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Diary of a thoughtful Girl series : Evening Tea

I just had a lapse into sweet reverie of younger days, when ‘ evening tea’ was something to look forward to after a harrowing 8 hours in school; period after period of dealing with different subjects and a medley of teacher’s personalities that left one feeling almost schizophernic what with echoed threats for unfinished work, promising of a beating and actual beatings, the dreaded ‘see me’s ‘, scribbled in that blood red bold ink, sniggering at hapless jokes, roaring unbridled laughter, lunch breaks with boring lunch food often consisting of boiled beans and posho and tea breaks of porridge or watered down milk tea, the ever consistent company of classmates with dizzying temperaments, naughtiness, and all round being a child who dreamed impatiently every day whilst wishing furtively of growing up and being independent of school or reliving it’s mundane script Monday to Friday – save for its glorious salvation – ‘evening tea’.

4:30 pm came around with the gnawing ache of hunger and it was such sweet sweet music to the tummy to get home to a table laid with two huge silver flasks ; one with hot hot milk, another with water cooked in tea leaves and spice, strained hot and smooth, a fresh warm loaf of bread ;soft ( my father always got them freshly baked from the bakery) sliced, butter and sometimes jam sitting in two separate containers- the occasional freshly squeezed cold orange and passion fruit juice and g-nuts in other containers sometimes queen cakes or other pastries. The dining table would be strewn with multicoloured plastic cups (we could not be trusted with the china), saucers, spoons and knives. The harsh day forgotten for thirty minutes or so, we dug in wholeheartedly; chomping on three or four slices of addictive warm bread slathered with butter and jam, stopping only when the stomach screamed ‘enough!

Satiated and refuelled, we dragged our behinds to the ‘after school’ corner and slew the dragon called homework with gusto. As I sit here in a little artistic coffee shop, a little nook, a creative’s haven, I think – can we do this again? Drop the vacillating work baggage at 5 pm and go gorge on some high tea, complete with spiced tea, bread so soft you eat more than your diet can handle- to refuel for the next psychotic work day?

 

 

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Thoughtful Girl

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Diary of a thoughtful girl series: When God is so EXTRA!

2017 was a year of many inventions far more conspicuous than The Wright Brother’s first attempt at flight, or the light bulb or…further back still to the famous math wiz Archimedes who upon making a phenomenal discovery we know as the’ Archimedes principle’ of  water displacement, oblivious and shamelessly jumped out a bathtub, butt naked, screaming ‘eureka!’ all the way home!

2017 on the other hand, far surpassed them all in the category of jargon/slang/… whatever you choose to call it. Social media was awash with memes about slaying, ‘slay queens’  who posed in loud attires that crossed between tacky and slightly inexpensive, their left or right leg jutting out and curving inward at an arch; there was the slay queen ponytail pose with the long tuff of hair tugged back giving the head and neck a sultry angle ; plum matte lipsticked lips parted slightly in what seemed like (pain? because pulling on that ponytail especially if you have fresh braids can be a nightmare!)

I then discovered a newer word; it felt like a word competition on who coins the best jargon there is in 2017, hence the birth of the word snatched ! Which I found nestling in caps lock amongst a sea of adoring comments on a picture I posted of myself trying to catch up with the ‘slay-age’ . At first, I wondered if the person meant my clothes looked identical to hers, hence I ‘stole’ her look.  But Google is my friend, and there in the urban dictionary did I find what had happened to the throne of  ‘on fleek’. Your guess is as good as mine, It is a new slang revolution out here!

We lived in a ‘Bye Felicia’ year,  where ‘No chills’ are given and those Bye Felicia Memes were a racquet, some of the best I ever saw. I would google oodles of them just for laughs. then the word ‘bae’ evolved (actually means poop in Dutch) but we use it to mean ‘babe’ lazy English speak is what it is but the theatrics of Salt Bae, upgraded this stinky word and placed it amongst our most cherished beloved indulgences and they all became ‘bae’. well, coffee is bae for me.

