Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Still I Rise

Shattered, but I'm not broken
Wounded still time will heal
Heavy the load the cross I bear
Lonely, the road I trod I dare
Shaken, but here I stand
Weary, still I press on
Long are the nights, the tears I cry
Dark are the days, no sun in the skies
Yet still I rise
Never to give up
Never to give in
Against all odds
Yet still I rise
High above the clouds
At times I feel low
Yet still I rise
Sometimes I'm troubled
But not is despair
Struggling, I make my way through
Trials they come to make me strong
I must endure, I must hold on
Above all my problems
Above all my eyes can see
Knowing God is able
To strengthen me...

Yet still I rise
~Yolanda Adams

Monday, October 1, 2007

From 20:80 to 2025...

-Found this in the local Swazi newspaper this morning...I did the math, and it seems like I wont exist after 2025. Hehe, no worries. I definitely plan for this NOT to happen. :-)

No Swazi adults by 2025!


MATSAPHA – The National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA) has urged government to act quickly on HIV and AIDS as it is predicted that by 2025, Swaziland will have much fewer adults over 35. A study has found that the structure of the population will change, leaving fewer older women and men and a much younger nation because the older people are dying.

It was announced on Thursday that provisional 2007 Swaziland Population and Housing Census results showed that the total population of Swaziland was now 953 524 people.

In 1997, the total population was 929 718 people.

Out of the slightly more than 953 000 people, the census results show that at least 493 026 are female. Only 460 498 are men.

NERCHA director Derek von Wissell said Swaziland’s position on population was an incredible one because too many men and often the wrong ones were dying.

He made the observations at the S and B Restaurant when he briefed the parliament Select Committee on HIV/AIDS on Friday. He said it was disheartening that the life expectancy of many a Swazi had dropped to 31 from 61 years in the last five years.

He noted that the country was above the emergency threshold, describing the situation as a disaster. He said there was no doubt that the HIV and AIDS pandemic was the major contributing factor and that more was needed to combat the scourge in the country.

He said the cases of Tuberculosis (TB) have increased, stating that it had also remained the biggest challenge for the country’s health sector. “There will be few people over the ages of 35 left by the year 2025 in Swaziland, especially the men. If there are more women now, they should start moving into management positions. But this is a disaster for the country because too many men and the wrong ones are dying,” von Wissell said.

He further observed that while Swaziland was rated a lower middle income country, it was shocking that 80 per cent of the population was living in abject poverty.

He said Malawi and Zambia were lower income countries yet the poverty levels were not as high as Swaziland.

“Only 20 per cent of the people of Swaziland are very rich and the largest part of the population is living below the poverty datum line. Most people in this country have since stopped skipping meals but they stay for a day before they could have one. They eat one meal after every other day,” he said.

In a separate interview, he explained that the United States Census Bureau the forecast.

He said they noted that without antiretroviral drugs the adult population would be greatly reduced, especially the over the ages of 30 to 35 leaving much fewer men over the age of 35.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Is anybody else shocked by the fact that funding towards any public health intervention in Africa should be spent 20% on prevention and control measures, and 80% on treatment. And in fact, that you cannot receive funding unless you adhere to these rules. Well, firstly, I do not see how that makes any sense in a time and place run by infectious diseases. Find me a group of people in Tanzania, Malawi and Nigeria that are worried about cardiovascular disease and sense organ disorders. Yeah right. Not to downplay chronic diseases, but if we all had the billions of shillings just flying through the atmosphere, I'm sure it would be a perfect world. Seeing as we are pressed for funding, why would we want to spend 80% of Gates' millions on "treating" HIV patients? When we know that the nitty gritty virus we all love to hate will just keep spreading around our polygamous neighborhoods like ebola in the DRC. Not that we should be relying on Gates' millions for our every drop of water...but that is a blog for another day.

We always throw around words like "sustainable", "development", "longevity", "improvement". The truth of the matter is all these idealistic words we throw around are based on PREVENTION, not cure. Growing up, I was always taught "ubolibamba lingashoni", I dont know if I can do justice to the translations but literally it means hold the sun before it sets. Ok, so I didnt do justice to it, but you get the point. Yes, it is true that in some cases, situations arise where we need to find quick cures, effective quarantines etc, but the real deal is at the end of the day, we all need to sit down and be forward-thinkers. Thinking forward does not mean we think about when the next big epidemic will occur and which foreign, world-renowned doctors we will hire to find an effective cure. It's about looking at now, what are our people going through? What do they need? Are our children living in the safest, and healthiest of environments? Do we have the appropriate education to let people know what's best? And most importantly : When we are gone, will those who come after us suffer the same troubles we did? No sir! Take HIV for instance, the most obvious case...destroying millions of Africans, most of them of reproductive and productive age, not the best boost for our already staggering economies. Thousands of orphans, 15 000 in Swaziland alone (out of a million people, u do the math). Our elders are having to take care of their children, their children's children, their cildren's children's children, the neighbors, and the market. Another one...malaria. Responsible for most of infant and child deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa. Still a huge public health problem.

We do need to worry about our brothers and sisters who have contracted the virus, yes. But not to an 80% degree. Especially not if we havent found a cure yet. And definitely not in Africa. What happens to the infected orphans? Wont they grow up to be just like that too? Complete nonsense...we should be spending 80% on preventative methods, and 20% on "trying to find effective treatment". In the end, we're all dead. How we die, and what we experience in the all that matters. It pains me to see my people all over the continent living a life of doom. Ok, so we are encouraged to go for testing, lekker...its a start. Now, Nozipho goes and tests, finds out she's HIV positive, gets a little bit of counselling, but still cant afford the optimal diet to stay free of opportunistic illnesses and infections. Not only that, she will be discriminated upon like a cockroach in an urban kitchen. If she is the average African, she probably wont be able to afford the sky-rocketing price of ARVs (pharmaceutical corruption...a story for another sunset), and when she does fall ill, she will either be denied a hospital bed, or, simply, wont have access to one. Her sister Nothando...will look at this situation and go "he! i am NOT testing. Id rather not know". It may seem like crappy logic, but I tell you, its what happens and it is sad. There are many ways we can combat this. HIV? A speck of dust compared to what we're worth. Africans need to do some African work for their African people. Uganda is our glimmer of hope. They did it, everyone else can. But first we need to deal with this 20:80. Ideas?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ebola Outbreak in the DRC

News source:

Major Ebola outbreak in DR Congo
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been confirmed by the World Health Organization in Kasai province.

At least 166 people have died and WHO says it is aware of 372 other cases.

International agencies have begun airlifting emergency medical supplies and setting up isolation tents to try to contain the outbreak.

Ebola is highly contagious. People contracting the disease suffer severe stomach pain and internal bleeding.

'Ebola kits'

Medecins sans Frontieres has reinforced its medical personnel and has flown three tonnes of supplies to the provincial capital Kananga, to be distributed in the affected areas.

The supplies include tents and plastic sheeting to build isolation facilities. Medicines, water and sanitation materials are also being sent.

