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Maui or Bust!

Arghhh (or however you spell the sound of frustration). Ok…so I was sitting on the couch one Sunday about 4 weeks ago, bored. I decided to catch up on old emails I never got around to, and what do I find…a link to a writing workshop in Maui. My palms got to tingling, I felt fear and just like that I knew I had to go…with no research, no vetting and no figuring out a single solitary thing. I paid for the trip.

Fast-forward to today. I leave for the trip TOMORROW and the problem is I still haven’t figured out a thing. And what has my stomach in a knot right now is I have no idea how I’m going to get from the airport to the frigging resort. The coordinators suggested a rental car…I looked into it  (like just now) and the cheapest I see will cost me $537 for the week. I don’t want to pay that. I am not paying that. Next I looked into an airport shuttle service. I called. They answered and then transferred me to the Hawaii office we’re I got a recording telling me the number has changed and if I want to sign up for new Dish service please press 1. Next option: Uber. I signed up for an account. It looks like they are in Maui. Only thing is they do not take reservations and who even knows if my phone app will work on the island.

I’m still hunting and trying to figure it out…but at this point it looks like I will be in a Maui airport begging kind strangers for a ride. Cross your fingers for me.

Water Water Everywhere: My One Goal for Jamaica

Ok…it is almost 5 in the morning. 3 hrs and 50 mins before my flight to Jamaica. I wanted to lose 5 lbs in about 18 days for this trip. I did not. But I did lose 2 strong pounds. I know these pounds were strong because they stayed consistent day after day. I think New York is where I went wrong. It turned into something like a Real Foodies of NY tour. Oh well. I just won’t be wearing a bikini because, uh, see, the way my body is set up…

In any event, today I will be in Jamaica before noon and on this trip I have one goal only that I will achieve….Get Wet! That’s it…plain and simple. This time around I will embrace the water.

Normally, my Jamaica script goes a little something like this: “Okay, I’ll get in the water but only up to my waist. I just got my hair did. Not messing it up.”

So for about the first 5 days…I will not submerge my head under anybody’s water. Even when we go to some of the most amazing waterfalls God’s ever invented…my head is staying dry. And guess what, I’m frigging Natural so this really doesn’t even makie good logical sense especially being that one of the biggest reasons I went natural was so that things like water would never ever be a deterrence. When did my black girl gene of avoiding water to the head at all cost kick in again?

Well this trip, this time…I will be wetting my hair on day one. Matter of fact, I got my hair done for a my trip a FULL week before going on my trip so that I’m not tempted by the allure of ‘just got my hair twisted’ sleekness. This is my goal. This is my only goal…to be wet and wild and fancy free in the simply beautiful island of Jamaica!

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I did not get my hair wet on a boat

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I did not get my hair wet in a waterfall

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I did not get my hair wet in ancient Mexico

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I did not get my hair wet even when we paid a trillion dollars for this pool surrounded room

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I did not get my hair wet in the rains of Key West, Fl.

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And I did not get my hair wet at this beach either!

The Night I Became a Photographer – the each other’s dream exhibit

I had no idea that the commitment I made to travel to Ghana and work in a small village would have any other impacts outside of the choice I made to sponsor one child’s tuition to high school.

So I went and I did what I do whenever I travel (or go to the store, or go anyplace that may turn out to be slightly interesting)…I took pictures. Lots of them. For my own personal photo-diary and enjoyment.

I had no idea that a picture I took simply because it was interesting and cool and deep would turn out to be good enough to be displayed on a wall in a real live art gallery. I am a writer, I’ve long-since decided. I am not a photographer. A crazy picture-taker, yes. But a crafter of pictures, no.

But alas, here I am…with something I created being called art and within an hour of the reception opening that picture sold and it has me rethinking my place on this planet. Am I a writer…without a doubt.  But perhaps I am more than that. Perhaps I am a creative contributor to life and writing may not be the only medium I get to experiment with (come to think of it, I did go through this crazy painting phase once). Yeah…I think I like the idea of that…bouncing around this planet and just creating whatever I am inspired to create whether it be with a pen, a pencil, a crayon or a camera. And Hey! Whatever I create just may end up on somebody’s wall.

Thank you Ghana for that gift. Thank you Ghana for opening up another version of me …bold and wild and free within this world.

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Me and My Picture

Me and My Picture

My Friend Juan, Not only did he come out to support the event, he purchased my picture, and donated $5000 to LEAP!

My Friend Juan, Not only did he come out to support the event, he purchased my picture, and donated $5000 to LEAP!

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Kwame Alexander, co-found of LEAP and the Queen Mother of Konko Village, Juanita Busybee Britton

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The LEAP for Ghana Board of Directors and Juan Gaddis making his generous donation

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The Exhibit will be in Herndon Virginia from Aug 26 – Sept 7

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I love these pieces!

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The Attendees


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This is a L.E.A.P. for Ghana event!