Wooing and courtship lost all meaning and are now translated into vibing, checking out and hooking up… wait that’s the 90’s…2017 hookup lines are ‘Slide into my DM,  nobody uses their phone faithfully to call anyone anymore, what with social media psssh! there is a new thing called ‘DM’ don’t get left behind.

Language is shrinking exponentially as well. I don’t know who will have time to read all this verbiage when I possibly could have found ways to shorten them into alphabetical letters that work, right? From ‘y, c u, af, ttyl, idk, wya’ and more…there is a need for a new concordance in the Merriam Webster to help us decipher these millennial codes, we might save the world a nuclear war.

Which brings me to my  own ‘eureka’ moment at the cusp of 2017 concerning another 2017 slang code word ‘Extra’ it’s just an under the top explanation for an over the top reaction/action- my term ‘extra ‘ has a better connotation to it than what it is… dramatic with a reason.

The urban dictionary says, it’s a person who is overly dramatic, way too up.

EXTRA!

We all can be extra, but I bet it’s in our DNA (If you take creation as gospel truth-pun intended)the first ever extra being is GOD. Seriously, going through the Bible from cover (and you might say its fairy stories) to cover, it becomes apparent that  God is so extra. I could point out everything from creation to parting red seas, to bringing down whole armies, to a beautiful garden to Jonah being swallowed by a whale to Noah and the ark and the flood to the dreams the prophets had, especially David and then the apostle John, to the heavenly creatures an their strange features- frankly things that can give you nightmares; to Jesus being conceived by a virgin, death resurrection and beyond. All Very, Very, Very Extra. If all the gods people worshipped were lined up according to the things they have done, Yahweh would be the platinum award-winning God of Extra-ness!

One of my favorite stories, in the book of Kings is about Elijah the prophet, who stands out as arguably the most unforgettable Prophets that displayed an ‘extraness’ of God that is undeniable amidst a fallen Isreal nation, lured by their rulers to worship other gods. No one knows where he came from and how he came but the moment his name was mentioned, Kings knew who he was and trembled. the particular most eventful ones of them all- I mean with Elijah, they all were- being carried away in a chariot of fire? now that is something else. Elijah did not just die, he was picked up like he was waiting for an uber and at the time his spiritual phone pinged, he was up and out in a woosh! like a VIP.

BUT the event I am talking about that literally everyone mentions when speaking of Elijah is the ‘Who-is-GOd faceoff challenge’

God was grieved by Isreal’s sin, first off they told him they did not want him to be King, they wanted human Kings, He said cool and now they had human kings but these kings were not being true to him and instead were turning the hearts of the Israelites to worship other gods. God was like, enough. Lessons need to be taught, who better to send than Elijah the Tishbe. Elijah goes and confronts King Ahab about this evil thing he is doing, hurting God’s feelings and leading his people astray but it seems everyone wanted to worship this small god Baal , so Elijah proposes a face-off  ‘ the who is God faceoff challenge’ It was going to be a showdown between 1 man -Elijah of Yahweh against 450 prophets of Baal. The rules of engagement were simple, right there, in the presence of the people and the King, they would have to prove who is God so the Israelites could worship that God for good.

One; each camp would be presented with a bull they would slaughter for the hour of sacrifice (there was morning, noon and evening)

Two; pray to their God to receive the sacrifice with the evidence of fire falling from the sky (heaven) and consuming the slaughtered bull

Everyone was in agreement. Fair deal , right? right.

Elijah let the Baal Worshippers start. These guys laid their sacrifice on the altar of Baal and started to call on him to rain fire from heaven. No answer.

They did this all morning.

No answer

elijah and baals prophets mocking

They proceeded to invoke incantations and spells and chants and cut themselves and still by noon, no answer. Baal was NO show. Elijah stretched out on a rock nearby and mocked them- asking if their God was sleep or on vacation or possibly taking a walk- as their fervent need for Baal to show up escalated to fever pitch. By the time of the evening sacrifice, it was clear, Baal had stood his prophets up.