"Ebola kits" have been provided for the medical teams - they include protective gloves, boots and uniforms which are designed to be destroyed after use.

Local health authorities are helping to disinfect contaminated areas.

The fatality rate for Ebola, which has no known cure, is as high as 90%.

Specialist laboratories in Gabon and Atlanta in the US confirmed Ebola from blood samples, saying they also showed the presence of Shigella dysentery - which is hampering efforts to identify Ebola victims.

WHO has also requested additional support from the global outbreak alert and response network, and says specialised laboratories in Gabon, Canada and the US will share the analysis.

They say there could be a "possible concurrent outbreak of another etiology".


It is three months since people started falling sick from a mystery virus in several villages around Kananga, the capital of West Kasai region.

Several villages are under quarantine, but WHO says so far there is no need for any further restrictions on travel or trade with DR Congo.

The incident is the worst for several years and is likely to have serious consequences for some time to come - even if the spread has been contained.

It is thought to be transmitted through the consumption of infected bush meat and can also be spread by contact with the blood secretions of infected people.

DR Congo's last major Ebola outbreak killed more than 200 people in 1995 in Kikwit, about 400km (250 miles) west of the current outbreak.

The last major incidence of the disease was in Uganda in 2001 when more than 400 cases were reported and more than half of the patients died.

Uganda has issued a red alert to border posts neighbouring the DR Congo and has instructed staff at Entebbe international airport to be on the lookout for passengers who show symptoms of fever.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

39 and counting!

Happy Swazi Independence Day!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Saving Lives -- Millions at a time

Read this if you're interested in Public Health.
Or if you may be considering doing work in the health sector at some point or the other in your life/career.
Or, if, you just love me, cos thats okay tooooooooo.

So, we all know no one grows up aspiring to be a public health professional, an epidemiologist, a biostatician, or a volunteer. Apparently, 100% of my incoming class never thought they would go into Health. Growing up, I think I changed careers (aspiring) mebbe an average of 12 times a day. I would wake up convinced I would be a doctor one day, by the end of the day, various adults got different answers from me. Anything from boxer to pilot. Clearly, I didn't know where my life is going. But atleast I knew it was going somewhere right? So, well, had fun a la process. High School was the usual. If you went to boarding school in Africa you'll know what I'm talking about. A section for the math and science whizz kids, B section for the ones that aspired to be in the A section and weren't too far from the dream, and the C class was the class that hated the A class with a passion. No need to explain why. So, high school is the 5 years of your African life where you are being trained to want to be a doctor, an engineer or ...a doctor. Naturally, I developed a love for the biological science and hmm, wasn't too bad at it either, so med school here we come!
Things got confusing when I reached IB, where the hot kids were the art kids and econ was now the in thing. Physics was alrighhhtt, I guess but damn those English A1 higher level kids were the truth! Ok, so this was 2 years of confusion. Next step...liberal arts. We get to play around and choose a major that we will probably never use (half of Wesleyan went into investman banking, and most people were either a Bio major, a dance major or any such combination). Next thing, it's 3 months to graduation and you're wondering what the heck to do with yr life. Is thisyr story too? Read on. Not yr story? Read on.

Getting into Public Health, for most people, is influenced (at any point in their careers) by some event or experience they have, usually in a low-income, pretty messed up country/town/state/village. The first thing a professor told me when I started classes was : If you're looking for a quick way to get rich, please apply to Harvard Buisness School. Public Health is not yr place. Ok so maye u CAN be rich doing Public Health, but if it's yr number 1 goal, you'll be very frustrated for a while. Lesson number 1, if you plan on going into public health -- marry rich. Cos the income sure as hell wont be coming from you! Im now patiently waiting for my business/engineering man to come take me for a carpet ride! (while I vaccinate 30 kids in Nakuru. Where are you, my lover! I need u and I need your money. For real. (Attention men: I really do have a heart, i promise to love and cherish too neh. The bride price will be worth it).Which brings me to point number 2. Public Health is for people WITH a heart. You have to feel connected to the people that you want to reach. It's not just about medical care, its about culture too. So, if u have those 2 down, we are free to move on to the most important thing abt Pub Health (PH).

The reason I love P.H., other than that I believe it's part of God's purpose for my life and for the life of others that I will meet along this wonderful journey, is the fluidity of the discipline. I walk into a health management and policy class and there's 3 great professors there to just pour out the knowledge. An MBA, an MD and some random PHD geek who happened to work for a pharmaceutical company for 18 years. PH is not a concrete science! (I am beginning to understand why i absolutely hated organic chemistry). It's a great mixture of medicine, economics, biostatistics, engineering, anthropology, politics, linguistics, u name it, its all in there baby. And the truth is, anyone can go into Public Health, whether you are fresh out of college and you were a history major, or you are a 60 yr old doctor thats decided to go a little more global. Its about populations, social groups, countries,'s about love, smiles, solutions and dreams. And if you love Africa (and other developing regions) as much as I do, you'll realize that the health sector needs you, too! Whether you're a biochem student looking to get into law, or maybe you're a dancer and you taught some Swazi kids how to dance over a summer (I don't see how that is possible), or you're just someone with a passion and fire for a place where thousands and millions of your countryboys and girls never get the chance to see, live, talk, love, dream, smile, play soccer, feel the rain, drink clean water, get married, run in the sand...because their lives are claimed by things such as HIV, malaria, hunger, war, stupid governments, terrible decision-making, etc. You too can do something. Seriously, it's been said, again and again and again. Yes, yes, we must be the change we want to see...but really I've discovered that just saving one life, saves millions thereafter. For real though, I don't want to be the last remaining Swazi on earth (although that would be kinda cool no? Would they frame me and put me in a museum outside La L'ouvre?) I'm just doing my heal and deliver to those I love the most...and in the process, save the world...millions at a time.

Monday, August 20, 2007


In the 24 years that I've lived, I've been majorly blessed in many areas of my life. It's up to you how you define "being blessed". For me, just having oxygen to breathe is being blessed...or even waking up another day, or having food on my table, a phone that rings (even if it's bills-related). This summer, I've come to realize that my whole life is just a blessing! When you start appreciating the little things, the big things seem like miracles, and they are. I love my family, they are dysfunctional, crazy and cute. They are just right for me. My friends' smiles are my day's energy and motivation. When I look back at where I come from, and I look further into the future, to where I'm going...I realize that there hasn't been one thing I've gone through that I didn't learn a big lesson from. Life is one big test! And just like a college exam, sometimes you may get that A without ever studying, sometimes you have to spend sleepless nights and facebook-less times just to get that B-. I've had my share...I know you've had yours too. We all have our stories. Sometimes I sit in the train and look around at the faces around me. We are all at the same place at the same time...but we are going different places, coming from different backgrounds, situations, problems, we have our own lives to deal with. My biggest lesson for the summer was Faith. Yes, Manre's middle name.

