You are awakened by the faint sound of gospel hymns coming from the stereo in the kitchen. The steam from that delicious, hot cocoa, brewing on the stove, swells through the house. It’s Saturday morning and there’s just enough time to utter a short prayer, put on some slacks and head to the market with mother. The undeniable smell of fish greets you on entering. Brightly-coloured peppers glisten in the dew. Potatoes clinging to their brown coats, rows of fruit of varying shapes and sizes line the tables. Women, men and unwilling children trailing behind them, crowd the walk-way. Ahhh, what could be better than this?
Okay, sooo…I am not, and probably will never be a “market” girl. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against people who like going to the market – I’m just not one of them. My mother (God bless her soul) took me once. Between dodging puddles of water, dripping from the produce, fist-fighting the pungent smell of fish and battling my way through the crowd – I decided that I preferred my seasoning come in tightly sealed bottles, purchased at the grocery store. Beyond that, dining out was always a thing. Then Mr. Covid came for an unexpected visit and decided to overstay his welcome. The cases and deaths increased daily and several restrictions were implemented, which included the eventual closure of restaurants/food places.
And so it began; the wave of home cooking broke the internet! Pictures of home cooked meals flooded social media as people like myself, got re-acquainted with that magical place called ‘the kitchen’. I religiously searched online for new recipes and interesting ways to add flair to everyday meals. Now, I live with family members who have co-morbidities and at times asthma could get the better of me; so I needed to find a way to limit my grocery outings on a whole
That’s when I came across Harvest 2 Home. They were promoting delivery services of provision, fruit and vegetable packages straight to your door. Honestly, at first I was a bit apprehensive. I’d always heard about being able to choose the best pick of fruits and veggies for yourself, at the market. I’m a bit of an indecisive person, so I delayed for a while before actually making the purchase.
Contacting them was the easy part and by the following Friday, my order arrived. From the Sweet potatoes, to chive, to garlic to an extra portion of broccoli I added to the order- not one blemish or defect found , much to my delight. It was like the market came to my doorstep y’all!But seriously though, being able to rely on this service to deliver exactly what they promised in the way that they said they would, and in a timely manner, was a breath of fresh air. The ease of access to the company’s reps and the regular updates were duly welcomed.
So if you find yourself stuck indoors like me, or in need of a break from running errands, it may be time you start ‘harvesting’ from home.
Natural Hair Ain’t Easy. I Know! But Now It’s Handled.
At the age of four the song “Chutney Bacchanal” by Trinidad’s Chris Garcia was permeating through the airwaves. I loved that song and the man with ‘the hair’ behind it. (I wanted hair that silky – so long and flowing).
By the age of six, I was travelling frequently with my family to the States. I lived for the excitement associated with visiting a different country – the packing, the airports and the journey. But my highlight back then was interacting with the flight attendants. These slender beauties with well made up faces and long flowing hair. (Oh, the hair!)
Fast forward to the age of seven and my mother began a series of two-strand twists with a semblance too close to her own locs, much to the displeasure of the religious primary school I was attending. Needless to say, after one note too many, she visited the school and that was the last time I saw the building.
By the age of eight, during my playtime, I adorned my crown with t-shirts and modelled my way through our home garden. The plants and flowers would clap as I ripped the gravel runway.
Around age 10, I was of the strong belief that ‘straight’ was better and the bathroom sink saw me every 6 weeks resisting the burning of that ‘pink stuff’ as I battled my way to shoulder-length hair.
On the other side of S.E.A was a sea of girls dressed in uniforms and varying hairstyles. To be mixed meant you were favoured for that “good hair” and I was disqualified from that race a long time ago when my parents met. So braids became a thing.
But at age 12, between the stress of maintaining extensions and power-pointing the importance of keeping up with the latest hair trends to my non-negotiable parents, I opted to join my mother on her loc journey.
For the next 14 years of my life I would fall madly in love with my hair. I’d admit I started locs for all the wrong reasons. But something about those tightly woven strands made me feel powerful. It became my identity and I embraced it fully. I would be known as ras, rasta barbie, loc queen and every other derivation of the word. My locs were me and I – it.