No fire.

Worn out, dry-mouthed 450 bleeding prophets stepped aside when Elijah winked at them ‘my turn’

Now, this is when things get really extra!

Elijah took his time, rebuilt the altar for the worship of Yahweh, then slaughtered his bull, cut it up and placed those chunks on the altar, the same drill like Baal’s prophets-

But wait-

He turned things up a notch- built trenches leading away from the altar, then got a few people to fetch water and pour it over the altar and sacrifice, not once but thrice until that whole Altar area was drenched and soaked to the trenches. Then he got ready for the evening sacrifice.

Elijah stood before that super wet altar complete with super wet stones, super wet carcass chunks and called on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob -And God… hmmm…God, made a stellar entrance- that fire fell. hard!It not only consumed the carcass of the bull, but also the stones, lapped up the water in the trenches and even the sand around the sacrifice area!

burnt offering of elijah

Honestly how extra is that!

Now Slay queens and ‘snatched’ folk may try to acquire an extraness that possibly does not warrant fanfare but in God’s defense he made a point and stressed that he had done more than winning the ‘who is God faceoff challenge’ because he went the extra mile.

If smartphones existed then Elijah might have snap-chatted that event, had that on the ‘gram with the hashtag #My God Is Better than Yours #Bragging Rights #Extra-ness #God is Bae.

If you read the account though, Baal’s prophets were all murdered thereafter, I mean, who needs prophets of no-show-God. Read the story.

So the point was that word extra in this account is; bending over backward to prove your love for someone in the most unmatched way possible- and how I realized God has and will always be extra in showing us his love, correcting us and proving himself over and over that He is.

It will always be Extra-

Extra-Special

 

 

 

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Thoughful girl

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Diary of a thoughtfulgirl series: Clever little lies

Four months ago I emailed a mentor I looked up to for a recommendation. She never responded up until yesterday; her opening salutation being- ‘it seems my earlier response did not go through…’ I glossed it over in my response like it did not matter because I could not legitimize her claim. I even rationalized glitches in technology; what with messages constantly bouncing back or possibly sending it to the wrong email.

I just went with it.

Moments later, after I hit ‘send’ I contemplated her response and wondered if she had been telling the truth. It seemed more like an appropriate way to start a conversation after a deafening silence, without uttering those three crucial humble words, ‘I am sorry,’. Maybe it would not make sense and there would be the unnecessary explanation? Or then again I was simply being overly speculative.

Maybe so.

But isn’t this clever little lie something we have all fallen to? those lies we tell to pacify people and smooth over situations. these lies that bear no legal blueprint; elusive, very untraceable, unless the ‘utterer’ comes clean.

There are many examples of them- for example- you can call up someone who has clearly been avoiding you (on a different number) and when they pick up the phone, their first statement (after a slight gasp of yikes-I-have-been-caught! or not) is ‘I was just thinking of calling you! 

If you called them after they repeatedly told you they would call back and didn’t, putting you in the calling back position again for the umpteenth time and if you do get them, they might say something like this, ‘I did call you back,‘ However there is no missed call or voicemail message to verify that. so you waste a few minutes possibly going back and forth saying’ no you did not,’

‘Yes I did’

no you did not,’

‘Yes I did, well anyway now you have called and I answered, it doesn’t matter…’ or some such response.

It may not be those examples above, it might be, you decide to confront the lack of response and receive a response like this, ‘I did respond to your email, did you not get it? been wondering why you had not responded in so long,’

Taking a stab at your conscience and clouding your judgment simultaneously, you find yourself apologizing for something you possibly did not do.