The funny thing is since I basically lived alone this summer...or rather, kept to myself alot...I began thinking. Everything was thoroughly thought out. And yet, none of my plans ever materialized! I started thinking about what I do from the moment I woke up to the second I shut my eyes at night (or during the day hehe..). When I wake up and open the fridge, I know that it will be cold. I know the mail comes in at 3pm, that's why I walk out at 3:15 and check the mailbox, and I'm confident that something will be there. That's faith. When I turn the AC on, I expect the house to cool down, that's faith. When the phone rings, and I see Z's can't be anyone else but Z. That's faith. It's faith to believe the weather forecast, it's faith to expect the grocery store to be open at a certain time. I never realized how humans have so much faith! We are built on faith! And yet...the hardest thing to have faith in is ourselves. I remember whenever I studied 3 continous nights for my Organic Chemistry/Econ exams (with the aid of a couple milk-less milkshakes ... Oh, Wesleyan..). I would always push myself to study 10 minutes more than my scheduled sleeping time...I didn't have faith that I was ready. I walked into that exam room with the confidence of a....well, of something that isn't confident. Whenever I got nervous (and I got nervous alot), it was the faithless me taking over. Well, my faith is in God. And I guess I was failing Him when I stopped believing in the very thing that He believed in. So, like many things, that needed to change.

So, have faith. Have faith that you'll make it. Have faith that you're loved. Have faith that you'll make it through another day. Have faith that all your dreams will come true. Have faith in all you believe in. Never let anyone take your faith away from you. Have faith when it seems impossible, have faith when it has all worked out. Have faith when you've cried the last tear, or exhausted your smiles...have faith in people, even those you think suck. Have faith that you're the best at being YOU. And that you do the best job at doing the things that only YOU can do. Have faith that the bus will come on time. Have faith that the dirty person sitting next to you has a vision and a plan, you just can't see it yet. Have faith that you won't get your dream life partner, but better. Have faith in your emotional self, your broken self, your tired self, your heartbroken self, your silly, goofy self. Have faith that you're gonna get that A. Have faith that he will call, someday. Have faith that the sun will rise and set just as it was instructed to. Have faith in your career, even if it's not where you want it to be. Have faith in your country, your countrymen and women, have faith in the little kids that will grow up to have faith in their little kids. Have faith that anyone can change your life for the better, even your enemies. Have faith that the person working at the grocery store is one of the best people you'll ever meet! Have faith that you can do it, that you can work hard for it, that you can speak it toyrself and it will happen. Have faith even when no one has faith in you....Have faith. In them. Have faith in love, in dreams, in day to day happenings that make a turn for the better or for the worse. Have faith that no matter what you said, you said what you feel, and therefore you're not wrong. Have faith that life is yours for the making...the future is yours for the taking. Have faith in faith. That Faith will bring you through, faith will turn ideas to material, and faith will lead you to yr ultimate destination. Yes, Faith, Hope, Love....the greatest of these is love. Love. And have faith.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

This too shall pass

There is no oil, if olives are not squeezed...
No wine, if grapes are not pressed...
No perfume , if flowers are not crushed...

Have you felt pressure in life today?
Dont worry ... God is just bringing out the best in you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New News

The concept of "New News out of Africa" has been playing around in my mind for quite a while now. I'm not sure if it's born out of pure frustration at reading "world news" everyday, or at reading the Times of Swaziland every morning (if we're lucky enough for it to have been updated that day). Or maybe because I read this book by Charlayne Hunter-Gault for a class last semester and had high expectations only to be dismally dissapointed. It was a good attempt, and I commend the author for bringing to light such heavy issues that the world needs to be addressing. Hmm, maybe I just had different expectations.

Ever seen a picture like the one in my previous blog post and have the words "hunger, genocide, famine, war, poverty, Africa" come to mind? Ever wondered why you just didn't presume it was a kid who lost a toy on an ordinary beautiful day in Kigali? What comes to mind when you read, see or think of the word "Africa"? Perhaps images of child soldiers, starving children and helpless parents spring to vision. Or maybe you remember the heartwrenching stories told to you at a Boston Cinema by the incredible Don Cheadle, Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio or Forest Whitaker? Ahh...maybe you think of endless savannas, with fauna so captivating your Nikon D2X just clicks away mercilessly, pure horizons, the rich smell of Amarula. The group of kids you taught English for a summer, or how blazing the heat is!

If I tell you what I think of when I think of my motherland, the sun will rise shine set and rise again...when I tell you about the pap and chakalaka, top that with borewors and marinated chicken. I go on to tell you about the street bashes that occur every night all night, no cops involved, neighbors invited by default! I will tell you about real juice, real fruit, real onions I pick everyday at 4 pm from my garden to prepare the homecooked meal...that I prepare everyday, twice a day. I may even tell you about the jokes we tell, the languages so beautiful and engineered to perfection. I'll sip on a cup of Milo and pause, smile, pause, before I go on to tell you about the best clothes in the world, about my mother who wears nothing but Sishweshwe to business meetings and is still the most successful woman I know! I could even go on toflirt with you, sliding my hands down the crafted kente that rides my hips, the goat skin sticking to my ripe breasts in a fashion u may not understand. I'll run your fingers through the thick curls of my hair, and show you how beautiful it feels to be an African Queen! I wouldn't want to leave out the high prevalence AIDS rate in Swaziland, even when I tell you about the happiest people I've ever met! I'll laugh so hard when I tell you about my high school days, taking 11 subjects at O'Level and still not complaining! Infact, exceling! I might even sneak you into my backyard and show you the mango trees that come to life each summer, the bananas and grapes that are low-calorie without the engineering! And still so sweet....I'll tell you about the beaches of Mozambique, the shopping sprees I have in Johannesburg, I'll tell you about the Zimbabwean party scene, the beautiful women, the way our men are carved by the sweet hand of Mother Africa. Chomi, I'll spend forever telling you about the music, the weather, the heros and heroines. Not the ones you read about on CNN. I'll tell you about the brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods, working hard for their families, the ones who never got their share of fame. The children so fearless and creative. I may even decide to let you know how we made our own toys when we were young! It might be why I'm not afraid to open up my laptop...or tv, when something's wrong. I'll tell you about the funny things we see on TV. Yes, TV! The sun will definitely rise, set, and rise again when I tell you about what Africa means to me.

The truth of the matter is we have been psychologically conditioned to tie Africa to such things as poverty, genocide, war, disease etc. I am not one to point fingers. I simply want to acknowledge a problem and brainstorm towards positive action. We spend plenty of time talking about colonialization, history, the status quo and the Western privilege. I think it's time we got some new news! I want to browse some international news source one day and find positive stories about my continent. Instead of "FIFA may launch Plan B for 2010 World Cup", I want to find " Developments underway in Johannesburg and Cape Town". I am not arguing that Africa doesn;t have problems, oh there are many! I would just like to start seeing some solutions instead of the criticism. Sometimes, phrasing a headline more positively may go a long way. I wish we had more African journalists (who are passionate about the continent) in these news sources. I wish we could report more on young African educationalists doing great things all around the world. I wish we could emphasize the richness of African culture and show it off to the world. I wish some Swazi journalist could be able to report the beauty, festivities and excitement surrounding the Reed Dance every August, and not a Polish journalist reporting on the innumerable naked girls he witnessed as King Mswati smiled on.

