or anything (smile).

I love Gloria. thanks so much for introducing us. She is such a sweetheart. I met Godfrey as well when he and his sister took me to the airport. I have attached a photo (smile).

I got home yesterday afternoon. I will forward a note I sent to my other friends regarding my journey home FYI. My note to Gloria bounced. Please send me her email address. I must be writing it incorrectly.

All the best. By the way, I shall miss you too over the coming months.

TaSin thought my desire to adopt a young woman at the orphanage, Mother of Peace, was a great idea (smile). Did I tell you about this? Bella Bridget is 14 years old and a sweet heart as well. She has older siblings. She and her friend,climbed the mountain with me. You should have heard them singing god's praises as we stopped at each station on theway to the top (well the first seven (smile). Bella is the one praying (1581).

the bridge photos are not that spectacular. The ones you already have are better. Mine are not posed and most are from the rear.

Please send me the photo of the baobab tree in the middle of the street you told me about. It is 4:28 am I am really going to bed now.

have a great day (smile).

From Ethiopia to Tanzania Zanzibar

From: robert king wilkerson 

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 at 8:40 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Wanda! Hope you are traveling safe and well. I am just writing as promised: Below are my words to Charloltte and Pete!

Greetings Charlotte and Pete from the belly of the beast!This will be a very brief missive..just to say hello, and to say- Iwish I could greet you personally. And if circumstances were different, I would. For the time being, otherduties/obligations requires my presence elsewheres. However, my good friend, Wanda(Sabir) will hand deliver this toyou. While this is a bit consoling to me, it does not quench my desir to visit you(myself) in the flesh, hopefully, in the nottoo far distant future. In the meantime, I extend my Love/Respect/Admiration to you for your committment, dedication andself sacrifices you have made throughout your lives, aiding others in their quest to help "create" a better world.

I Salute You!Robert H.King

Wanda Sabir


Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 5:32 AM

To: robert king wilkerson

Cc: Wanda Sabir 

Bcc: TaSin Sabir 

Hi King:

On my way to Arusha on Monday. Ethiopia is really lovely all its various aspects and peoples. It has a rich and powerfulhistory I am just dipping a toe into (smile). Maybe next time I'll spend more time here, like a month or many an entiresummer to really get a feel for the folks.

I had a great time this past week--I did a bit of traveling to Lalibela and Gonder and lastly to Bahar Dar. These are historicplaces, at least two former capitals of the country. There are so many churches here, really beautiful edifices. In Lalibela Ivisited churches carved from a mountain--all connected by tunnels. I then went to see another church a bit further away ina cave. There were skulls and other bones of martyrs who came to the church to die (smile).

The buildings are truly works of majesty and skill--artistic, each window, arch or imprint means something and it is allconnected to biblical history. In Gonder there are these beautiful drawings on the walls of the churches, however, it is thecastles which really blew me away. I didn't know there were castles in Africa.

Of course I have been spending money on trinkets--guess what, crosses no less. I have 4 at this writing. No, I am notChristian --yet (smile). I also bought scarves. All women and girls where long dresses and cover themselves. In dressMuslims and Christians look the same.

Yesterday, I saw three hippos when I took a boat ride across the third largest lake in Africa, Lake Tana which meets theBlue Nile. We sailed to that point. I also visited the Zeke Pennisula (?) and one of two islands Lake Tana, this one forwomen monks. I couldn't visit the other one, it's just for me.

There was a prison there--crazy huh?

At the site where there are at least six castles, there were cages where the kings kept lions, symbolic of the Lion ofJudah. One of the castles was built by a queen and hers is the most artistic.

What I have enjoyed most about my time away was the silence and solitude. These places of worship are great places toreflect and empty oneself of worries and thoughts of anything other than the marvel of the greatness of the creator andcreation, of which we are an important, yet not so important aspect. Seeing a building dedicated to the creator carvedfrom the outside in?! Just shows me how nothing matters more than one's faith in something greater than what one cansee.