Now it is hard to quantify the motives behind the responses because- it is ambiguous-It is as if with the advancement of technology, society has gradually become cowardly, less truthful, hiding behind electrons and byte size protons to deliver half-hearted messages on a mishmash of wiring.

no wonder we are forever buried in the bright screens of our gadgets-hiding our authenticity behind a cold unfeeling electro-intelligence-depending on it to take the punches of our slack, our bad behaviour.

We passed the buck.

We have sold our souls because… well, it is easier than dealing with the truth card, flicked out by life’s hand.

So when someone responds with an obvious excuse that seems patched up between the seams of truth and accountability hanging in that equivocal balance- a well oiled squeakless wheel- how do you respond in truth, without sounding paranoid and negative (as you will be accused)

You ponder on it a while because deep in your intangible gut, you know it’s a lie but whichever way you approach it, you might come off the loser. So …

you don’t.

You instead, turn that well oiled squeakless wheel and gloss over it with a matching untrue response denying yourself your own authentic disposition.

 

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Cred pic : Nicholle Kobi

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Paul’s top reads of 2017

Paul Cbrunson

As we come to the end of the year, If you are looking back to the goals you set at the beginning of the year and possibly feeling like you flunked that test, no worries I was not exactly an achiever in one department; reading. My goal was to read about 12 books this year, I fell short and have only read an average of 4. I am still trying to salvage my reading reputation in the next two weeks with a book or two but oh well… I reached out to entrepreneur, author, mentor, business person and tv host Paul C Brunson, the matchmaker you probably heard about? Who is now on to his next big idea, knowledge share. Paul is an avid reader reading 3 books per week! He really does!

So, considering his wealth of knowledge on books, I reached out to find out what his top books of the year 2017 have been so I can carry those forward into my 2018 reading list and it was quite an interesting mine of precious gems; take a look!

Mindset-by Carol Dweck. mindsetA book that defines different mindsets most people have; the fixed mindset are those people that don’t easily conform to change and hence are unsuccessful and unhappy over time. A growth mindset includes those people that welcome change and growth and allow it to influence their way of life over time. We need to work on our mindsets to succeed.

Willpower by Roy Baumeisterwillpower  -Great literature about the difference between people that take their talents or beliefs and do something with it and those who do not. It is all rooted in willpower development. Our willpower is strongest in the morning than it is in the evening, so it is important to start your day early with the most important things on your list of things to do as your priority.

influe Influence by Robert B Cialdini – Paul has read this book every day for three years and it has been a life changer. As a creator and business person, we learn that we are always trying to influence other people and there is a formula to influence people as laid out by the author. It is also a formula that is referenced by every business person and social media strategist. It is a valuable tool to harness to create your reach and influence.

Deep work by Carl Newport deep– This is a very important book for creatives. We live in a distracted world with so much information being hurled at us. it is what we call a knowledge economy and to succeed it is important to develop an effective strategy to live by. Developing a strategy could involve creating a repetitive action plan, for example, the comedian Seinfeld put up a chart and told himself he would write a little comedy script every day. For every day he did that, he checked it out on the chart with a big X, a system that allowed him continuance and repetition; never break the chain, allow it to become a part of your life. It is how we develop deep work versus shallow work

How to be a power connector by Judy Robinett judy–  if you have read Dale Carnegie’s how to make friends and influence others, you shall find this book a modern-day version of it. Paul likes this book because of the author, a phenomenal connector, started out from humble beginnings and developed great connect strategies for people who want to be great connectors. These are high-level strategies that all creators should use.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferrisstim -this is a breakdown of different successful creators and their success story. It is a great read because it maximizes on creators’ journeys and it will help start-up creators learn lessons faster and not reinvent the wheel. In this book is a stellar essay by Kevin Kelly, ‘1000 True fans’ that speaks on how to monetize as a creator.

Why should White Guys have all the fun by Reginald Lewis lewis– I would like to call this book Paul’s favorite book of all time, not only does it cover pretty much all the topics in the other six books named but it is also a golden oldie, written in the 90’s. ‘It is everything to me, this book.’ Paul says. He also noted that It is not only a book for black people, but all cultures and types of people can read it and empathize with the journey the writer took to success; allowing one to see through his eyes many minority people today going through their same success journey.