Losing 5 Pounds is Hurting My Back

The weekend was kind to me. Did an 8am yoga class on Saturday and Sunday; ate fairly well ~ My reward: I am 1 pound lighter. Hit another class on Monday after work and went down another pound. HOWEVER, my back is on fire. I can’t bend, can barely walk and the horse gel my mama got me is doing nothing for it.

About a month ago, I hurt my lower back by pushing myself too hard in yoga. So I backed off and didn’t practice for a month. My back felt better…so I went back to class knowing I wanted to lose 5lbs. I felt some initial stiffness and decided to just take it easy. However, yesterday I lost my mind. Knowing my back was sore I was just feeling myself in the class. I pushed myself and felt like a complete boss when the class was done. I seemed the more I pushed myself the better my back felt.  I went home and immediately got into the hot tub to try and soak out some of the soreness. But today…no…my back is not having it. It hurts to laugh and sneezing feels like I’m breaking my spine in half. I’m walking at the pace of a 90 year old lady.

But I am soooo close to my goal. 3 more pounds to go. I’m sucking it up and going to Bikram yoga class tonight, even if it means I just lay there for 90 mins.

Out of 26 Poses I will NOT be doing These:

  1. The 3rd piece of Half Moon (the backward bend)
  2. The 1st part of Awkward pose (something about tooting my butt out really wrecks havoc on my lower back)
  3. Standing Head to Knee Pose – I cannot bend my spine enough to grab my foot
  4. Balancing Stick Pose – something about reaching my arms up and bending forward on one leg realllllly hurts my back
  5. Standing Separate leg Stretch and Standing Separate Leg head to knee will be modified…anything that involves my back and bending is just not working for me right now…I climb down my legs to reach the floor
  6. No sit ups!
  7. No Locust pose!
  8. Fixed Firm pose…no
  9. Half Tortoise …again modified

Well dang, after all is said and done it looks like I will pretty much be laying in the class and sweating like the moving sauna it is. Here’s to another pound down.

My Photo Will Be in an Exhibit!

So I feel this makes me a photographer. You can’t tell me nuffin! So here’s the thing. I am trying to embrace (and get back to) my Just Say Yes life. I said yes to going to Ghana (though I was concerned about if I had enough vacation time, if I was going on too many vacations, and if the needle I had to get would hurt). I went and I did what I do ~ took a million and 39 pictures ~ and just like that one of my pictures will be featured in an exhibit in Herndon, Virginia…come on out and see it 😀

Each Other’s Dreams:

Konko Village Through Image and Word

Check it out:

ArtSpace Herndon –  Join us Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 7 to 9 p.m. for a very special Each Other’s Dreams: Konko Village Through Image and Word Opening Reception at ArtSpace Herndon. Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel will present proclamation to special guest Queen Mother Nana Botwe Adobea II of Konko Village. Author Kwame Alexander and photographer and filmmaker Kenneth Braswell will share some of their experiences in Konko. Leap for Ghana Executive Director Lindsay Alexis will talk about the foundation’s impact on the children of Konko. Poet Nikki Giovanni will read an original poem about Konko.

Through Each Other’s Dreams: Konko Village Through Image and Word, ArtSpace Herndon presents a very special exhibit of the people, places, customs, and life in Konko, a small village in Ghana, West Africa, as told through the photographs, carvings, and writings of photographer and filmmaker Kenneth Braswell, poet Nikki Giovanni, literacy artist Caroline Brewer, photographer Carla D. Blackwell, master wood carver Daniel B. Aryeety, writer Tinesha Davis and author Kwame Alexander.

“What I tried to do with this exhibit,” says Kwame, “was show that even though these children and families are in Ghana, they smile like us. They work like us. The challenges they face are fixable. And that’s why we started LEAP. Like Nikki Giovanni says, ‘Life is a lot more fun when you’re giving.’.”

Exhibitors will donate proceeds from the sale of the photographs and sculptures in the show to the Nikki Giovanni/LEAP for Ghana Scholarship. The scholarship provides tuition, housing, and fees for students in the village of Konko to attend high school, which costs upwards of $1000 per annum in Ghana.

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5 Reasons Why Things Will Be Better After I Lose 5 Pounds

  1. This [designer] romper [that I got at Kiki  Clothing in Ghana] will fit so much better…right now it’s kind of a c_ _ _ _ie cutter.
    Romper Action
  2. There will be less thigh cellulite, b’lie’e dat!
  3. When I walk, my shorts will not bunch up in the middle Ride Up Action
  4. 5 pounds gone means a portion of that will come from my belly region…Yes!
  5. I will be this [___] much more comfortable frolicking around a jamaican beach in nothing but spandex material that’ll cover my torso region (a little above and a little below).

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Journal:

Day 3 ~ It was a toss up between an 8pm yoga class directly after work or rest. I chose rest. Bite me!

But hey…I didn’t eat honey buns and bon bons so that has to count for something. Slept well. Gained a pound. Quit. Then Started again.