I am sure, while locked up what kept you going was the knowledge that man was nothing and that spirit was greater thanthe container that held your body. So anyway, I am listening to Quranic recitations broadcast from the mosque nearby. Ilove it. Similarly while in the country, in the mountains surrounding Lalibela and Gonder, one could here the faithfulreciting in Ge'ez (old Amharic, the language of services.)

Got to run.


From: TaSin Sabir

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Beautiful mommy you are getting all deep and spiritual this sounds like a rewarding trip for you. LOVE IT!

also i got you message about the books I'll do it on monday.


From: Wanda Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 8:01 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

Dear Daughter:

Good morning in America, good evening in Addis. Today I rested, getting ready for the next leg of the trip. I am really looking forward to Tanzania. Finally staying with people I know. That should be nice.

I think there is a soccer game. I keep hearing cheering. Ethiopia must be winning (smile). I was going to an Orthodox church this morning and then shopping for some last minute items, but I am tired of forking over $50 a shot when I want to go somewhere. Can you imagine paying $50 a day for transportation, even if you just want to go across town?

Well today was going to cost me $65 for a van, because no cars were available. I was supposed to go to the late service--6:30 am. I woke up at 4 and decided against it and called to cancel. These folks are as tired of me as I am of them. Addis is like New York, no one has time and everyone is running chasing the buck or chasing you for a buck (smile). The country was nicer. Even Bahar Dar was nice, and it is a bigger city than Addis. I hope with all the development it doesn't turn into Addis. I leave for Tanzania at 6 in the morning. I have to be at the airport at 7, three hours early.

I think Ethiopia won. Good for them (smile). The woman whose phone you texted let me read your message from Cassy's sister-in-law. I think you emailed me too, right?

Well I am signing off for now. I have to check and see what Sister Charlotte said about tomorrow's taxi fare.

peace and love,

Mama

PS Please tell Fred Happy Father's Day. I don't think he checks his email. Give my regards to your father as well.


TaSin Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Hi mommy. Happy fathers day to u too :-) Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Are u okay on money?


From: Wanda Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 9:14 AM

To: TaSin Sabir <tasinsabir@gmail.com>

I don't know. Call my bank and see. Are you sure you don't have my SS# somewhere? The Internet connection here is too slow to check things like this (smile).

Abenet is here. I wish I'd known. I would have called her yesterday. She might be able to find me a less expensive way to the airport. I am never staying at the Guest Hse. again.

Mom


From: TaSin Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 9:16 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

I dont have your ss. 


From: Wanda Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM

To: TaSin Sabir <tasinsabir@gmail.com>

okay.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir


From: TaSin Sabir

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Your account checking balance is 2413.66 your savings is 360.72


From: Wanda Sabir

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

thanks! I got an account balance today at the airport here in Arusha. I am here! I might be able to join the O'Neals on an excursion with their son, grandchild and daughter-in-law who are visiting for ten days.

the name of the place is Ngorongoro Crater. The son is treating his parents, but if they can figure it out, I might be able to join them. it's nice here. I am sitting in Brother Pete's palour. The kids have all retired after telling Baba goodnight. Hegave them all sweets and hugs.

The kids are all orphans and live on site. The place UAACC, is a little village, almost a city behind the enclosure. There isart everywhere.

There are sculptures on the trees and along the walk leading to my hut. There are 21 kids here ages 7-9 up to 13. Thekids are really sweet. I am going to give them the books and dolls (except one for my friend in Zimbabwe's daughter. Igave a doll and a book to the woman I met at the Guest Hse. whose adoption for a baby came through. She is Irish andnice. We went on walks, went to the cultural restaurant together and she secured a better room for me while I was away(smile).

The folks at the Guest Hse. were trying to milk me for more money this morning. The ATM at the bank went out of orderafter spitting my card out after I canceled the transaction. Funny coincidence. I gave him 500 Birr and told him they couldbill me the rest ($33). They owe me money. So I will not be paying them anything.

