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BBB Guate Takeover, Day 7 – Final thoughts from Deuce

24 Jun

My last day here was fun as soon as we got back to Guatemala City from Antigua, I went to go eat lunch. It was fun, you know why? Because there was a playground at the restaurant.

Well, me and Sheila went to play on it, there were a lot of obstacles and it was fun! After that I went to eat and then I went back over there after I ate and played soccer with some boys there.

Tomorrow, it’s time to go. See you guys soon. Hasta pronto!

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BBB Guate Takeover Day 6, Deuce and the ChocoMuseo

23 Jun

Hola, today I am going to be talking about my time at the ChocoMuseo and Museo Jade. First let’s begin with the ChocoMuseo. My experience in the ChocoMuseo well it was quite fascinating and fun.

I also got to try the grinder were they grind the chocolate which was fun because I enjoy crushing things so I enjoyed and also I got to try different types of chocolate.

Now time for the Museo Jade it had lots of jewelry and artifacts which was pretty cool. And also the jewelry there was so nice and pretty.

Man, I wish you guys were there! Their food is delicious and they set it up fancy.

I hoped you enjoyed and I hope you come next year.

BBB Guate Takeover, Day 5 – Es Deuce otra vez!

22 Jun

Despite being “on the mend,” Deuce still wanted share his thoughts about Day 5. More pics than words, but he took all but two of the pictures!

Today we went to a coffee plantation and our tour guide told us some interesting stories about the coffee. Well he told us that the coffee will be shipped off to other countries.

We also went to the ruins of a church that was destroyed in the 1770’s which was interesting because I went to where they keep the priest when they die and it was pretty dark but awesome.

He’s short but sweet today folks, he’s determined to get in this ChocoMuseo tomorrow with little disruption from his tummy!

BBB Guate Takeover, Day 4 – Mama’s biggest fear

21 Jun

So first off, today’s post is a little late. Second, you’re probably reading the title and panicking a little.

No te preocupes

Today’s post is late because of the tittle but the title is way more exaggerated than the actual concern. So Deuce got sick while overseas. One, it’s to be expected for his first time out. Two, there are so many silver linings and positive spins and lessons learned from all of it.

Goodness, Kami! ¿Qué pasó, already?

I want to start by saying your child will more than likely get sick for a portion of your overseas travel until they have traveled enough for the their tummies to get used to the changes. As twisted as it may sound, we do so much to our food in the USA that truly fresh food prepared without all the extra muck and preservatives throws our kiddies tummies for a bit a of a loop. All the kids on the trip were sick yesterday, but it was all good!

We got to ease into Antigua. This was my first time staying in the Hotel we are in and even though it is a bit removed from the Plaza Central (about a 5 block walk) it is still a quite peaceful jewel in the city.

We had lunch at one the local smoothies shops I like (you know, natural minded mom remedies) as we were leaving it happened……my biggest fear while traveling with kids…..Deuce throws up the entire smoothie on the sidewalk!

After doing a bit of damage control with him, I happened upon a little homeopathic shop and got him some digestive tea (silver lining #1, that place has natural remedies for all the things I would need while traveling!)

As we were going back to assess street damage, I was reminded by two Antiguans in so many words:

“Girl you gotta clean that up!”

Okay that was a Kami translation, but, silver lining #2, how many places have you gone domestic or abroad where folks will remind you to respect their city like that?

Now I knew, so I was planning on cleaning it up anyway, but a few folks jumped in to help. They saw baby boy feeling a little meh AND embarrassed and quickly jumped in so that we can clean it up fast and get back to the hotel.

It reminded me how friendly and family friendly Antigua is (silver lining #3). I had to keep them from buying him lemons off the street to help him feel better!

It was an adventurous day to say the least, but by the end of it, he is now feeling MUCH better. And he was still amazed at seeing Volcano Fuego up close!

BBB Guate Takeover, Day 3 – Planes no son seguros

20 Jun

They say the best laid plans……well, you know the rest. I had the FABULOUS idea to include the Museo Miraflores, and interactive family museum about Mayan history and culture as a part of the itinerary for Day 3. However, there is currently a COMPLETE overhaul of the museum (it literally was ripped down to the foundation, something NOT mentioned on the website) and we had to make do. Luckily enough, the museum is attached to a mall…..

Y’all went all the way to Guatemala to go the mall, Kami? For real?!

But look at the logic: The mall had a play park inside (AND A BOOKSTORE more on that later), the kids were able to run around on their own in order to blow off steam and it made getting through the Museo Popol Vuh and Museo Ixchel that much more calm. These museums also talk about Mayan history and culture, but with much less interaction (they’re housed together on a college campus).

