Motorcycle Diaries / Tanzania


Well Im in Arusha, Tanzania as ya'll know! And I had an opportunity to visit with the O'Neals (Mama Charlotte and Mzee Peter) along with the folks of the Maji ya Chai village (where the Universal African American Community Center or UAACC is located). I have SO much to tell and share with you all (for different reasons cuz Ive built with you all on different subjects). Yet, I feel like this group email kind of covers a lot of what we've all chatted about one time or another.

I also had an opportunity to meet (briefly) Mzee Ji Jaga (Geronimo Pratt). What was so dope about the whole thing was how these Elders are working EVERYDAY for many of the same things WE work for, but yet it seemed like there whole vibe was different, you know? I mean for all intents and purposes it might as well be futuristic. Its THAT important and THAT forward and on such another LEVEL. Ive heard many (namely you Mel) RAVE about the UAACC but when I actually saw it, and stayed there, I was just truly in awe. I mean we even worked in their studio and recorded a song. It was THAT live!

My point is, I honestly feel like I got a taste of what IT (our destiny, future, legacy) could be! I feel like in the States there are so many unnecessary struggles that we're faced with, which make our lives so burdened and weighed down. And we KNOW that thats not how life HAS to be, but for me anyway, its been difficult to articulate what it COULD be like or maybe SHOULD be like, you know? Cuz I couldnt envision it myself...

I remember when I got my first taste of Marcus Garvey and I thought ahhhh BRILLIANT! And even in my travels, visiting other places in Africa my mind was just broadened even MORE by the depth of the past and present of African people...

but I still couldnt SEE it! What it looked like anyway, for REAL for real!

Coming to Tanzania though, its PLAIN! So plain, in fact, that its not even funny!

I think about the parables of Exodus and Im like hmmm...where IS this promised land! We went North, and it wasnt there...but i feel like it REALLY is EAST!

And in the story, I know that the so-called Israelites grumbled and complained ON THE WAY, because things SEEMED more difficult, but in FACT they were getting FREE! And in GETTING free there was the transition period (struggle). But of course in the promised land, there was a'plenty!! lol!
I aint saying Ive SEEN the promised land necessarily, but on the realest things that i know to be true, I seen something damn near close to it! And its blowing my mind! Straight up!

And the significance of this region too, since the South/East/Central region of Africa is the cradle of civilization, humanity and all of the other brilliant aspects of life on Earth. It is certainly as close to KUSH (Eden) that ive seen (so far of course!).

And not to romanticize it either because this place is still in a transition of its OWN, so its no picnic, you know?

But the sense of well being, the SENSE of peace that these Elders displayed was just priceless! I mean having been through ALL that they've been through and yet, they just were so welcoming and at peace. And it made me think about how the constant oppression of our humanity just makes life so unnecessarily hard in the States for no good reason. And half the time the real treasures of life have to fight to have room amongst the foundation of our troubles: Our Blackness! And yet, here in Tanzania (for example), Blackness just IS, and folks go on about their business of doing OTHER things! Working and struggling too, but without having to defend the most natural part of themselves: their BLACKNESS! And that is priceless, no money can buy that sense of well-being.
And that was the most profound impression that I got from visiting with these Elders and seeing the work that they do. They are just BEING. And they can lend their talents and abilities to way more important things. And have been QUITE effective in doing so, might i add! And all of the parania and stress and madness that goes on in the States, that we have to deal with just becomes SO obsolete here. Its completely unnecessary HERE....there's no space for it because there's no NEED for it! And more so because they were born in the States, and have worked consistently in the the fight for liberation, and to me would be the perfect example of how America could either make or break you...and there mere existence testifies to the fact that it IS possible...that one can actually break free and find a PLACE somewhere!

And that TOO has blown my mind!

Yup. just thought Id share some of my thoughts with ya'll...course we got much more to chat about and do and normally i'd wait to do so in person but I figured I'd use this opportunity now...its the first time in a LONG time Ive REALLY felt encourgaed! Like there CAN be an end to it...or at least a real strong move towards the NEXT step...
yeah the next step...thats what I think it is (or one of the next steps anyway!)

: D

luv ya'll!

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by Stephanie Tisdale

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