I saw Upesi at the airport in Addis. Can you imagine my surprise. To be walking down the aisle and see someone fromhome. I am staying at her place in Zanzibar (smile). She was going to join her husband there, but she is leaving June 30.I might see her though, Sister Charlotte and I are going to the Zanzibar Film Festival this month.

The place is like camping. I didn't see any bugs, but it is dark and feels like the wilderness (smile). My imagination is tooactive. I do not relish walking back to my room from here. It's nice in Brother Pete's room. Their friend, Ms. Jesse is heretoo, we've been talking. She is a former magistrate who is here representing a client on a case, then back to Dar esSalaam.

Compared to Addis, Tanzania is more like West Africa, except more rural. The people grow corn and sunflowers andbeans. It is really pretty driving down the road and seeing all the pretty yellow flowers. The mountains are really distant,the area not elevated.

I am going to do a few day trips and see what can be arranged re: exploring. I might just shadow Mama C. My computeris about to die, but I will type as long as I can.

The visa was $100, the most I have ever paid. I hope it lasts for a while (smile). I know it works for Zanzibar, so that'sgood.

It's late here. I am going to get a phone. I will text you the number. Another young woman from Sacramento is comingwho helps Brother Pete with a grant application to complete a kitchen for the kids.

I am listening to your outgoing message now. It is night here, so I will be off to bed shortly (smile) to sleep with the lighton.

Too much going on in the room to shut them off--art and furniture and an over active imagination.

Peace and Love,

Mama

PS The kids had a graduation today. The UAACC hosts an after school enrichment program that uses art for education.


From: Wanda Sabir

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

Oh, thanks for the account balance. I have a slight stomach ache this evening. I might fast tomorrow, just drink water, untilit feels better. Brother Pete liked the presents.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir

Visit www.wandaspicks.com


From: TaSin Sabir

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 12:08 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Awwww. I missed your call! my phone was in the bedroom charging and i was in the living room. I'll pick up. I usually pickup all numbers so I'll have to turn my phone ringer up next time it's in another room.

I picked up your artwork from Kamau yesterday and he we telling me how he climbed mt. killeminjaro back in the day.You'll have to swap stories when you get back. Glad you're with people you know now. Have fun.


love you

TaSin


From: Wanda Sabir

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 10:39 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

Yes. Kamau told me the story. I am going on a 5 day safari beginning Sunday with a group. I only have to pay the parkentrance fees thanks to Brother Pete. I won't see the Masai though.

When I get back, I go to Zanzibar (early and then on to Dar es Salaam for a few days and then back to Tanzania on aferry. I hope I can do a short climb and overnight when I return before I leave for Zanzibar.

There is a film festival--10 days and I am joining Mama C. A film about her is screening. I might see Upesi there, she isleaving June 30, she said. We were running around today. I got a new phone, Samsung, this time. It will be active in 72 hours.

There was a protest in town today, not the part we were in-thankfully. There was no bomb, just tear gas (smile). Wevisited one of or the oldest residence in Tanzania today. A two story house, with a lovely garden. A rhino head graced the upstairs porch.

At the safari which begins June 23-June 28, we'll visit Lake Menawa, Serengeti Park and Ngorogora--all for $245 for me.

I gave Sister C $500 for my room and board, even though I am not here for the entire time, since I am not paying the rate she asked. The kids loved the dolls. I wish I'd had something for the boys besides books, but they liked the dolls too.

I read them two books this morning. Folks don't get up super early here, but I do. I think Tanzania is an hour ahead or behind Addis. I will be heading out with the crew from here on Sunday to prepare for the students who have paid about $1000 for this trip. Please contact my bank and have them take the hold off my account.