I also wish we could develop more positive attitudes towards new achievements and new challenges. Maybe we should all be excited and encouraging when we discuss Ghana's oil, Lesotho's new flag, South Africa's hosting of the World Cup, ARVs finally being made available in public hospitals in Swaziland, Liberia's (and Africa's) first woman president. Obviously, something so psychologically crippling will not take overnight to revamp. We, as young Africans and global citizens need to take it upon ourselves to implement these changes within our respective careers, communities, countries and social spheres. It is not just up to journalists to work harder, the very source of primary information is you! Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, musician, part of an economic research team, student, entrepreneur, sexy celebrity, local farmer, orphan, or diplomat. The change is in you. The change is you!

Some good news:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yesterday, I cried

Yesterday, I cried.
I came home, went straight to my room,
sat on the edge of my bed,
kicked off my shoes, unhooked my bra,
and I had myself a good cry.
I cried until my nose was running all over the silk blouse I got on sale.
I cried until my ears were hot.
I cried until my head was hurting so bad
that I could hardly see the pile of soiled tissues lying on the floor at my feet.
I want you to understand,
I had myself a really good cry yesterday.

Yesterday, I cried,
for all the days that I was too busy,
or too tired, or too mad to cry.
I cried for all the days, and all the ways,
and all the times I had dishonored, disrespected,
and disconnected my Self from myself,
only to have it reflected back to me in the ways others
did to me the same things I had already done to myself.
I cried for all the things I had given, only to have them stolen;
for all the things I had asked for that had yet to show up;
for all the things I had accomplished, only to give them away,
to people in circumstances, which left me feeling empty,
and battered and plain old used.
I cried because there really does come a time when
the only thing left for you to do is cry.

Yesterday, I cried.
I cried because little boys get left by their daddies;
and little girls get forgotten by their mommies;
and daddies don't know what to do, so they leave;
and mommies get left, so they get mad.
I cried because I had a little boy,
and because I was a little girl,
and because I was a mommy who didn't know what to do,
and because I wanted my daddy to be there so badly until I ached.

Yesterday, I cried.
I cried because I hurt. I cried because I was hurt.
I cried because hurt has no place to go
except deeper into the pain that caused it in the first place,
and when it gets there, the hurt wakes you up.
I cried because it was too late.
I cried because it was time.
I cried because my soul knew that I didn't know
that my soul knew everything that I needed to know.
I cried a soulful cry yesterday, and it felt so good.
It felt so very, very bad.
In the midst of my crying,
I felt my freedom coming,

Yesterday, I cried
with an agenda.

...Iyanla Vanzant

Sunday, July 22, 2007


...Is it really impossible to miss what you never had?

I miss the times that we almost shared
I miss the love that was almost there
I miss the times that we use to kiss
At least in my dreams
Just let me take my time and reminisce
I miss the times that we never had
What happened to us we were almost there
Whoever said it's impossible to miss when you never had
Never almost had you


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


One of the hardest things I had to do the past couple of days was map out my action plan for 2007/2008. Having just left a love-hate relationship of 4 years with one of New England's prestigious liberal arts schools, it was time to reflect. Sounds exciting, I wish it were. That relationship had its A days, and its not-so great days. This 4 yr husband of mine cheated on me with such things as Organic Chemistry and Neurophysiology, showered me with gifts in the form of scholarships and awards, made me cry in the form of affecting my friendships and snatching me away from my family, seriously zapping me out of any comfort zone of sorts. But yes, we had some good days, albeit the many nights of endless crying ... And our divorce settlement was final on May 27 07. All I got out of it was a piece of paper with my name on it!

4 years was a long time, though short at the same time. This summer has been ... wow, I don't even know how to describe it. It's been great, in its own regard. I guess, alot of things happen on a daily basis that it leaves me wondering whats next. Maybe it's exciting...maybe not, sometimes U like to have that security and that plan. I love it here though...i could see myself here for the next couple of years...In the month I've been here already, I've met some pretty amazing people that have taught me alot, in some of the best, and worst, ways possible. Isn't that the story of my life ...

Sitting down with pen in hand, I had to criticize myself the past couple of days, right down to the T. And I had to put it on paper to read over, and over, and over, and over, again. There's nothing harder than to tell yourself the things u try not to face. Opening up the closet and doing all the laundry I've been dumping in there for a while...Anyway, it feels good. Ish. I know what I need to do to become a better person, I know the things I've done that I should not do again, the things I have yet to do,and do more, the things I'm yet to excel at and the failures I still need to face. I know the tears I'm yet to cry...I'm ready for them. I know there's more laughter to follow, I'm ready..I know my weaknesses, and wow, there are many. I'm my own best friend, and yet my worst critic! Its strange...I detest criticizing myself, Sometimes I like to think I'm the world's greatest. Sometimes I realize that I am. Or not. :-/

So now, thankfully, the document is done and it's hiding somewhere where I can't revisit it. The power of it though, is I remember every word. I know that even though it was hard to tell myself the things I did, now, its half the stress I have to go through when people say it to my face...Sigh. Life is some really is. Sometimes I just want to throw myself infront of a moving train, or scream until my lungs can't handle it. But the truth of the matter is there's always something bigger...something better. That's how Im here, not there. That's why I'm me, not you....

I think I'm ready for the next big thing.

Monday, July 16, 2007

For the women in my life ...

To Be A Woman -- By Me.

To Be A Woman...
is to share and love
above all other...
to fight the fight
and bear the burden...
its to cry the last tear
and to give the last kiss...
it's to smile brighter when
your heart wont allow...
To Be A woman...
is to carry the dying soul
to lift the flag high..
of ownership design and conception
To Be A woman
is to know the meaning of 9 months
the meaning of 10 minutes
and the meaning of a lifetime..
To Be A Woman
is to think and to learn
To educate and discipline
To hurt and smile
To die and carry
To lift higher and sink lower
To Be A woman
is something blessed of God
its to be a treasure unknown
Yet used by many
Its to be the last jewel
To be the last thought
and the first memory
To Be A woman
is to be a mirror image of all things
Because to be a woman...
is to see all things, know all things...
To Be A woman
is to give life
to combine recipes...
that give birth to eyes hands and little minds
To Be a woman
is to be a woman...
To Be a woman
is to be all this and more
That, and so much less
To be a woman...
To be a miracle

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Being Swazi

I've decided to take time out and answer that inevitable question I'm always asked on the street, at school, at parties, over the phone...u name it. I love it. I love the attention the statement "I'm from Swaziland" sparks from people. Many different reactions some, I immediately look more beautiful, they probably imagine me topless at the Reed Dance, dancing for my king. Imagine away, brothers and sisters....our minds are our freedom! To others, it is that one opportunity to satisfy an undying curiosity about Swaziland's culture, way of life, traditional values, customs and....of course, location. Many ask "Where is that?", after which I have to bring to life some pre-constructed map of the world and help them locate Swaziland in their minds. Fear not, soon as I mention South Africa, the real tourist destination, and perhaps Mozambique, where we would all looooove to do community service...and I might even drop the "Z" word, people looove to hear about the Zimbabwe crisis. Lets help Africa! Africa is dying!

