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The Issue of Poverty(AGAIN) PT. I

8 Jun

Been sitting on this one for the past week, been digesting it. Debating whether or not to sound off on it. But there is a burning desire to.

Many of us in the community talking about global poverty, like it’s some issue to tackle on some high level. And while it costs big dollars to mobilize change, it’s really not rocket science. And while it does serve some governments to keep their people poor and uneducated, let’s abandon that notion and just deal with the bottom line… It’s not difficult to understand. The Poor exist and we need to fix it somehow.

Learned that over the past year, (and probably longer), there has been a homeless person living in my backyard in Jamaica. At first, I thought it was just someone “stealing” from me, but then learned that no, a person had been living there at night. Showering, using our water and taking refuge. Got a hefty bill of $30K JMD. Which is like $350CDN. Not much in the grand scheme of things. But enough to make me further comprehend how bad the situation has become in Jamaica. There are people who need a place to live. To shower. To eat. To sleep. To do bodily functions in private.

Those with millions and billions are trying to decide how best to spend their money on solving poverty on a global scale but honestly, in the time it takes to talk about it, there are people who need help right now on the local scale who are suffering and in need right now.

I understand that governments are corrupt, I understand that organizations are corrupt, I understand that some people are corrupt. I understand all of that. I am not attacking those trying to solve the issue, I suppose my anger is towards the Jamaican government AGAIN, for letting it get this bad.

I suppose it’s one more thing to add on my TO DO list…

I have more thoughts on this…
To Be Continued…

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“DUSHI” / CURAÇAO

12 May

Just returned from another lovely trip to the Caribbean in beautiful Curaçao. Stayed at the Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino. The accommodations were adequate, the food was great. The weather was gorgeous, the sea was amazing. And I was able to see a small portion of the island… and had a fantastic time!

However there were some dark moments, which unfortunately put a cloud over the entire trip. They say you never have a 2nd chance to have a 1st impression. It is sad that such a beautiful experience was marred by the action of a few.

What I experienced was very different and on a whole other level of ridiculous and unacceptable. And my story, along with other Black people, and other shades of Black, Indian – was unique to us. A group of us were systematically and repeatedly racially profiled on the resort, and consistently carded several times a day. In addition, my mother and I were attacked by a local in the casino – whereby the manager of the casino did absolutely nothing, denied any responsibility and took the side of the guy who accused us of stealing his slot machine card. On top of all this, we all felt an overwhelming nagging sense that the staff were too busy to attend to us. Like we did not belong there or something. It was a sad state all around.

And it wasn’t even “White” on “Black” racism, where one could identify it, and protest it. This was BLACK ON BLACK racism. My OWN PEOPLE were doing this to me and us. What for? They actually stopped us on the resort several times a day, asking our names and room numbers at a checkpoint. It was a degrading and tiring experience – as though we were intruding on their turf, or sneaking in without paying. When TRUTH be told, if you examined the bank accounts of the Black people on the resort you would see quite a different tale. Meaning, Blacks have MONEY. Get over it! We have money and we will spend it where ever we choose. But of course we’re not allowed to go anywhere nice.

Nevertheless, I spoke to the management about it and I wasn’t stopped again. And the other people who protested – they were also given a “pass.” But I know that’s just my situation, and our situation. Who knows when they’ll stop the next?

I have experienced the former type of racism in my childhood and youth, believe me, and was probably better equipped to deal with it, because I knew what it was. But even now, almost in my mid-30s, I’m still not equipped to deal with this sense that “I am not/should not be allowed to be somewhere or do something, because I am of colour.” It’s a notion I’ve never been exposed to in my life. I’ve always had opportunities afforded to me, and have never had any type of obstacle professionally or personally, in Canada. So, when I go to the Caribbean, where I feel like this should be my “second home,” and am treated like a 2nd class citizen, my heart breaks and that’s all there is to it.

Oddly I do not / cannot blame the people who did this, and the culture that surrounds them and how they treat people. How can I? They are a product of their environment, of their own history, and of their own slavery.  They are constantly reminded of it, and perhaps can’t escape it. They are a product of their own mental slavery.

Despite this tragic tarnish, I had a FANTASTIC time with my madre 😀 And enjoyed her hilarious antics when she threatened to beat the guy with her cane, and nearly did to the casino manager.  So at least I know I was well-protected! 😉

Onto the next trip!

😀

sunset2 mum & me 2 port dushi fire14 sign2

Movie on the Marina

1 Jul

And so our circumnavigating the Caribbean saw us again in Cuba… it’s becoming my 3rd home. And while each trip has its indelible moments, this particular trip seemed to bring the most joy and comfort. I went to visit a friend who works in Cuba, and chose Marina Veradero because it was closest to his home, and because it was a newly built resort.

The resort itself, was fantastic, clean and spacious, friendly staff… but the details are what makes the experience. And while I am satisfied with bare bones accommodations, I think certain improvements and higher standards would have made it an exceptional experience. If you raise the bar – you’ll get higher! 😉

It’s apparent that there is a forward-thinking strategy occurring with the building of this type of resort. Anticipating perhaps a new clientele in the future… from a very close, yet distant neighbour? It’s very ambitious. But they’d need to increase the wow-quality if they want to ‘keep’ them. The resort had three distinct vibes, the pool vibe, the beach vibe, and the marina vibe.. which resembles the St.Maarten boardwalk scene – with supermarkets, small shops, cafes, and places to lounge around.