I withdrew money today and I think they thought something funny was going on after more than four consecutivewithdrawals. I need to withdraw money in the morning without any problems. I might have reached my limit. Change thelimit if I have (smile).

thanks! I only need $245, but I have to take it in Tanzanian shillings and then Brother Pete will convert the currency intoUSD. The banks don't give USD. I have to withdraw 401, 779.8 TZS.

Sister C and I went to an Ethiopian lodge and restaurant today as we were running errands to use the bathroom and thenshe couldn't resist and bought her usual. I bought something too. Lentils and cabbage and carrorts and potatos, and fortomorrow I have the yellow split peas and more cabbage. I am going to town again tomorrow, this time with Brother Pete.

I wish King could have come, he would have loved it here. Hanging with another OG (smile).

Brother Pete, as I mentioned has his own place, and Sister C is next door in her own place. Her place is really nice, thefloors are tiled with really pretty tile. Her kitchen is modern and the bathroom is nice too. She has a studio in her placeand the couple share a door when they want to visit. Brother Pete's place also has the huge TV and I think I said he haslots of DVDs and books whereas Sister C has beautiful art work on her walls, some original like her multimedia work--shequilts too. One of her pieces is a part of a traveling show called And Still We Rise, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazzloomi. Herwork is on Emmit Till.

After I leave the film festival I am going to go to Dar, not just to see the National Museum and the slavery museum, but tomeet with women attorneys to talk about incarcerated women in the US esp. the youth who are being tried as adults. MissJessie, the magistrate I met her, a good friend of Brother Pete and Sister Charlotte, here Monday. She and I shared a fewmeals together.

I haven't taken any photos outside of UAACC. Tanzanians don't like people taking photos, so I have just been looking andwishing I had glasses that were camera lens. The women wear the pieces like the ones in Madagascar with the wisesayings. They wear one as a skirt and the other like a shawl. The colors are pretty. The girls and women cut their hair low--most of them. It's cute, shows off their pretty eyes, but you have to look to see if a person is a girl or a boy.

The girls wear skirts.

Mama C said Tanzanians still practice genital cutting, even though it is against the law, but now young people are refusingso the elders are looking at more gentle ways to introduce manhood and female rites of passage.

It has been really fun listening to these stories. These couple have created a world one can only dream of when onethinks about true umoja or kujichagulia--they are a part of the community with a twist. African and American--the goodparts, the revolutionary parts, the conscious parts. The values we hold as Pan Africans are evident here. One can readaffirmations painted on the walls in murals and see these values exemplified in the faces of heroes and heroines depictedas well.

They speak the language, Brother Pete laughs at his accent, but he communicates (smile). Sister Charlotte shiftslinguistically, yet, despite living in Africa since 1970, first in Algeria and then in Arusha, she is still African American.

the kids left to go to bed. they come over to read in Brother Pete's sitting room and then come into his chamber to wishhim goodnight. As they were preparing to come in this evening they told me so I could join them. I am an insider now(smile).

Sister C told me where I can walk in the morning. I will walk straight and not turn so I don't get lost (smile).

Oh, please check to see if the car insurance needs paying. thanks!

Oh, please make sure that I have 1624.00 in the bank June 27-28, 2013. The bank sends my rent to Martha for the first. Whatever you might have to add, will be available to reimburse yourself with June 30 when my checks are deposited.

Mama C said that she often wonders if she is dreaming, life has been so good. She told me some fun stories about herkids and how they came to live in the United States. Her daughter who had been home schooled until age 15, saw MTVand wanted to go to the US and claim that part of her heritage. Her big brother who had been to Tanzanian publicschools, didn't like it in Brooklyn and returned home with his mother, but Stormy, loved it and has been in the US since.She is 38 now.

We passed a few colleges and universities. We also passed the courts where they are holding Rwanda tribunals.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir

Visit www.wandaspicks.com


From: TaSin Sabir

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

I missed you again! I was washing my hair this morning. Try again please :)

Where is your check book so I can get you account number to deposit some money or if you have your account number you can just email it to me.