Shut the fuck up.
Africa is not dying. Africa is rising to the top....sit back and enjoy the flight.

Yes, I'm angered. But dont worry...My anger is a good thing. I'm not one of those angry women (isn't that some world news.....). My anger stems from a passion, a goal, a dream...anger only fuels me up more. So in fact, when you make me angry, you're just helping me achieve my dreams. This recent dose of anger actually stems from being asked....the same some person who 1) has never stepped on Swazi grounds before, 2)is Angolan, 3)Had the decency to ask me to sleep with him because "As a Swazi woman, you don't mind sleeping with any man who chooses you.". Funny hey...hilarious actually. Before I go on talking about this useless piece of trash....very sad that he should be my African brother....incase y're wondering about this 'question', maybe u've never asked me before, or any of the 3 Swazis you the words of famous somebodies...I'mma break it down.

Why does your King have so many wives? Why does he force girls to marry him? Why do thousands of girls dance naked infront of the King? Would you marry the King? What do you think of polygamy in your country? Do you think what your King is doing is right?

The first few are easy actually. The King marries "so many" wives because he is the King. And because it is part and parcel of the Swazi custom. Next.
Mistake number 1, the media feeds you terms like "force", "take", "dictator" etc....The King has never forced anyone to marry him. The King DATES women, and then proposes to them, like you would too. Difference? He does it ...alot. hehe, well yes, he does. But he has never forced anyone to stay married to him either. Plenty of wives have felt uncomfortable with the situation, and left. Freely, without drama or chaos. So, it's high time you read the Times of Swaziland, and not CNN "World" if you want the real scoop on what goes on. Better yet, talk to a Swazi person.
"Dance naked" infront of the King is not exactly how we view our Reed Dance, and no I would not marry the King. He's not my type :-)

One huge problem with the world nowadays is that countries like, and media fueled by, The
USA try to impose their values on other cultures and the way other people do things. I went to school with about 200 kids from over 100 countries. My first exposure to the "real world". Everything we did was different, from how we ate, the languages we spoke, our accents, our religions, our way of life, our clothing, our speech, our study techniques....and infact, it seemed to work for everyone! Sometimes we dont understand how people do things, and we think how we do it is right...and what they do is wrong. That's fine, until we try to impose our own ideas of "being right" onto someone. Now, Swazi is a culture. A culture that is hundreds of years old. There are some things that you can't just decide in 2007 to change. You can't change the very foundation of what makes Swaziland Swaziland, and not Lesotho, Switzerland or Belgium.

Infact, I don't even like talking about this whole King thing, we are focusing our energies on very trivial issues!! However many wives the King has should be of no concern to you and me, he provides for them, they are happy. Had they not been happy, they would have been free to leave. Very simple. I've lived in
Swaziland for 24 years. 6 of those years have been spent in school in the United States. I studied the Int'l Baccalaureate, Pre-Med, Public Health studies, Neurobiology and the "Liberal Arts". I may not be well-versed in other important areas of the education circle, but I think I know what I'm talking about when I combine that with me being Swazi, observing my culture in various ways, having been exposed to what is Not Swazi.

That said,
Swaziland is far from perfect. Our economy could use a slight boost. We could use some free primary education, perhaps an expansion in the Agricultural sector. We do need to keep sponsoring our own institutions of higher education, and creating jobs for graduates therefore. Maybe we could revive our Air industry again and fly to other countries outside of Southern Africa. Some new effecient roads here and there, engineers with fresh minds and new ideas. Yes, far from perfect. The HIV/AIDS situation is devastatingly claiming the lives of our people. And yes, I do believe that the polygamy situation has been a major integral. But so are many factors that we tend to ignore...poverty, education, poor sanitation, poor health systems and policies, unavailability of medicines and vaccines....etc etc. Lets stop trying to knock our heads on the walls of Jericho trying to banish polygamy, and let us re-route our action plan. How can we work with what we have now? It's a simple phenomenon that we apply to our everyday lives. Accident on I-95 North. How do I get another route to work. Are u going to try and clear out the accident scene in order to pass through that highway, or are you going to take the other route? Scenario 2: You get to college and there's a professor who's been there for 25 years, and y're not really feeling his teaching style. I'd like to see you sit him/her down and try to make them re-learn their teaching techniques. I would personally find ways to study parallel to his teaching style, so that in the end of it all, I've learnt it my way, and I've gotten that A.

Polygamy is a choice. I believe that lack of appropriate education to women in
Swaziland may be the reason it's still very popular. I dont believe in telling women not to marry into a polygamous family (which is what the NGOs love to do! Its their hobby!)...I think that we should educate women, not just from Swaziland, but from all over the world, to be better advocates for the choices that they make. Knowing your husband has 2 other wives, you may try to take better precautions in terms of HIV testing, safer sex etc. if after this knowledge, u find that you are not comfortable marrying into a polygamous situation, that is fine too. But we should not try to make that decision for anyone. Afterall, we cant judge what is wrong or right. We can only try to alleviate the societal damages that we can see, and then try to prevent them from happening, in ways that we deem appropriate. We should not be trying to uproot cultures and try to make a USA-land everywhere.

So ask me, and I will tell you. I'm Swazi and I'm proud. I'm like no other, I'm unique. I'm happy and I'm educated. When I walk into a room, I walk proudly Swazi, with all my customs and my traditions...the things my mother and mother's mothers taught me. Is my country perfect? No. That's why I'm working to better it in ways that I can. At the end of the day...I'm still Swazi, That is where I'm from. That is where I was born. That is where my tongue can speak words that English, or any other language can never identify. That is the place of my permanent provision. I respect it, I love it, I nurture it...That is my HOME.

Friday, July 6, 2007

African Hair Braiders

The other day, I went to the local grocery store to buy some mangoes...don't get me started on the mango-less mangoes in this country. I miss real fruits! Fruits with juice! Mangoes that dont taste like tangerine-flavored bananas!

So, there I am, in the blazing heat, parading my jeans and fro, I meet this beautiful young woman. I will be PC and not suggest her ethnicity feela I know that can arise in some issues. But, she did look Ethiopian :-P. The first thing I noticed about her though, was her braids. Crafted to perfection, they fell on her defined shoulders like....emmm..well, like braids on defined shoulders (this is why I'm not a poet).

I'm a big hair person. Both in the big-hair sense and the big-on-hair sense. Reason number 2 why I look forward to going to
Swaziland each year : African Hair Braiders. Hay suka, I have to give it up to my sisters! Back in high school, I was one of those that didn't catch on with the hair braiding during lunch (Must have been too busy with that Additional Maths book) so I never quite grasped the skill of braiding hair. I can barely get away with doing box braids on my own hair before bed. Let alone dive into ponytail, kinky twists, fish tail, pencil tips, microbraids, Senegalese twists, Z-curl, yaki bulk, 419....the list goes on, believe me. The color tones go from 1 (jet black) to 35 (honey blonde) with any combination of the above.