This would all come to a crashing halt at the age of 26 when a dye touch up resulted in weekly hair shedding rituals. I camped in denial for months. Thinning locs that no potion of oil and prayers could save. In a panic I remember reaching out to a loctician and her words echoed throughout my body, “You have to cut it in order to save it”.
Here I was scissors in hand as the blonde boulders tumbled down in my near Sampson moment. I would have given anything at that point to return to the moment right before that last dye appointment. The irony of dye literally killing my hair. Somewhere in there was a life lesson that I would learn over the next two years.
I had to sit with myself, sit beside myself , sit and face myself in the mirror and grow to accept, like, then love what I saw looking back at me. This did not come easy and on top of that, I had to figure out what to do with my hair!
So many options, and I had no clue where to begin. Unsure of what could work and what couldn’t, I stumbled upon ‘Hub for Natural Hair.’
This subscription based gift box was a way for me to test out different hair products monthly. I’ve had so much fun with this new journey of growth. And I think having the opportunity to be guided in this way helped boost my confidence. So whether I’m rocking my afro, a twist out or curls – my identity , my strength doesn’t come from the style I choose, but from me. And as the song says , ‘I am not my hair , I am not this skin but I am the soul that lives within’.
How I ended my “Period Poverty”…One Roll At a Time.
What do you think about when you hear the term “Period Poverty”? For me there’s a certain level of shame that I’ve clung on to each time the topic’s come up. I mean after all, you can’t afford to buy pads???
At the age of 17, I was thrust into the world of adulting with things like rent to consider. I was fortunate to obtain a job fresh out of school but had so much to learn about budgeting, parenting myself and a whole host of other things. The luxuries that I was used to at home now seemed like a foreign concept. How was I going to afford personal toiletries, groceries , rent, and other expenses, all while on an entry level salary.
Every payday I rock- paper- scissored which commitment I would honour. This was a monthly dilemma. And to adapt to this change in lifestyle I had to get creative. That meant recycling food, reducing my wants and buying only necessities, repurposing items etc. I was honestly okay with doing these things. I had friends who were struggling the same way and we exchanged horror stories and shared small victories along the way.
But the thing that we never spoke about was the very thing that made me feel the most embarrassed. Pads were expensive and my flow was a bit on the heavy side. So I always tripled up on padding (yes it’s a thing).
I decided that I would buy at least one pack of pads a month. I considered pads a luxury and would only use it on days I was in office. Toilet paper on the other hand would be used when I was at home (as it was already something that I had to purchase) and it could help “stretch the pads” . (I said what I said)
Soon, the cost of living would go up, and further cuts had to be made to my personal spending. I desperately became dependent on the toiletries supplied at work. I would go to the restroom and gather as much of the paper as possible and save for later when I was at home. And on weekends I would use old t-shirts on rotation for coverage. This went on for some time.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could I stoop so low and take toilet paper from work? Why didn’t I just reach out to someone? Why didn’t I ask for help?
But, before you judge me, answer this, who was I going to call? There were no agencies , no organisations that I knew of at the time that supplied free pads. Funny enough though, I could collect all the samples of condoms in the world for free. But pads – the thing I needed for something that I had no control over, something that made me a woman- was not prioritized. Nor, were there safe spaces that I could go and share my struggles on this issue.
Fast forward to the present day – it’s 2021 and local groups such as Helping Her Foundation (@helpinghertt) and Feminitt Caribbean (@feminitt) are demystifying the misconceptions surrounding periods and safe cycles. The #EndPeriodPoverty campaign all over the world and even at home is being championed to assist women and girls in having free access to sanitary napkins.
But its more than just a hashtag. There is much work to be done physically and the emotional support required is just as great. Back then I wished someone had told me that there was nothing to be ashamed of.
I’ve come to the realisation that there are many who have faced similar difficulties. If you’ve never had this issue to deal with then consider yourself blessed so that you can lend assistance to those women/girls in need. But if you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Help is just a phone call or DM away.
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