From: TaSin Sabir

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

To: Wanda Sabir <wandasabir@gmail.com>

Too many security questions and long hold then they hung up on me when i tried to call bank of america and take off thehold. you have to call them. here is their number

travel number try this one first:

602-597-2395

regular number:

800-432-1000


To: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 6:40 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

I will put my account number in a draft like I did before. Of course I will call again.

Mom


From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 6:59 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

I was able to withdraw money today with no problem. A group just came in from New Jersey on their way to Zanzibar. The college professor brings a group here every year. She has been coming for over ten years. She married a Tanzanian man. They have two children. I will try to call, but today might be difficult.

Mom

On 6/18/13, TaSin Sabir 


From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 7:41 AM

To: robert king wilkerson 

Hi again King. Brother Pete enjoyed the books and videos and greetings. We were together when he read Gail's message about Herman. I hope they release him so he can at least realize some of his plans re: Herman's House (smile). Hope this note finds you well.

Peace and Love,

Wanda


From: TaSin Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 8:42 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Okay. I had to restart the aaa policy because it was cancelled. I pretended to be u but put the payment on tasins card. Sowhen u get back u can change it to wandas card. Haha being you on the phone is so funny seems so obvious but guessim a good actor. The bank call was more secure though didnt want to guess wrong and have your account shut down.Going to the movies in an hour and half 10am so if ur by the phone nows a good time to call. Or after the movie at noon.

Love you


robert king wilkerson

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 9:12 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Greetings once more, Wanda! Glad you are enjoying your trip... I have been mired down in emails and phone calls, andmy thoughts are (or have been) running wild... In any event, continue to travel safely....and return to me!

As Ever/king


From: Wanda Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 9:26 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

Might miss you again. It's 7 p.m. now. I will call you now. Brother Pete has to go get his son tonight. They come in at 3 a.m. I will try tomorrow too. The professor with her class teaches gender studies. her husband said they were just there for a conference in Oakland. I wonder why Bilaliyah didn't go or know about it since her degree is in Women's Studies as well as Psychology. African Feminism. I have heard of this. There is a woman at Mills, Dr. Amina Mama, whom I have yet to meet.

Did I tell you I was moved? I washed clothes today and I have water all over the bedroom (smile). There is a tub in the new place. I don't know if I am taking a bath (smile). I took my first shower this morning. There is a mosque up the road. I think I will got to Juma on Friday.

Peace and Love.

Mama


From: TaSin Sabir

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Sounds good. have a good night. im in the theater now waiting for the movie to start. Sara and I are watching fast and furious 6.


From: Wanda Sabir

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 1:40 AM

To: TaSin Sabir 

Hope you enjoyed it (smile). I am going with one of the kids to Juma, I hope (smile). It drizzled last night a bit. It isfreezing here. I wish I'd brought jeans. Next time I certainly will while traveling in the winter in Africa.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 2:11 AM

From: TaSin Sabir
To: Wanda Sabir 

Have a good time at Juma. how was your birthday?


From: Wanda Sabir

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 6:19 AM

To: TaSin Sabir

Wow. You are up late. Juma was good. the Khutba was about Taqwa and how one has to live her faith. The women werereally nice. One sister, Khadijah, took my hands and spoke to me in English and Kiswahili. Hussein translated for us.

She invited me back next week. I might be back in time. If so, I will go again. I forgot to ask if I could take a photo withthem (smile). Most women wore black, the burka without the face covering. Others wore colorful wraps head andshoulders covered. There was a carpet covering the space between the two genders. We got the side that is on the floor,which means the men had the colorful side. I was tempted but resisted looking over the wall on the side to see how theother half lived (smile).

I almost nodded out (smile).

