Grandma is out of her second surgery and resting comfortably. #ThankYou #IStillHaventSleptTho

 Hola Chicas,

When I'm planning these international excursions, the first thing I do is search for and reach out to naturals in the area.  Other than a strong desire to turn up with #OurPeople, it's just damn smart to roll with folks that know how to navigate whatever new and strange city you might find yourself in.  That's one of the awesome things about holding a #TeamNatural card-- we're global and we ride for each other.  So yeah, I Googled and searched and hunted and could find nary a natural haired Black woman in all of Southern India!  Go figure. So I gave up, and wouldn't you know it, just when I decided we were on our own, I received an email from Nyasha!  She wanted to let me know that she lives in Mumbai and would make herself available if I needed any advice or wanted to connect.  You couldn't tell me nothing!  I called her immediately and was delighted to learn that not only was she just a few miles away from us, but that she was down for dranks... that night!  #IAmDelivert

And so we met at a fabulous hotel around 7:30pm and spent the next 5 hours gabbing away about everything-- her story, how she ended up in India, her experiences here as a Black woman, how we're both okay meeting up with strangers after one brief email, Ferguson, politics, religion... you name it.  And then my phone started blowing up.  I excused myself to take what was certainly an urgent call from Momma.  She wanted to let me know that Grandma was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

Read On>>>


#HeyHeyHey #GreySweatsErryDay 
@ndvme on IG said- 'he's gonna take the selfie, but he's not happy about it.  Nobody made him take the pic!'

Traveling while Black, Rule #10- Be prepared to be a spectacle

Thankfully though, unlike some of our experiences in Greece, our Indian brethren appear to be serving up genuine curiosity... the same kind we have for them.   When we're kicking down the terrifying street-sidewalk-raceway, dodging rickshaws and entire four person families atop one, single, solitary speeding moped, people look.  Like, look-look.  And they don't look away when you lock eyes either, they just keep staring. And while it made me a bit uncomfortable at first, what I've found is that 99.9% of the time, if I smile, they smile back!  #Voila #Maaaagic. As 'small' as this world is, it's interesting to go to another country full of brown people and feel like an alien.  We're all curious about each other and nothing is more powerful than reaching out across the sometimes massive culture and language gaps to shake the hand of someone who is actually not so different than you after all.  #WeAreAllSpectacles

Case in point, yesterday at the Bandra Bandstand, hubby and I were minding ours, strolling and people watching... probably talking ish too, the usual.  The sun was being rude, so we decided to sit for a while and revel at the beauty of the beach-community bath-laundromat situationIt wasn't five minutes later that a group of smiling, Hindi-speaking gentleman approached us, shook our hands, and gestured for a photo, like this one--

Read On!>>>

Reality Gives: Our Visit to Dharavi in Mumbia, India

Within hours of touching down in Mumbai, India, hubby and I took a trip across town to visit with residents of Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world. It is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, diverse community with a population of nearly 1 million. Unlike similar slums in the region, Dharavi has a very active (but informal) economy-- the leather, textiles and pottery goods produced there by the residents are exported around the world. Dharavi also happens to be the slum featured in Slumdog Millionaire, in fact, many of the actors in the movie are from there.

I was greeted by Joseph Bird of Reality Gives-- a sister organization of an ethically run tour company called Reality Tours & Travel. Reality Tours was created in 2005 by Chris Way and Krishna Pujari. Their main objective was to show the positive side of the slums and to break down negative stereotypes about its residents.  They also saw it as a way to employ locals, increase income for the residents who sell products and services, and as a way to raise money for the community (80% of tour profits are invested in Dharavi). 

taking notes at the Reality Gives headquarters with Joe

Slum tourism is a controversial practice that draws heated debate on all sides. Some claim that it is exploitation of impoverished locals, while others claim that it is a particularly potent form of empowerment. From what I can tell, Reality Gives' initiatives are doing just that—empowering locals, especially the women, and searching for and implementing solutions. 

Read On>>>

All Black in Bombay (and a giveaway)

in the words of the great philosopher Katt Williams- "it's the most nastiest, dirtiest, ugliest, 
most beautiful, wonderful place in all the world". #India 

We made it! Travel time from STL to Mumbai was 24 whole hours and while I felt every bit of it, the airplane had usb ports to charge my technologies, curried meats for the hunger situation and unlimited complimentary wine for the thirsty! #WhereMyGlass

that in-flight menu, tho #Huh

After a pit-stop in Abu Dhabi,  we arrived in Mumbai around 4:20 on Saturday morning but didn't make it to the crib til 7am due to the extra custom lines (Ebola) and general shenanigans (money exchanging, bag finding, hawker dodging, etc.)  We connected with our driver and one terrifying ride later, we arrived at the spot.  #InOnePiece #PraiseHim

Hubby snapped this pic of me backseat driving from the airport to our condo. Pretty sure I pee'd a little. Apparently riding two lanes at a time, at top speed, bumper to bumper, horns laid on, while pedestrians, motorcycles, bikes, and Tuk-Tuk's weave in and between the chaotic mass of vehicles is how they roll.  #AndItWasOnly6am

the digs for part I of our Indian adventures

Peep the View!>>>

Bollywood Bound

Hola Chicas,

It's the day after Christmas and I'm still on a flight to India! #18HoursStrong

For the last four years I've been working with women over seas to tell the stories of curlies around the world.  Together we've raised the profile of several non-profit organizations and educated folks (myself included!) in the process.   I've partied with Jamaican curlies living in Tokyo, and have been welcomed into ethnic neighborhoods in Rio De Janeiro. This time, in partnership with HennaSooq and Romwe, we're taking a work-cation to Mumbai, India.

Read On!>>>

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