Day 4 ~ Did well. My Yacon Syrup came in so my energy is on 10 and my cravings are on 3 and I hit a 4pm Yoga class. Lost the 2 lbs I gained. After yoga class I was down another pound but don’t get excited…that’s just all the sweat I left on the yoga floor.

21 Things I Learned in Ghana ~ a leap for ghana experience

  1. Flying to Ethiopia first was not sexy. Yo, it took 12.5 hours to get to that sucker, flew straight over Ghana and then took 6 hours to fly back to Ghana.

    Airport Waiting

    Airport Waiting

  2. But I am gangsta! I can fly 12 hours like a champ and only have to pee AFTER the first 10 hours. What!!!
  3. Ghana was not Africa hot. The average temp was a breezy 75 degrees.
  4. Bug repellant should have a deet above 25 but below 70. Anything less is just playing with the bugs and anything more will keep the bugs away but will also poison you.
  5. Contrary to popular American beliefs, African men weren’t studying me.

    Strong Backs; No Play

    Strong Backs; No Play

  6. African movies are pretty good and culturally informative. On the plane I watched Married but Living Single and The Village Boy I Love. Hmmm, I wonder if Africans liken these movies to trash TV or African Exploitation (much like the Black Exploitation films of the 70s)?
  7. In Ghana, meals are made fresh (at least at the places we went), so order your food at least an hour before you are hungry. It’s going to take two hours before it hits the table. (I may or may not be exaggerating).
  8. Tis true…we are all kings and queens in Africa! Every dollar converted to 3.60 cedis…you pretty much quadruple your money, how could you not afford to be royalty?
  9. The Arts Center was worth the shopping experience. There was amazing art and carvings to be had…clothes, not so much.

    That About to Shop Twirl

    That About to Shop Twirl

  10. For clothes, stick with the Accra Mall…they have amazingly affordable boutiques such as KiKi’s. The Mariner mall, though a little more pricier, is a good option too…hey since you are now royalty, with your new found riches, you can afford it.
  11. Speaking of KiKi’s…it is owned by the beautiful Titi Ademola and her designs are worn by celebrities such as Nicole Ari Parker and a million and thirty-nine beautiful African women. Google it, you’ll see. And yup I am now the proud owner of a cute little romper.

    The Designer and The Queen

    The Designer and The Queen

  12. Ghanians speak English. With 70 different tribal groups (all with their own dialect/language) and 11 different gov’t sponsored languages (that means there’s a whole lot of pig latin and gullah not even being recognized), in order to understand one another, they had to pick a universal language. English was it. A cab driver told me there were 146 languages spoken there.
  13. W.E.B. Du Bois went to Ghana to work on the Encyclopedia Africana. He was 93. While there is passport expired and the US refused to renew it. He expired at 95 and is buried in Ghana.

    Chilling with Du Bois

    Chilling with Du Bois

  14. I really wish the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture would have held some of his furniture. It would have also been really cool if that stain on the rug would have had a cool story to go behind it as well. 
  15. Rita Marley lives in Ghana…and is known as Nana Afua Addobea. We drove past her home in Aburi. The Rita Marley Foundation is ran from Accra.
  16. Ashesi University is the bomb! This university serves Africa in educating the next generation of African Leaders…student body: 602. Countries Represented: Benin, Britain, Cameroon, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Equitorial Guinea, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, United States of America, Zambia.

    So Zen

    So Zen

  17. It felt so good and so affirming to see that nearly all the billboards and advertisements in Ghana featured beautiful dark skinned women. Such a contrast to the American fixation with exotic, light skinned and ambiguously ethnic ladies. Or as my one friend would put: America’s love affair with tawny skin and crinkly hair.
  18. Slavery is America’s heritage. African’s are not taught slavery in school. What they know is some people were taken but they do not know what happened on the other side of the water. One lady said that when she’d see Americans visit the slave castles and cry, she couldn’t understand the reason why. There’s a disconnect. The slave is my ancestor, not theirs.
  19. Visited a Kente weaving factory and learned that it takes 1 full day to weave a scarf…uh didn’t learn what size scarf it was that took a day.

    Brothers Getting Their Sew On

    Brothers Getting Their Sew On

  20. Shito (a black pepper sauce) is some hot a$$$$$ stuff, and just like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, they put that sh*t on everything!
  21. Lastly, unlike America, Ghanaians must pay to go to high school. With tuition being upwards of $1000 per year, this is something that most who live in the villages cannot afford. 8th grade is the highest level they reach in education. LEAP for Ghana has a mission: to use innovative literacy, school improvement, and girls’ empowerment programming to expand educational opportunities and to strengthen communities in Ghana. This trip, 12 graduated 8th graders from Konko village were presented scholarships that will cover their high school education. I was honored to have played a part in making this goal happen…it would be so cool if you’d take a look at playing a part too 🙂 

For more pictures of my Ghanaian experience, check me out on facebook: Tinesha.Davis

Special shout out to LEAP for Ghana and Queen Nana Botwe Adobea II of KONKO Village for making this journey possible