 

Waaaaiiiiiit… we are not finished yet!

Paul threw in a bonus, a book he believes is a great one for all creators and business moguls; Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter.brain As we go about our business we always forget the number one thing that keeps our money coming in…our brains. In this era, more children today have ADHD while more adults have dementia. Therefore, creators short-circuit their purpose in life because they neglect their health. It is important to position your brain for optimal use by checking our diet, extracurricular activities and exercise so we can think optimally. Position your brain for success too!

And finally, we had a little chill moment reflecting on the future…

Q: What are you looking forward to in 2018?

A: Being bolder with the content I produce, learning to go small ad deep, basically being more specific for a particular audience because the weakness of most creators is we go too large and try to please a wide audience which is not very possible. For impact and effectiveness, it is important to narrow your audience

Q: Who is your audience

A: I have been creating content for almost a decade now and I find that my audience is interested in leveling up, living the best life, not just the better life. They mostly come from humble beginnings and understand the world is bigger and needs to be impacted, they are, givers.

Q: Trivia: if you were stuck on a vampire Island for three nights and four days with only a book, matchbox, and a gun, how would you survive till rescue arrives?

A: I would sleep during the day because sleep is important. I would forage for food and build a shelter in the daytime as well. Utilize my daylight to gather my essentials and at night light a fire in my surroundings to keep vampires and animals away. I would use everything to keep the fire burning, from leaves, wood, clothes on my back…everything!

The struggle for survival is real, Happy Holidays Paul!

 

 

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Ode to Grasshoppers (Nsenene)

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It is the highly beloved delicacy, grasshopper (nsenene ) season in Uganda right now. When the rains fall, maize harvest is in bloom and so is grasshopper picking. Grasshoppers are so in season that you will not fail to find them at any street corner stalls, marketplaces, restaurants, in homes, the street lights by night, occasionally by day.
They are prepared in simple but varied ways; stir-fried, baked, dried out in the sun, in more recent times there are grasshopper sandwiches and burgers, its gone so far as to infiltrate the traditional ‘rolex’ ( Another delicacy which comprises of chapati with fried egg, veggies, and meat filling rolled into a sort of burrito).
Back in the 80’s when I was wee teeny thing, we did not have the distraction of social media or 24-hour television, so our restless little feet found their way outdoors most of the day, inventing way to fill our ‘t.vless’ hours with active games. As the grasshopper season drew closer, we anticipated staying out later into the night; an excuse to go grasshopper picking. October would dawn and we would eat maize to our heart’s desire in all preparation styles; roasted over a charcoal stove covered with a wire mesh, boiled overnight (we impatiently sauntered into the kitchen to check by sniffing into the air if they were even halfway ready. (I still don’t understand why they cooked overnight for hours, while the ones in America are ready in 10 minutes!) There were numerous stories invented to prevent us from stuffing ourselves with maize and grasshoppers; one I recall so well, possibly because it traumatized me was told of a man who loved maize so much he ate bagfuls for days during the harvest season, till one day he was found dead with a distended belly and a large grin on his face; he died happy and full of maize!
There was a similar story about grasshoppers but above all was the warning that we would have a running stomach if we ate too much. I never heeded those warnings.
Come the much anticipated November and excitement would fill the air with brown and green wings. The morning dew brought with it a mixture white ants and grasshoppers. when it rained, the veranda would be speckled with feathers and at times ants and grasshoppers injured by the downpour; they crawled into houses unabated, flew in through the windows in the night uninvited, tap-tapped on window sills in the dead of night; they let you know it was time; they were in season.
When the season approached, everyone geared up with translucent polythene bags, tins, plastic containers, anything big enough to hold grasshoppers plucked from their merry flying episodes, trapped to be fried later on. Usually different group of people would set out to scout the streets as the sunset (6:45pm-7pm ish) until late depending on how early you wanted to return home.
The best places to pick grasshoppers were by the street lamps lining the pavement and walkways of streets, suburbian neighbourhood lit paths or even your veranda if you had the security light on; It was nicer however and a lot more adventurous to go out in groups and pairs a little off from home and there they were easy to spot flying around the street lamps that were lined out for miles.
The earlier one got to particular street lamps, the better you laid territorial claim of it and watched the steady increase of grasshoppers circling the light with the ever-receding daylight.
We anxiously waited, watching; from time to time lunging for lone grasshoppers that flew low or in the mowed grasses around us. Sometimes we did not wait, we just jumped up as high as we could to pick those closest to our hands like hanging fruit, or we like patient predators watched for them to slow their flight and fall or drop levels and someone nimble enough would pounce on them.😅😆 We stuffed them in our various containers, tins or polythene bags and shut the lids tight or held on the neck of the bags to suffocate them in.
During the picking it was common to hear mixed constant cries of alarm, excitement or anger from the children mainly because a very fierce grasshopper was fighting for its freedom from the little eager hands and bit them or someone was skillfully filling their container faster than the rest of us or a territorial fight and argument broke out from different groups around the lamps, or playful jesting and fun as we worked our way to full containers.
We would jump and run and pounce on grasshoppers for hours!!! Screaming out our gains to each other from across the street.
The party almost always ended too soon,  when the adults came out looking for us, threatening us to go home because it was getting too dark; there was school tomorrow, dishes to do, homework untouched … a bunch of little people tasks to do basically. We, however, made an effort to go back with bagfuls and if we worked in groups we liked, we promised each other to be back the next night or whichever night to keep our grasshopper supply full. it was always advantageous to have more members in your household outside, grasshopper picking that way you are guaranteed so many grasshoppers for at least a couple of days.
When supply ran low, Our appetites would drive us right back out on the streets and at nightfall with our eyes trained upward by the street lights watching for those green and brown winged insects, we would wait in earnest for another exciting grasshopper picking event.
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Monday’s got a PR; Cherlisa Tarpeh