We got a ride to the mosque which was built by the Arab owners of the chicken factory which supplies chickens and babychicks to lots of businesses. Sister Khadijah works there. Before this masjid was built, people in the community had totravel to another city to pray. The muslim population is the minority here. Hussain said his mother and father bothconverted to Christianity. he and his two siblings, brother and sister are still Muslim. Today is not only the summersolstice, it is also the 12th day of

Shaʿbān

ن عشبا

, "scattered", marking the time of year when Arab tribes dispersed tofind water. In 18 days it will be Ramadan (smile).

I need to figure out when that is exactly. I think I will be in Zanzibar, which means I will be in a Muslim country during thisperiod. That should be fun.

My birthday was great. I think I sent you an email about that. Yes, I know I did. I responded to Bilaliyah and copied you(smile).

I am going to have people send copies of their letters of recommendation to the P.O. Box. I did not put a vacation hold onthe mail. I will do it later today or tomorrow.

I hope you are throwing away all the junk mail at the house.

Brother Pete's son took photos. I am going to see if he will let me copy them from his card on the camera. If so, I will sendyou a copy.

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir


From: TaSin

Fri, Feb 25, 2022 at 7:33 PM

To: Wanda Sabir 

Wow. You are up late. Juma was good. the Khutba was about Taqwa and how one has to live her faith. The women werereally nice. One sister, Khadijah, took my hands and spoke to me in English and Kiswahili. Hussein translated for us.

She invited me back next week. I might be back in time. If so, I will go again. I forgot to ask if I could take a photo withthem (smile). Most women wore black, the burka without the face covering. Others wore colorful wraps head andshoulders covered. There was a carpet covering the space between the two genders. We got the side that is on the floor,which means the men had the colorful side. I was tempted but resisted looking over the wall on the side to see how theother half lived (smile).

I almost nodded out (smile).

We got a ride to the mosque which was built by the Arab owners of the chicken factory which supplies chickens and babychicks to lots of businesses. Sister Khadijah works there. Before this masjid was built, people in the community had totravel to another city to pray. The muslim population is the minority here. Hussain said his mother and father bothconverted to Christianity. he and his two siblings, brother and sister are still Muslim. Today is not only the summersolstice, it is also the 12th day of

Shaʿbān

ن عشبا, "scattered", marking the time of year when Arab tribes dispersed tofind water. In 18 days it will be Ramadan (smile).

I need to figure out when that is exactly. I think I will be in Zanzibar, which means I will be in a Muslim country during thisperiod. That should be fun.

My birthday was great. I think I sent you an email about that. Yes, I know I did. I responded to Bilaliyah and copied you(smile).

I am going to have people send letters of recommendation to the house. I did no

Peace and Blessings,

Wanda Sabir

(510) 712-4015 mobile



More Reflections (Nigeria) 4/23/19 1:40 PM

I cannot say that everything everyone told me from the State Department which encouraged me to go anywhere but Nigeria to friends who had been there was not true. All I can say is that I had a charmed, blessed walk with a chief and Babaloa, Ifasola. The younger of the Ifasola brothers, he nonetheless had power which with my own, meant that we were untouchable (smile).

Though I fell in holes like those crypts which covered and buried alive my ancestors, suffered whiplash as drivers hit us not once but twice as we laughed as Yoruba drivers did a mock beg-dance for other drivers to let them pass . . . the journey to Oshogbo would have been enough, but then we add Ile Ife and Benin City and Ile Ife again and Oshogbo again, not to mention Bagdary, the port where Africans were held. The story of an enslaved man who returned from captivity and others was amazing.  Then to meet a decedent of this ancestor was truly living history. We arrived too late to go to the island on the canoe or see all of the galleries in the museum.

It was like this a lot. Traffic meant the driving time would take longer than the excursion. We were lucky often and ended up making the last tour, but not this time. The next day, it poured so we did not return. So on International Children's Day, when a lady in charge told us we could not come into the National Gallery without an invitation, to come back the following day, I knew that was not happening. We did not have time to back track since as I said, traffic was the larger monster haunting our footsteps. We fed the monster time, gas, humor . . .  but he was not appeased.

