A Taste of Gullah: A Web Series from Down South

DSC_0333Hi, I’m Professor Janice Marie Collins of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign…Welcome to a Taste of Gullah, A Web Series from Down South….I’m so glad you could join me.      There is a wonderful somewhat hidden treasure right here in America that I’d like to tell you about….       It’s believed to be hundreds and hundreds of years old and in some way, shape or form, you’re probably connected to it…I’m speaking of the Gullah culture.     What’s Gullah, you may ask? Well, you may not think you know anything about the Gullah culture, but if you’ve ever eaten chocolate covered peanuts called “Goobers”- perhaps at the movies….or if you’ve ever dipped into a pot of Gumbo… maybe heard the story of the tortoise and the hare … or how about the Disney character Uncle Remus? Have you ever heard of him? Ok, wait…I have one for you…have you ever sung a verse or two or ten of “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore,” or everyone’s campfire favorite, “Kumbaya”? Well, If you have, I’m pleased to inform you that you, indeed, have at least experienced, indirectly perhaps, a little Gullah Culture by way of Africa.  (more…)

Let the Sun go down on me Elton…just for a minute. It’s hot!

It’s January 4, 2014, 2:14 in the morning and I’m up writing on my laptop because I can’t sleep. I woke up rubbing my arms a little and felt something a little different.

IMG_1627Yep, I have a heat rash. When there is no escaping the heat I knew this was bound to happen or at least a good possibility. So, I decided to get up and try and get some fresh air. I’m writing from a sofa out on the back porch. Tomorrow, meaning Monday, first thing in the morning, we will head to Moyamba District for one day. It’s a Province and I’m not sure if it’s going to be any better there. I thought about going out to the front porch, near the ocean breeze but I didn’t want to wake Sylvia up…Mary’s sister that went through the war. I didn’t want her to hear the front door open in the middle of the night, which is something and a sound she may not be used to, and have a flashback. That may not be good for her or me. (more…)

January 4th, Reflections of Sierra Leone: Extensions, Additions to previous post plus a new one…

IMG_1448January 3, 2014…

If I haven’t told you, I’m now staying with Mary Bangura. We’re staying at  her sister’s home. It is a very nice home, TV’s, nice furniture, decorated very nicely and sits across the street from the ocean and the ocean breeze. There is a lot of room. Just down the hall a cousin lives in a few rooms with her children. There are also nieces and nephews who live between the top and bottom floor. There are also grandchildren I think…who also live here. All in all, I think I have seen close to 12 or 15 family members, including some sisters. The brothers and uncles come over each day to see Mary and to see if we need anything. When they are around you don’t have to lift anything heavy. And that is really nice. (more…)

…And so I write again…

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My view Kent Beach

January 2, 2014…

It is now one day passed New Years Day and I’m at the home of the Director of the Open Government Initiative. A beautiful morning with fishing boats, fishermen, a beautiful sunrise and beautiful ocean waves. (more…)

Returning to My Mother’s Land

A Sierra Leonean Woman African Beauty

A Sierra Leonean Woman
African Beauty

December 22 or 21st , I’m not sure but it’s a Sunday…I think..

After traveling for 27 hours by car, plane, shuttle, shuttle again, plane, boat, then car…we finally made it to Ishmil’s house, Kadia’s brother. It is really nice…with security, security walls, and security doors. He made us African chicken and rice, which means free-range and the meat can be a bit tougher but it was spicy and delicious. We had refreshing water as well. One of Kadia’s bags, an important one was left behind by accident by the flight crew and my makeup bag with all of my makeup was left somewhere as well,,. The good kind of makeup bag where you have all of the “trusties” that have been working for YEARS…you simply keep replacing the…so, I thought, well there’s a blessing in everything. But, I was also thinking, I know God may have wanted me to get back to my roots but with NO MASCARA! A little EYELINER? No? I don’t think he wanted me to go THIS native! Not cute…But, I handled it…smiling… (more…)

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