cherlisa

a passion to move

I actually work out; I go to this sports club that’s cool. It’s got more than just the treadmill and weights and elliptical bikes. They have the extra things that make it my choice of gym like…a pool …personal Personal trainers and the best part is the various classes …from cycling to yoga to body pump, body attack, barre one and my favourite…zumba! The fact that I can dance my way to fitness is as appealing as a scrumptious bar of dark chocolate with nuts in it.

I have always struggled with working out not because I like food but because I get bored easily, if a work out isn’t fun and it’s all about getting to the top of a hill on a run, I won’t be at it for long. But my Mondays Zumba is a must go, whether I am cramping like my uterus is putting up a ‘uterus lives matter’campaign or I am tired and been thinking about my bed since I woke up, because it is Monday (the best pick me up on a Monday ever by the way!) or it is plain raining. I shall pick my unwilling self, up and go to that class…10 minutes into it I am more than glad I showed up.

So instead of going on and on about my lack of ambition when it comes to working out, this gym and this Monday Zumba class, let me introduce you to the loverly Cherlisa Tarpeh (who has an awesome music collection for this btw and I intend to get a hold of!) who makes Monday Zumba class a most hyper fun active workout that leaves you looking forward to the next Monday  and the next one, and the next one… you get my drift.

If I were Monday, I would pay Cherlisa for making me likable!

Me: First off I can’t get over the fact that we have danced to about 12 songs with different choreography to them. How do you do it , honestly what inspired you to teach Zumba?

Cherlisa: Yeah, its hard work and it’s not easy coming up with the choreography but I have always loved to dance till in 2008 after attending a Zumba class, I told myself, I could do this too. So, I decided to become a Zumba instructor it was the ingredient of everything I liked and am; I am a middle child so I tend to be bossy and like to tell people what to do, instructing comes easy; I like to dance and have fun with it and I like to watch people enjoy it, they don’t have to be dancers to move, just move!