On our way back from Oshogbo we stopped at Abeokuta, a big rock city. I reminded me of Zimbabwe-- mysteriously magnificent.

Climbing Abeokuta to honor the ancestors and the deities of the rock mountains as we looked out on the town. I dared myself to climb the mountain. It was worth the effort, but I am happy the guides helped me up. I had on my new Keen hiking boots-- yes this is a commercial. Light and sturdy, I highly recommend these shoes. I have pair of sandals which are comfortable and waterproof. I bought the sandals a couple hears ago for Ghana.

The government put in a rail and a lift people can take (when it is working) up to the top. There are sacred places there which are off limits to visitors. I really appreciate the incorporation of African spirituality into everything-- everything is not for sale. This is something absent in American tourist sites-- we are not invited to offer a prayer, told stories of deities who live there. Of course such stories exist-- Mount Tamapalis has a mythical story-- how often do we think about it though when we look beyond the Golden Gate or Alcatraz? Mount Diablo . . . everywhere we look there is a story, there is a sacred lineage we interrupt with our building and pillage and plunder.

What is also cool is that the people, the villagers know these stories-- the spirit tales, whether they are the 221 or so orisa that reside in Ile Ife or Osun's Oshogbo. Orunmila, the pious man who received the Odu, the Ifa stories and liturgy planted the a coconut seed from which grew the Sacred Coconut Tree. Yes, the tree Wolf Hawk Jaguar tells us about in his film.  On the eve of the New Year, worshipers make the pilgrimage to the sacred city to make prayers at the 221 pots for the orisa. Kola nuts are read under the tree. People drink from the sacred well- an ocean that never dries up.

It is serious soul work-- Africans are concerned about how this life affects what is to come. We know there is only a veil separating the two.

I got a chance to visit two palaces-- the one in Ile Ife and Benin City. Next time I want to meet the Oni or King (smile).

A highlight was visit the Ifa Indigenous Temple in Lagos when the children led the service. It was impressive. Araba Agboola said that the youth who delivered the talk used his mannerisms. The girls led the choir and danced, while other boys played acoustic drums and traps.

Another highlight was hanging out in Osun Grove with the orisa-- they all have shrines there. I learned that most of the orisa have a corresponding town and river. When the white colonizers redrew the borders, several 1-deity towns became multiple deity towns.

Nigeria is quite different from Ghana.  Different energy entirely. However one aspect of African culture that is a constant between countries is the connection to spirit. There are churches and mosques on every corner. You can even catch religious shows on the radio--including Islamic rap music on Yoruba and Hausa TV.

In Nigeria, the colonial influence is seen in the intolerance for Ifa. There are prayer rooms at the airport for Muslims, yet indigenous spirituality is frowned on. Many Nigerians practice Islam or Christianity and Ifa.

In Ghana, Christianity seems to have swallowed residents whole and whoever was left is Muslim. I am kidding but indigenous spirituality is not as visible. I have not gotten to visit the country in either place yet, which gives a visitor an entirely different spin on a culture. Cities do not vary much from country to country. All cities look like New York, San Francisco, or LA. The former French colonies have a French flavor. Similarly, the English colonies look a bit like Boston (smile). However, when one leaves the city, this is an opportunity to see original architecture and unblemished artistry. Mali and Ethiopia was most impressive in the presence still of historic architecture.

I am not certain why the education is not up to standard or why graduates feel such is the case. Buildings in Lagos Village rival the skyscapers in downtown San Francisco.

I couldn't get over the KFC franchises attached to the more upscale malls. I didn't get to visit a mall in either country. Traffic was so horrific; it was do we get into it now and arrive a bit earlier or later. Also, the concentration driving meant for Ifasola was mentally taxing. I would not even attempt to drive anywhere in the Lagos suburban area.