Toad altar Museo Popol Vuh

Miniature Urn, Museo Popol Vuh

Mayan clothing in Modern Times, Museo Ixchel

The good thing about Popol Vuh is they had a scavenger hunt for the kids. At first, my tween wanted to act like he was too cool, but soon enough they were on the floor trying to compare answers (well really Deuce was giving answers).

What’s usually helpful to be adaptable when traveling with children. This came in handy today. The other thing (me putting on the academic hat now), the arc of culture shock comes faster with kids, and they are not always sure of how to handle the range of emotions. That was MY child today and blowing off some time in the play park did wonders for his adjustment!

Mañana, Antigua….

OH! Learned a valuable tip about transportation today: Although usually it’s a good idea to cultivate relationships with the taxi drivers, please trust e when I say the relationship should be with whoever is the hotel taxi! The wallet almost caught a bad one working with an airport taxi driver. If I hadn’t been to Guatemala before I might have missed it. Luckily I knew that our trip today was only supposed to cost 40Q, he charged twice that! Y qué?! Nah man, we not doing that and you just lost business to Antigua. #sorrynotsorry

Boy bye!

BBB Guate Takeover, Day 2 – Deuce is up!

19 Jun

This is me at dinner this evening. We went to a restaurant that cooked Mayan food.

Guatemalan history has a lot of rare and interesting detail. Many people like me would like to learn more about the history of Guatemala. There is also Guatemalan history in making deals with each other at the market.

Today, I went to the market and tried what they call bargaining. I was surprised, because I did not know you could actually do that in Guatemala because I thought Guatemala shopping rules were similar to American shopping rules so I was surprised and also happy.

This is the outside of the Palacio Nacional. The guide said they were cleaning the upside of the building, that’s why the black covers are up

I also went to visit a fancy palace called Palacio Nacional and that palace was BIG, nice, and fancy and I like the way it was built. I enjoyed it, the picture below is one of the many flags at the palace but this one is special. Do you know why? Because it has some details on it that many of the flags do not have. This flag is different because there is a scroll in the center of the flag. I heard that the scroll at the center of the flag means the struggles and the victories of the Guatemalans. This is my day two of the Guate take over.

This is when we visited the Salon de recepciones with the big flag in the center

Hasta pronto familia!

Deuce

BBB Guate Takeover, Day 1 – ¡Ya estamos!

17 Jun

Day 1 and we have ARRIVED in Guatemala! Hooray! Baby boy has not been on a plane for a minute so he got to enjoy himself fully…down to a pic in the cockpit!

Guatemala for me is just a welcome back, but it is always so interesting to see it through fresh eyes, this time I get the joy and honor of seeing it through fresh adult eyes and fresh child eyes!

As a travel day, we were pretty low key. Checking in to the hotel walking a bit around the surrounding area. One thing I will suggest, don’t be too zealous on the first day with littles. Think about how much travel takes you out, and double that for children. Between the excitement of traveling and the subsequent downshift that comes with it SIEMPRE, there will be a range of emotions from everyone, YOU included. It worked really well to just walk a bit to the local mall, eat a little something and then go to a play area. THAT WAS THE MOST MAGICAL 10 MINUTES of the day!

Seriously, as parents, we got to sit and the kids ran for a bit AND nobody objected to laying it down for a bit after.

SCORE 1 for the win!!!!!!!!!!

TRAVELING WITH MY NOW TWEEN: everything is shiny and new. I would suggest having talks about window shopping and searching for better deals. This tween is quick to spend all the Quetzales hoy día!

DEUCE’S PERSPECTIVE:

I was soooooooo excited and now that I am here, I am enjoying the beautiful culture of Guatemala. I really liked seeing the street vendors and the sidewalk markets. They have really cool clothing here too! I feel pretty good about my Spanish. I am able to communicate with people. I can’t wait to go to the Palacio and the markets tomorrow!

I had to have him write his part first, because now he is FAST ASLEEP!

Hasta mañana, mi gente!

Guate Bound, BABY

3 Jun

My baby boy dancing is only a small piece of how excited I am!

Kami where they heck have you been?! It’s been real quiet in these blog parts…

Building is the short answer. But, here are the deets:

Since my last post I have officially becoming a “recovering academic.” I left my job at the university to pursue my own business and I AM LOVING IT! If you care to see what I’ve been up to, you can visit Here:

But this new business venture does NOT mean I do not still have content for this blog, in fact, it’s why I’m posting today. I am about to take a group to Guatemala I order to experience the country as Black families learning Spanish!

So you know what that means…..POSTS and more POSTS are coming!

I will be sharing not only our experiences as a group, but that guy in the boomerang above will be a co-contributor. He’ll be writing and posting a bit too as he experiences the country for the first time!

How cool is that?!

We embark June 17th, look out for our first post then.

Until June 17th, Hasta pronto!