Me: Health Tips for women over 30?

Cherlisa: Do something you love so you can continuously keep doing it. my mom is an example I took her to a Zumba and she was frustrated at first but now she does like it; walking, however, is her thing so I encouraged her to keep doing it and she does. Walking is her continuous activity. I believe that when we find that thing that we like to do and is comfortable for us, we will not feel strained and pressured to do it and then give up. If we find an activity we love to do, it becomes a part of our routine.

Me: what does your Zumba class kit look like?

Cherlisa: Ummm…comfy gym clothes, definitely!

Sneakers, laptop and iPad in case one or the other breaks down; if I remember, towel  and bottled water (hard to remember it all when you come from your day job to the gym)

Me: (I never bring a towel, only remember when I am sweating profusely) Motivation statement for your life…your themed words? Put a beat to it too 😊

Cherlisa: Errrr…that’s hard, got many… (thinking) I am semi-spiritual so I believe in times and seasons for things and also that there is good and bad and even though something bad happens, there Is always a good that does come out of it.

Me: How do you pick your music, is it a uniform set of songs on a monthly rotation?

Cherlisa: Nope, I get bored easily so I don’t stick to a scheduled music list. Because I work its challenging to sift through a lot of music in the limited time to get a choreography planned out. It’s about 7 mins to my work and I utilize that time to listen to the radio and probably a song will hit me that I can add to my Zumba routine. I also pick them according to the basic rules of Zumba, there should be a warm-up, cool down, the in-between music that accelerates the workout and then decelerates to a cooldown, plus mix up the genres. I tend to go for music that’s got some flavor and attitude to it. I must like it!!

Me: How long does it take to prep for every song-choreography-wise?

Cherlisa: Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes, other times weeks, through the night and I might persevere with a song for weeks and drop it because it is just not working anymore. I like to go against the grain and do it differently, possibly why it takes extra effort to make my choreography unique and lots of fun. I also prep at times with Rhea (another Zumba Instructor) and that helps a lot!!

cherlisa dance

 

Me: How many classes do you teach?

Cherlisa: Two a week

Me: How long have you taught Zumba?

Cherlisa: Ummmm…5 years? Yes…five years.

Me: Do you instruct on any other fitness classes than Zumba?

Cherlisa: I’m actually a certified aqua Zumba instructor (here, I gasp) which I used to teach before the gym erased it due to the closure of swim lanes at night.  I also teach barre one, I’m a certified personal trainer but don’t do much with it.

Me: You should!

Cherlisa: Girl please, I got bills.

Me: I know that’s right. LOL. So seeing you get down like this in the gym what fitness/health tips you got?

Cherlisa: Eat veggies, at least it is something I do if I want to drop some pounds.

Keep it moving.

Be satisfied with little success, I think we should be happy with who we are and where we are.

Me: So what does your next 5-year blueprint look like in the health and fitness world?

Cherlisa: I don’t really have a plan set for the next five years but I would like to bring fitness to people who can’t afford it cheaply; communities that need it but don’t have 40 bucks to splurge on gym membership a month and don’t generally have healthy meals to go with.

Me: I think that is an awesome plan!

And maybe we should start a go fund me account to help Zumba instructor Cherlisa start up the biggest fitness plan for the less fortunate communities? How about that?!

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coils, curls and kinks…oh my!