Eversince I made that fateful decision to come to the States...I knew I was going to miss getting my hair done whenever I wanted, getting the latest braids for a little less than $20 (yes, not the $200 I pay here). I've noticed plenty of Africans (especially West Africans) starting hair braiding salons in the inner cities of the
United States, making money like nobody's business....can't hate. I just love my African Hair Braiders, they keep us beautiful, they keep us fresh, they keep our pockets healthy at the same time...and their hands are a work of art!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Where did Kwaito go?

Remember the good old days, when TKZee used to start and end the party....when Mandoza's Nkalakatha was the song to be played? Ahhh infact, I visited my old high school a few months ago, and found them still playing the good old kwaito beats lebesi jam-ma ngawo back in the day! Then again, the UWC is a whole new environment. They'll stay playing Mandoza and Tribal Blast. But as I joined in with kids from over 100 countries, watching as the sweet Lebanese girl and the chemistry geek from Uganda tried their luck at doing the "kwaito dances" that I once went crazy for, I could only wonder...Where did Kwaito go?

Its been about...emm...7 years since I finished high school in Manzini, Swaziland...All-girl Anglican school. No nonsense, don't-mess teachers and matrons. Best results in the country (may I boast a lil, dust my shoulders a lil?)...One thing St Michaels girls were known for...well, actually 3. Beauty (check), brains (check) and dancing (um, working on it to be dishonest). Do not even mess, besiba bontsa! We had school concerts, where students danced, performed skits, plays and had fashion shows...Ours was always the last. Of course ke, it was the grand finale. We danced to the likes of Boom Shaka, Mandoza, TKZee, Trompies, Mdu, E'smile, and that group....var vas jy....where were u! We even had the hair styles, I remember my first Boom Shaka braids, thick, black and long to the waist. Was I not feeling myself?? And then, of course, I had to borrow the "tsotsi" hat ('idori') and colorful all stars from my brothers closet. Well, by borrow, i mean steal and return before dark. They were the rockas...Trompies' "Sweety Lavo" was the anthem of all who had boyfriends. I remember mine coming early for the concert to make sure he got good seats and enjoyed a little "private moment" with me (Private means 'in disguise" from our nasty headmaster -- thats when the back of the hall was populated by lovebirds and the like). To top it off, I'd get a letter slipped into my bag with Sweety Lavo lyrics dedicated to me.

Kwaito was the thing of the season...Every festive holiday, a new "X mas" jam would hit the streets and no party would end without it being played. It went from TKZees Dlala Mapantsula (in fact that whole album was the rockas), to Nkalakatha, to Mazola. Mind u, each one came with a different dance...I remember them all! But I can't dance them all anymore. Will I not be the odd one out? It seems as though House is the new Kwaito and Afro-pop is the new R'nB. Well, House has always been there, the likes of DJ Fresh, DJ Glen Lewis, Africanism etc...but (correct me if I'm wrong), they never really enjoyed the mass air play that Kwaito did. And in fact, they seemed to be played at parties exclusively, in moderation...and as a "listen to this beat and go crazy for the next Kwaito song" type scenario. Ive always loved house, I feel the quality has improved, owing to the many new good DJs in the area. (Oo...remember, Benni's in the 18 area! TkZee in the area! Bafana in the area! Halakasha!...Shibobo...let me not crash my train of thought). I can't go a day now without listening to DJ Cleo, Sbu (Remember when it rained won best song at this years SAMAs) and others. I feel it is this overtake in popularity that has diminished the Kwaito scene and brought House to clubs, parties and personal stereos with a loud bang mfethu!

Afro-pop is another great genre. The thing to hear now is Malaika, Mafikizolo, Mina Nawe, Ntando, Tyte and lots more. I mean umaBrrr (Brenda Fassie, RIP), Yvonne Chaka Chaka and other legends have always been there, but there's been this sudden boom in the Afro-pop industry and the current artists are definitely loving it! I personally am a big fan of Afro-pop. Nothing says I love you better than Malaika and no one will ever describe how beautiful an African woman is -- as well as Ringo Madlingozi does. I'd rather be told "Ubuhle bakho ntombi...Amehlo akho sthandwa sam!" than "Sexy love...girl the things u do keep me sprung (and so?), keep me running back to you (where did u go to begin with?)". Infact, one thing I've always loved about parties and clubs in
South Africa and Swaziland is they play House and Afro-pop primarily. And so, after being bombarded with hip hop and dancehall for a year (with the occasional African get-together with Makossa, Highlife, and other African genres), it's a breath of fresh air to go back home and know that African music is being played by default. You'll find hip hop clubs, reggae nights etc in SA but most people definitely enjoy the music from home.

I guess, Kwaito is still around in a way...House seems to be more of a merge between rave and kwaito beats, and Afro-pop still gets alot of its influence from traditional Kwaito music. And of course, we still have geniuses like Kabelo and Zola that will remind us of how it was done back in the day...Mandoza, Arthur and Mdu are also still in the scene. Hehe, Arthur's song "Sika Lekhekhe" has even been banned from the media because of its questionable connotations of sex and women. Do trust. He's the same one who came out with "Do u like my Zombo". Nuff said. Thembi Seete of Boom Shaka, I believe is still doing her thing, and it's sad Lebo (also of Boom Shaka fame) passed away this year in a tragic accident. And well, we have bo Mzambiya, Mzekezeke and other upcoming artists who get a lot of backing from older stars. Kwaito neva dies!!

Go to Museke to listen to some great Kwaito and Afro-pop, as well as find lyrics, blogs and news about African music! ~

Sika Lekhekhe Vid :

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Congrats to 07!!

To all the hardworkers of the class of 2007...Congrats! The card (Zulu) says :
Congratulations...You endured the journey and survived,
You saw darkness, but now youve finally arrived!

And like Zola would say....Ola Se7en!!!

--And actually, the picture on the card is the perfect graphic description of "Esibayeni" -- meaning 'in the cattle kraal". Where alot of important functions take place in the Swazi custom.

Say it in a greeting, in the right language at Kasahorow Greetings

Nabikoowa Nange!

Nabikoowa Lyrics

Why are men such flakes. Watch him creep in ati no one can hear me...styoopid. Love the look on his face when he finds her scrolling through the phone. lololol. Some people. Although : never scroll through his phone. Atleast that is my principle. shall find it!

Happy Birthday

You know when you get your first male friend...and it seems like you will get married even though you know yre just friends? And then you get older and grow apart. You see pictures of him all grown and dating and you smile, and laugh because you remember those days after church when you would sit and talk about the funniest things in life....when you'd make fun of each other all through that discreet phonecall? You watch him grow, from a distance...and u wonder how on earth u havent talked for years, but still remember his birthday.....