St. Lucia and the Black Briton Holiday

16 May

Victor Provost, Steel Drum musician at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival


I was fortunate to have my family contribute to a much needed Mother’s Day vacation.  Our destination…St. Lucia for the Jazz Festival.  Now when I say that my family contributed, this is in every aspect of the word.  From getting us here, to staying and watching our FOUR children for SEVEN days, the undertaking was huge.

I was really, REALLY trying to make this trip all about relaxing with my husband, experiencing lots of live music and basking a bit in the Caribbean sun.  However, as you should know by now, my trips are never just “leisure.” My eyes are always open to trends, nuances and the next research project.  My husband and I did have an agreement, that I would do only “dreaming” and no “working” while on this trip, but my mind always goes to the trends.

It may be because I just got back from London with my students, it may be that I am just always keenly observant of people of color traveling, whatevs, but I did notice something that was worth talking about here.

Island view from a sunset cruise in the Caribbean Sea


There were a lot, I mean A LOT of Black Britons (Black folks from London) on the island this week.  Now granted, there was a big London-based promotion company hosting a good deal of the Jazz Fest events, but I had to take a minute to think this all the way through.  

My rough estimation, if it took us 4 hours to fly here from our big little Southern city, then, it must have taken at minimum 8 hours for this contingent to fly from the UK to St. Lucia, right? This is where I finally get to the point:

That’s a whole lot of intentionality to take a “holiday.” A good deal of Londoners, stay in Europe: South of France, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.  For a large group of Black folks to decide to “hop on a plane” for 8 hours to go to the Caribbean, justifies a lot of the rationale I have for having this blog in the first place (that is, at least what I am telling myself and it would be great if you just roll with me, mmkay?)

There is a way, that even in relaxing, some of us just want to be around others of us.  Yes, I am clear, that many of these folks may have had relatives or roots on island, but there were also quite a few who did not…and came ANYWAY.  Sometimes, we just want to be our fullest of selves amongst other people being their fullest of selves in similar ways and not worry about anything else but just being.  It’s why I choose to relax in countries where I know there is a black population, and it’s why I tell you all about these places so you can plan accordingly.

So……a whole bunch of writing just say, I was completely full with what I saw.  I felt as though this desire to be amongst my own is not just a “me” thing, that there are plenty of other folks who are doing it.  I know this is not a revelation, but I love it as if it is.  Since I love it like a brand new toy, I’m showing it off.

Bon soir,

Sunset, the view from our villa

Reflexivity and Big BOLD next steps

18 Apr

My resting face as I daydream and plot moves

So, since I’ve been back from London, I have had so many thoughts run through my head.  One has been reflecting on the ways in which I am a contributor to the privileges of those who do not look like me and an enabler to the covetousness of those privileges for those who do look like me.  In plain English, I took a large group of students who were, for the majority, of the power dominant group to a country with a deep, rich history in conquest and imperialist power.  Overall, they LOVED the trip (that’s a good thing but my critical bend sees the problem with it too).  There was a small group of students of color who also went on the trip, but were so mesmerized by embracing and coveting the “high culture” of London, that they looked down on and even disparaged any person of color that they encountered. It was a bit embarrassing, and I felt empathy for each person they encountered negatively.  I wanted to do more than what I did to fix it and them.  But then I had to take a step back.

This side of me learned the art of cool, calm intellectual clap back this trip.


As a scholar who centers Blackness in just about everything that I do, I felt as though I failed.  However, my time to reflect shows me I need to look forward not backward.  How can I contribute to those who are not yet “semi-grown” and knowing it all?  I have a non-profit that just needs a boo$t to launch and guinea pigs in my house.

I know. They’re adorbs, right?!

I have four children, all under the age of 7 years old (I know, I know).  These children deserve to see a world that centers them and values their blackness, their awesome and their ancestral history of intelligence, authenticity, service to others and nurturing. They also need to effortlessly center themselves in every position they find themselves in life.  Center themselves not just because others don’t, but because they know enough about where they come from that they can see it no other way but to be at the table whether by open invitation or necessity.

So I’ve been thinking about how can I make this world my children’s classroom?  How do I expose others while I am teaching my own?  What would it take?  What do I need to do?  How would I need to plan?  Heck, where do I start?  I’m thinking, plotting, strategizing, in the lab in BOLD new ways.



Right now, I’m not sure how this is going to end up.  But I am focusing on it so that by year’s end, big confident steps and strides have been made.

That’s all I got.  Me brain dumping all my current questions in order to start this plan “officially.” Do any of you have experience with global classrooms, traveling with small children and/or unschooling?  Please comment below.  That would be most helpful.
Oh, wait.  I guess I need to bring the hubster up to speed, huh?
Ciao,

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