There has been a gradual growing trend in doing the big chop and transitioning to the ‘fro for many black people; with the realization that it can actually be maintained using homemade products and others specifically geared to african hair on the market. More women are looking for solutions to maintain their mane without having to chemically process it, due to the effects of processing over a long period of time; with more education on how best to  maintain the ‘fro, Women like Kyomm Aman are pioneering this awareness with her facebook page Natural hair UG and her Blog, natural hair

I caught up with her and we had a chat;

 

cover natural hair ug

Q:  What was your own testimony (Natural Hair Journey)?
A: I had zero control over my relaxed hair care. As a result, my relaxed hair had cycles of thriving and severe breakage. I’d wanted to wear it in a short bob but got a lot of resistance from family and friends. One day, while living abroad, I saw a friend who’d recently cut her hair sporting a cute hairstyle. My curiosity got me directed to YouTube to search for “TWA”(Teenie Weenie Afro). Several weeks later, I was educated enough to make my decision to let my hair recover from the bad spell. I transitioned for a few days and went to a salon for a big chop.
Q:  There is a story behind you promoting the Natural hair look. Please do tell.
A: I’d been natural for about a year when my husband and I returned home. The first reactions I got towards my hair were from my mom… she was initially perturbed as to why my hair was not combed and in place as it used to be when relaxed. She is cool and came round eventually.
Then I realised that I was turning heads… at the market, supermarket, roadside, name it… heads turned. I’m relatively conservative in my hair styling so it shocked me to realise that my hair was attracting that much attention … Then came the questions “how do you get your hair to curl like that?”, “how come your hair is so soft? “ and the comments “you must have good genes, nice hair, a good salon, a texturizer…”
I was always happy to help but it was difficult to discuss the techniques and expect others to automatically understand them when natural hair care was essentially a foreign and grey area to them. I had to bear in mind that not everyone had easy access to YouTube videos as I previously had. That was the birth of the Natural Hair UG blog – it was my way of answering all the questions and helping others to know that anyone and everyone could have natural hair if they chose to.
Q. Why do you think it’s important for an African woman to maintain a natural look (hair)?
A: There are so many reasons why an African woman would choose to grow natural hair: to embrace her hair as God created it, to follow a trend, to take charge of her hair, to know what helps her hair thrive, to regrow damaged hair, to recover from hair loss / treatment, to do whatever tickles her fancy, to not let anyone tell her what her hair can or can’t do, to empower other women, to not conform to the set standards, to enlighten clueless rude men… I could go on and on…
I think it’s important for any African woman to maintain a natural hair look if that’s her journey of choice. No one forced me into wearing my hair in its natural state, and I shouldn’t have to force anyone else.
Q. Would you encourage an African woman to do the big chop and maintain her natural locks?
A: Big chopping is not the only way to go natural. Transitioning is a popular alternative.
A big chop is a very personal and bold decision that may not suit every personality. I did a big chop, but I also lived in a foreign country where no one cared what any one looked like or did.
I had a courtesy chat with my husband about the decision I was making and literally had to beg the African salon lady to cut my relaxed hair.
The reactions to my big chop were priceless, including my own. I’d last had short hair in Primary 7 and I didn’t look like my 12 year old self anymore. Nothing prepared me for that!
Q. What natural beauty care advice would you give for the busy career woman?
A: Embrace hairstyles that require minimal maintenance/manipulation and last for more than a couple of days e.g. 2 week protective styles, buns, roll-tuck-and pin updos, bantu knot outs, twist outs and lots more.
Secondly, have your hair care scheduled like the rest of your activities. Have a set day for hair care and stick to your schedule. If that means going to a salon to save time, do that.
Lastly, take keen note of the acceptable general dress code and hair styles in your work place and adopt it to your natural hair. Natural hair can be professional.
Q. What is the vision for Natural Hair UG Facebook page?
A: To show anyone who is interested that Afro textured natural hair can grow, to help each other in the natural hair journey, to provide visual inspiration, to provide tutorials through the Natural Hair UG blog, to help people appreciate the various textures of Afro textured natural hair and to promote Ugandan-grown talent/businesses in the natural hair arena.
Q. What are the basic things a woman should have in her hair care kit?

A: A wide tooth comb, a spray bottle, a satin cap/scarf, hair ties/clips/clamps, a good attitude and a ton of patience.

 

So how about transition, huh?