You know when you're the baby of the house, and that 7-year gap between u and yr sister just doesn't cut it? You're jealous of all the freedom she gets, and she's jealous of all the spoilage you receive. When you get so angry that you want to murder her in her sleep...and yet you know you love her more than anything on earth...When you beat each other up until you're red and sore an your mother watches u from the kitchen and tells you how stupid you both are? When she teaches you how to use tampons and you still think they are disgusting. Then she teaches you how to deal with men, and gives you a beautiful niece and nephew that you love to death? When she gives you your first drink of amarula and makes sure she's there to monitor your every move thereafter? When she tells on you and steals your make-up and after you complain and almost shoot her, she brings out the best birthday gift ever for you. When you're miles apart yet her jokes still make you laugh wherever you are...and you know you can always run into her closet when you have that "wat to wear" attack...When its such a busy day, and you havent spoken to her in days...but you still remember her birthday..

Happy Birthday to two special people in my life!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A note to His Majesty

Your Majesty,

The one most valuable thing I learnt growing up in the dusty, yet friendly, streets of Manzini, is how to respect others. Particularly, how to respect those older than me. It is with my deepest humility and respect that I write this letter to you.

I wish I could sing your praises line by line. Unfortunately, I took the French path in primary school when I should have taken advantage of our SiSwati curriculum. All is not lost however, because I can still effectively communicate with my country men and women, read SiSwati books and enjoy our funny TV shows and commercials. Perhaps I can even write a novel in SiSwati one day. Bayethe Ngwenyama yesive semaSwati! I'm writing this letter to bring to your attention, your royal majesty, an issue I have been battling with as a young Swazi woman studying away from home.
I remember my days at St Michael's when I was the star of my class... I walked everywhere with pride. Come the annual prize giving ceremony, My mother would make sure to bring baskets to accomodate all my prizes, from Math to Additional Math, French to English, Chemistry to Physics. The one I failed to snatch was that Geography one. It's too bad I could never memorize those plate tectonic mechanisms. I was also a little on the lazy side to get a grab of the home economics and agriculture prizes. I applauded the girls that did, however. It makes me wonder : where are they now? We all strived to get into our tertiary institutions of choice when the St Michael's days came to a bitter end in November 2000. As a Swazi, I was proud to see my government sponsor every high school graduate who got into their program of choice in
Swaziland, South Africa and other SADC countries. I made my own decisions to come to the USA and that is a whole new topic, but I don't speak for Swazis in the States. Today, I speak for Swazis in Swaziland and the SADC Countries.

I understand that budgets dont remain the same. Now, in 2007, fewer Swazis and programs are being sponsored, heightening the competition and hypothetically making our students work harder in school. Perhaps we got too comfortable in our skins and maybe now the caliber of professionals will be better, who knows? I dont think that is
Swaziland's problem right now. Quite honestly, I think Swaziland's problem does not lie with its monarchy rule as the rest of the world likes to point out. The fact that Swaziland has the highest AIDS prevalence rate in the world stems from our government's inability to create jobs to accomodate Swazi graduates from SADC countries and all over the world. I was never sponsored by the Swazi government, but I have countless friends who were. At the end of the day, most of us want to give back to Swaziland, but that puts us in an awkward position of power when you take into account job offers from countries with booming economies. Yes, money is a big part of the reason many Swazis do not return home upon completion of their degrees.

Your Majesty, as far back as I can remember, I've known the same set of CEOs, ministers, headteachers, economic advisors, public health officials, commisioners, etc. There is no room in
Swaziland for fresh ideas, eager minds and new graduates to bring to practise what they have studied in their various fields of choice. Whether or not they have been sponsored by the government, these young professionals all deserve a go at their careers. At home. If we dont lay the kind of foundation necessary to promote our own, then our 'independence' will forever be a myth. International NGOs will find opportunity in our weakness, humanitarian aid agencies will be our back support. This is detrimental to our economic success as a growing nation. I know plenty Swazis who are studying medicine, engineering, health policy, tourism, education, business and art all over the world. When we come home, there are very limited job opportunities that will give us the intellectual stimulation and financial stability we desire and deserve. I understand that this cannot be done over night, and that not everyone can be CEO and minister straight from college or graduate school. But we can atleast be assured that if we work hard at it, we can get jobs related to our fields (not the LLM-teaching-biology phenomenon) and better promote our own people, our own ideas and our own economy, so as to be a successful monarchy with dedicated global citizens!


Fakudze Mntolo Mayisandzaba Nkhaba yashona ngatsi ise bhodleleni.
Nkhosi Dlamini!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

4 years

Has it really been 4 years? The morning of the 27th May it still hadn't hit me until I was running around our apartment going crazy because I misplaced my graduation cap. When I found it, I saw the dangling, gold thing on the tassel that said "2007". I wanted to just collapse and cry. For all the things I had, all the things I lost, the things I left behind, and the things still to come. Manje, I had already ti-tivated with the mascaras and the eye shadows that I refused to ruin. Now, a couple weeks later, lounging in my favorite attire (wouldnt you love to know)...around my favorite time of the day when I've cooked the rice and beef stew, ive cleaned the kitchen, ive charged the ipod, ive watched a movie, ive gossiped all day with a Swazi friend, ive admired and hated pictures on facebook, ive listened to my favorite songs. Now...its time to think. I remember graduating from high school and someone told me, ahh...for you, college will be a breeze. I waited for the breeze for 4 years, thank God I dealt with the storm while waiting. It may be just me, but college isnt easy. Being thousands of miles away from home, family, people who speak your language and share your jokes, doesn't help either. Being in a country where all you are is your race and your body, your achievements and your mistakes, didnt quite hit it either. Well, I had my four years. I wouldn't say it was "the best years of my life". But I would say the person I came out as is someone I love to be. I'm a woman, I have insecurities, I cry, I laugh, I cook, I smile, I curse people out, I apologize, I love, I live, I wish, I pray, I dream....I'm proud of the person Ive become. I've always wanted to get as close as I can to the woman my mother is. I'm a far cry, to be honest, but the one thing I learnt through college, was to be able to step out of your skin and allow yrself to cry. And then when that's done, to dutifully pick up that pen and continue studying.

