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In honor of refugees – Home by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

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Four Great Cookbooks for Afro-Vegans & Vegetarians

If you’re anything like me, the hardest part about permanently committing to a vegetarian lifestyle is giving up favorite foods – American soul food, Caribbean cuisines, and African dishes.  Sure, I can load up on collard greens (sans the meat flavoring) and sweet potato souffle, but there are so many other dishes I gave up because I don’t know how to prepare them without using meat. 

In my struggle to remain a vegetarian and (once) attempt a vegan diet, I’ve fallen short many times. But recently I found a few great books to help me in my journey. I hope that sharing my finds may help our readers who have similar goals. We hope this list is useful and please don’t be shy about sharing you recommendations or tips with us!  It takes a village to raise a vegan/vegetarian 🙂

 

 1) The Vegan Soulfood Guide to the Galaxy by Aya Ibomu

This book is more than just a cookbook, it’s a lifestyle guide to help new vegans learn where to shop, how to plan meals, understand restaurant menus and simply eat healthy.  This is a must-read for those even considering a dietary change. 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegan-Soulfood-Guide-Galaxy/dp/097700922X

 

 2) Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry

Soul food doesn’t have to be greasy and loaded with meat. It can be fresh, healthy and also taste amazing. This wonderful cookbook will help you think outside of the box and eat flavorful comfort food without compromising your health and nutrition goals.

http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Soul-Kitchen-Creative-African-American/dp/0738212288/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

 

 3) Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry

Another vegan cookbook by acclaimed Afro-Vegan Bryant Terry.  Here you will find recipes from Africa and the Diaspora with a creative and delicious vegan twist. This is a great book to add to your culinary rotation if you’re getting bored with traditional American vegan recipes. 

http://www.amazon.com/Afro-Vegan-Farm-Fresh-African-Caribbean-Southern/dp/1607745313/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

 

 4) Vegetarian Soulfood Cookbook: A Wonderful Medley of Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Recipes Inspired by the Southern Tradition by Dawn Marie Daniels and Imar Hutchins

This cookbook will convince any nonbeliever that you can maintain the same delicious soul food flavors you grew up eating without using meat or unhealthy ingredients. The cheese grits and sweet potatoe pie recipes are my favorite but there are so many recipes here I am itching to try. 

http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Soul-Food-Cookbook-Wonderful/dp/0964128454/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427654823&sr=1-3&keywords=Vegetarian+soul+food+cookbook

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Stories of Reconciliation: The Genocide in Rwanda (20 Years Later)

April marks 20 year’s since the Rwandan Genocide in which an estimated 1 million Rwandans (mostly Tsutsi) were murdered in a four month period.  In remembrance of this atrocity, the New York Times released an article “Portraits of Reconciliation”, containing photos and stories of perpetrators and victims who are attempting to regain peace, forgive, and be forgiven.  The photos and stories are haunting but a powerful example of the strength and resilience of which human beings are capable.  This is a must read:  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/06/magazine/06-pieter-hugo-rwanda-portraits.html?ref=world&_r=3

Also check out this compelling short film entitled “Let The Devil Sleep” by Alan Whelan, Eoghan Rice and Elena Hermosa that documents four haunting stories of reconciliation 

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Traveling While Black

  

I’m leaving on the next plane/I don’t know when I’ll be back again…

–Yasiin Bey, “Travellin’ Man’

We are headed to France for the week. For me it will be a working vacation; for her, it will be a working vacation, but of a different sort. While I will be attending a philosophy conference, she will be teleworking from abroad. This trip, and its working significance for both of us has me reflecting back on a conversation we had once about the idea of writing a travel guide, “traveling while black.”

This idea came about after we discussed our separate experiences abroad and juxtaposed that with discussions we have had with our peers.  The great joy many white Americans take in traveling, generally, and especially traveling ‘home’ to the European continent is often not met with the same fervor of excitement for black Americans. And, when it is, the joy is an imagined space of ‘seeing the world’, a joy (that is) met, frequently, with the reality of an ambiguous ambivalence that only the term ‘history’ can begin to describe. This is the ‘history’ that often the notion of ‘travel’ and the meaning of ‘traveling’ is understood alongside that of being received abroad, not solely as American, but as an American of a special sort. There is often a state of indecision as to how you might be traveling; the often invisibility within the hyper-visibility of tourism; and, then, the experience of historical discontinuity of what it means to be black and traveling, freely amongst the world. James Baldwin once noted in his essay, “Stranger in the Village” such an ambiguous ambivalence of the meaning of history and ‘traveling while black’. He wrote, “the cathedral of Chartes says something to them which it cannot say to me.”

I hope to discover something new during this trip  but I, at the same time, discover that I am discovered in this world.  I take solace, however, in that I will not be alone; and that I will be ‘traveling’ with someone who is also discovering the world anew and also ‘traveling while black’.

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Re-Blog: Love It or Hate It

Thanks to @lifeofafemalebibliophile for posting these questions!

Check out her link below: http://lifeofafemalebibliophile.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/book-tag-thursday-love-it-or-hate-it/

1. Biggest literary let-down?

– Toni Morrison’s long awaited comeback: Love, A Mercy, and Home 😦

2. Books that you liked that other people hated?

  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett

3. Best Quotes?

Not sure if these are my absolute favorites, but the below (afro-lit) quotes have been on my mind lately:

“This was love: a string of coincidences that gathered significance and became miracles”- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

“Love is like the rain . . . if you’re not careful it will drown you.” – Edwidge, Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory

“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” – Toni Morrison, Jazz

4. Worst Quotes?

Stumped on this one . . . sorry!

5. Books you didn’t finish?

I simply could not get into it…

    • The Kite Runner

***ducks for cover***

6. What book have you read the most times?

Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (3 times . . . and it’s better each time)

7. Series where the first book was amazing but went downhill from there?

I was crazy about the Left Behind series when I was in high school.  I read the first four and then abandoned the brand :-(.  The made-for-tv movies are even worse.

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The 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes Longlist Announced

Shoutout to KinnaReads for posting great content. Check out this year’s best in African Children’s literature:

Kinna Reads

Golden Baobab Longlist

The longlist for the 5th Golden Baobab Prizes were announced on August 30th, 2013.

Nanama B. Acheampong, coordinator of the Golden Baobab Prizes says,

“Golden Baobab is really excited about this year’s stories and we are looking forward to growing further by publishing a collection of these amazing stories we have received. We are currently looking to partner with corporations that share in our vision to bring these stories to the doorsteps of African children everywhere.”

So, if you know of companies that are interested in stories for African children, please do pass along the name of Golden Baobab.

The shortlist and the winners will be announced on October 30th and November 13th respectively.

Now to the longlist.  (Summaries of longlisted stories and biographies of writers are available on the Golden Baobab Website):

—————–

Longlist for the Picture Book Prize

Carol Gachiengo – Grandma Mimo’s Breakfast (Kenya)

Mandy Collins…

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