Again, I met amazing people on this trip, from Toronto, England, Germany, Switzerland, and of course meeting the Cubans. The highlight of meeting new friends is what makes the experience fulfilling. I love the Caribbean vibe the most, because it’s more community-oriented, sharing and giving. We went around, bummed on the beach, and another  purpose of the trip was my health recovery, so I attempted to do that.

I am a great supporter of traveling, I feel it’s the best form of education you can achieve. You learn about other people and their cultures, gain breadth in your thinking and mindset, hopefully become open and available to new possibilities for yourself and for others, and again hopefully recognize what you have and become thankful for everything even more when you get home. I think if more people traveled, they’d be more enlightened, more appreciative, more accepting of others, and less judgmental. Or perhaps each has their own journey to have and lessons to learn, and either way.. traveling just enhances that experience.

I think of trips as mini-movies, where you can lose yourself for a moment, become that lead protagonist and have that star-quality moment and shine. I always feel more confident when I return from a trip, always ready for the next one. 😉

Are you ready for the next trip? I’m packing! 😀
condo view

the marina3

beach hat

on the beach

 

Give Your Love As A Gift

9 Mar

The Story of Mariam

I frequent a particular make-up store, and have been recognized by one of the sales associates, Mariam. One day last Summer she asked me, “Where’ve you been? Haven’t seen you in so long!” I explained that I had been on a series of trips with my mum and friends, and she became curious.

We stood there in the middle of the store talking about life, love, traveling and family. She confessed to me that she’d love to go on a trip to Cuba, but was saving up enough money to see her extremely ill sister in El Salvador. This broke my heart. Both of us bawling uncontrollably, next to the eyeshadow and mascara.

We consoled each other, and I left her feeling a sense of fullness and emptiness at the same time. On one hand, realizing yet again, how precious life is, and how fortunate I am to have this time to share with my mum traveling around. And on the other hand, emptiness and helplessness, as I couldn’t help her situation, short of sending her to El Salvador.

I left and immediately wanted to lift her spirits somehow. I returned to see her three days later, with a little gift for her. It was one of those old school espresso makers attached to a pack of Cuban coffee. It was a souvenir from my last trip in May. I explained it was a little piece of Cuba, UNTIL she found her way there. More uncontrollable bawling, next to the blush.

Since that moment, I cannot tell you what an impact she has had on my life. It’s a privilege to know her and spend time with her. This experience has moved me in a way I had never expected or anticipated. That one gesture activated a series of exchanges, moments and gifts that never end… and now that I am on a medical hiatus, she has been so helpful and loving. I’m so grateful to thankful to know her. I didn’t and wasn’t expecting anything when I gave her that little token. I just wanted her to know that I was thinking about her and the situation.

The moral of this story has been repeated a million times, but I’m restating it. If you purposely and with intent, GIVE, no matter how big or small… it will come back to you in ways that you didn’t even know or realize you needed. Just Give Your Love as a Gift. It doesn’t have to be a physical gift, it could be a gesture or good deed. Just Give. You’d be surprised what happens as a result.

Stay tuned for The Story of Pearl…

lurve!

WOMAN OF HOUSE

19 Jul

The event Woman of House – is the brainchild of my friend Enza Ruscillo. From a place of inner-strength, she created the event to celebrate the beauty of women – through the bond of house music, and honour the magic that happens when they come together and empower one another. The event celebrates women, but is for EVERYONE! This is exactly what we need right now, and I absolutely love the concept. I’m so excited to be a part of it!

Magic truly happens when we empower women!

The first event is Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at Ultra SupperClub Rooftop Patio. Show starts at 8pm with Lucy Tic, Kymm Dee & Adam Fairhurst, and performances by PIP & Eden Fieldstone & Albeeno. Get ready. Bring your dancing shoes. Don’t miss this! Free before 10pm.

** Tip: there will be 100 swag bags from over 18 sponsors given away at the event!

Below is my contribution to the swag bags. 🙂


my contribution of 35 custom designed eco-cards :: complete collection http://steffycards.wordpress.com

the unexpected benefits of travel

11 May

I hate travel.
And I think I recognized that early on, and also that
that hatred throws a person into a kind of clarity
that is never achieved at home, in the same old overcoat.
You always feel when traveling that you have the wrong clothes
and the wrong face
and the wrong accent
and it’s good to dislodge all of those categories.

So I remember the first trip to a very different place
was a trip I took to Rome.
And I wrote an essay about that.
And it was so horrible
that I really thought I would never leave home again.
But I did learn from doing that
to take notes on the horror while it’s happening.

I also remember that the reason why I wrote an essay about that
because on the plane trip home–
I think it was Air Italia
they had a whole lot of magazines
and the stewardess let me cut them up
and made a kind of storybook of the horrors of the trip
and then when I got home
I added some words to the pictures and it turned into an essay.
So I mean, travel has these unexpected benefits.

-in conversation with Anne Carson


(re)inspiration

10 May

It was a light & delightful film.

If you haven’t seen Cooking with Stella, give it a watch. It was inspirational for me on a very creative level. Not simply for delicious culinary tips, but it highlighted the desire to learn, to be taught, the cultivation of inspiration & passion, and for the desire to (re)adapt. And it’s true, the most improvisational and creative moments in life, emerge at times when we need to assimilate, either forcefully or otherwise, to adjust to a new situation, either self-inflicted or otherwise, or to simply find a new voice.