I learnt that family doesn't always reside where you grew up, and that people who do reside where you grew up are not always family. I learnt that sometimes it's ok to allow yrself to be weak, because that's actually when God's strength is made perfect. I learnt that being black does not always mean being African, and being African does not always mean being black...and that identity is something that is unique to an individual, how annoying as it may be, i've learnt to be tolerant that i'm expected to fit in that little box on the application form. I've learnt a whole lot about Neurons, their biochemistry, their physics, their anatomy, their function, their networks. Ive learnt an awful lot about economics and health in developing countries, about the dances of Ghana, the formulae of multivariable calculus, the mechanisms of ketones, acids and alcohols. Ive learnt how to drink responsibly, and when to put down the glass, or avoid it altogether. Ive learnt that loving someone sometimes means letting them go. Ive learnt that people who think you're beautiful dont necessarily love you. And that those who love you dont always tell you you're beautiful. Ive learnt to be content with being pretty, not hot. Smart, not a dime. Friendly, not sexy. Ive learnt that music can be your closest friend. Ive learnt that the way to get an A in college is to do a whole lot of work, and just as much sucking up. Ive learnt that its ok to cry all night, pray all night, complain all night, criticize yourself all night...and then get up in the morning and smile. Ive learnt that you dont always need someone's approval to make a go at your dreams. Ive learnt to not take myself too seriously. Ive learnt that 9am classes should end junior year. Ive learnt that you can work on something for a year, and not get your desired results. Ive also learnt that sometimes, not getting yr desired results is a blessing...that some of God's greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers. I've learnt that my culture may not be the same as yours, but I understand. I've learnt how to type a 5 page paper in 45 minutes. Ive also learnt how to do a 3 page paper in 2 weeks. Ive learnt that sometimes, like Greg says, "hes just not that into you". And often times, I'm just not that into him either. I've learnt to appreciate a phonecall, a hug, a smile, a chat, a kiss on the cheek, a compliment. I've also learnt that that is not always necesary to feel beautiful. Ive learnt that sometimes you'll just look bummy and who the heck cares. Ive learnt that I dont always need to find answers, I just need to know that God heard the questions. Ive learnt that mothers are angels. Ive learnt that you can get healing just listening to someone speaking to you in your language. Ive learnt that sometimes the wisest people dont have degrees from prestigious institutions. And in fact, plenty a time, all they have is the highest degree of loving you sincerely. Ive learnt that cooking 5 times a week is the best way to stay healthy. Ive also learnt that I hate the gym. Ive learnt that a night with my girlfriends chatting in the hall / by the kitchen table is a night well spent. Ive also learnt that sometimes its fun to flirt and let them know what they cant have!! Ive learnt to love when it hurts, smile when its annoying, work when its tiring, sing when its unbearable and encourage when you need it the most. Ive learnt all the bio u can imagine, and still cant remember a damn thing. Ive learnt that African music is the best on earth, and that even though I love R Kelly's rise up, I'd love to come back home to Malaika, 2face, Nameless, Antwi and Julianna. Ive learnt that its all the bullshit that makes you stronger. And its all the heartbreaks that make you love more. Ive learnt to think of someone else but me for half the day. And about me the other half. hehe...Ive learnt to laugh even when its not stand on a crutch. Ive learnt to constantly make plans to do something bigger, and better....Ive learnt that when something is really yours, you dont have to fight to get it. Ive also learnt that some things are worth fighting for. Ive learnt that sometimes its not about the finish line, it's about the journey. Ive learnt that I love Haagen Dasz ice cream, and that sometimes you just gotta have it with chocolate and caramel sauce on top. Top that with a milk shake and a coke. Ive learnt that being alive is a miracle. Ive learnt that its always the wrong ones that love you best (ugh)...and that natural hair actually does look great on me! Ive learnt to scroll down my phonebook and call someone I havent heard from in a long time. Ive learnt to be happy and to be strong...Ive learnt to be a lover AND a fighter. Ive learnt that my career passions lie in the health field in developing countries. Ive learnt that we shouldnt criticize Oprah for opening a wealthy all-girl school in South Africa. Ive learnt that we shd criticize ourselves for letting someone come all the way to our countries to do things that we can do best ourselves. Ive learnt that liberal arts has been one of my most valuable forms of learning. Ive also learnt that doing laundry with my mother while she lectures me on many things, far exceeds liberal arts. Ive learnt that people are human first, before they are Guyanese, black, homosexual, educated, poor, hot, athletic, or annoying. Ive learnt to never compromise who I am as a woman, for who he wants me to be. Ive learnt that in all things, God remains the same. Ive learnt to go through the fire, the storm, the rain and the valley with a smile on my face. Ive learnt that my name is the best name my parents could have named me. Ive learnt to make a delicious meal between classes...Ive learnt that classes are a pain but sometimes a pain worth going through. Ive learnt that people will always look for your faults, and its ok to let them find them. Ive learnt all this and more....and yet, I'm still learning.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Who do YOU love?

I love alot of things. I love alot of people. Same goes for you too I hope? Or else, I'd tell you to get that sorted out. So the question isn't love then. It's who are you thinking about that you love? legit neh? So, Valentines Buzz is in the air, there's a major frozen rain/snow/hail/all bad things weather can bring and like some old friends would say ...well, fine, like I would say (Just cos I know my friends will read this and know I'm lying)'s "baby-making weather" (For all you married folks that have your lives and health insurance sorted out ahem). Although I've never really been a Valentines person, atleast I don't consider myself to love any more or any less on February 14 than I do any other day, I celebrate love. I celebrate loving people, I celebrate being loved and on some years I celebrate having that special someone to get roses from. big deal. Especially when you have the same recurring fights again the next week.
So, today I thought alot about my childhood, where I come from, the people I've left behind. Particularly, the children growing up today that never had the chance to be loved, or feel loved. or get a rose, or taste chocolate, or get a hug. It's cold, someone doesn't have a blanket, or a book to snuggle to, no friend, perhaps no parent. The most painful fact about it is none of them chose where they are. None of them chose their parents, or their disease, or their society. And I'll devote a whole blog later on what you and I can do to change this, but for today I just wanted to celebrate the life of these kids .. wherever they are, whoever they may be. If I could break up my smile Id cut it into a million pieces and spread it all over them. They continue to be an inspiration and a passion, a desire to give back and to create a change I want to see and live. I love you all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wemukelwe -- Wamkelekile -- Welcome

So, a friend of mine who always finds a way to criticize me, only to find that her ideas always bring out the best in me, said "Your thoughts are always all over the place, you dont own an organizer or a calendar, yet you remember everything...why dont u just start a blog"..well, truth be told neh, I have piles and stacks of journals I wrote in since I was in Primary school, anything from having a crush on my Tae-Kwon-Do instructor (who later married my Math teacher and left me my first heartbreak) to thoughts on where I would see myself in a year, two years, whatever was happening around me, be it walking down Manzini's dusty streets on my way from a 9 hour schoolday, or meeting street kids on the way who, ironically, always inspired me to be better. Well, I am better. not the best yet, but better. And I have a blog online now, yay! I can stop browsing through pages trying to find out what the fight I had with a random new-comer after morning prayers was all about back then in Standard 5.

I'm interested in many things, Ive been told I talk too much and the way I tell stories, "I make green peas sound interesting". Basically to say, I overexaggerate. True, but this is why we are mad bored in Biochem class. The true facts are never interesting. Maggi Spices and Knorr soup on the other hand....can give the chicken some new life (in the stomach). But I'm starting this blog not to ramble on about myself, albeit the fact that I am a very interesting person and you know you would love to know about me...well, wait. On second thought, Maybe i'll do that occasionally. Check.
But really, my greatest passions are Swaziland, Africa, People, Music and Infectious Diseases. So you will be reading alot about the above. I particularly want to bring more awareness to Health issues of all sorts, and to celebrate people, and music. By music, I really just mean African music. But hei! that Beyonce, I love her jo. She is definitely a guilty pleasure. But Beyonce's been talked about a little too much (to gaging reflexes), on the other Malaika hasnt. Maybe you can also get an inside scoop on whats going on in my life :-). Right now though, I'm on my way to my favorite class. Epidemiology. Ah! love it. Did you know 50% of circumsized men dont know they are circumsized? Ridiculas!