[What makes West & Central Afrikan traditions so pan-Afreekan? feel moved to  repost hadithi like these kwasababu, there’s de immense value in harvesting our similarities as we acknowledge & honour those memories  in our ‘bones’]

….Dead chickens, dogs, en flowers serve as a reminder of an aspect of Cuban life that is inevitable even after death, one that has become even more necessary since de periodo especial  economico (special economic period): la necesidad de resolver, or the need to “resolve” tings. Although de dictionary definition of de word resolver is “to resolve”, in Cuba, survival means “resolving” tings in de broadest senseof de word. “Tengo que resolverme alimentos” means “I have to find a way to get myself some food,” to solve de omnipresent problem of food shortages…..

Resolver also implies relying on an informal network of people, both living en deceased, from all parts of one’s life; de more people one knows, de more likely one’s needs will be resuelto, resolved, efficiently. In its earthly context, resolver  means surviving “on top” of de frequent wreckage en ruin of everyday life in Cuba. In its spiritual context, resolver  means helping those who have passed on to the next world to rest peacefully, en persuading de dead to treat de living with care en respect rather than malice en envy. Because the muertos “gave birth” to de santos (los muertos parieron al santo), de wahenga (ancestors) must be consulted first not only in Santeria but other pan-Afrikan ceremonies.

In de context of dis re/post, practitioners of Santeria believe that de dead can influence de living en must be treated with respect, awe en kindness. All people carry a number of dead spirits with them, en these spirits can be beneficent, malicious, or any combination thereof. Through divination (usually with coconut shells or cowrie shells), a Santero can determine de nature, number, en occasionally de specific identities of the dead spirits who accompany his godchildren.

These spirit guides can also be summoned up by misas espirituales (spiritual masses), which are led by practiced morteras (literally, “deaders”; often women, those who can communicate easily with the dead)…..Although de dead are not considered as powerful as de orichas, they allow de divine potential of de

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orichas (orishas/orisas) to manifest itself, en they are believed to be capable of intervening in de lives of humans to effect certain acts of good or evil…..

Talking with the dead takes time and practice, say de elders, but once you talk with them, you can see them, too. They always see you.

…..RELIGIOUS TOURISM: SANTERIA PAYS

…Since the beginning of the periodo especial economico in 1990, daily life in Cuba has become a constant struggle because of de increasing shortages in food, gas, electricity, transportation, en all sorts of material goods. The periodo especial economico is de official euphemism for de severe economic tailspin caused by de economic en political withdrawal of de former Soviet Union, which had for decades subsidized Cuba’s purchase of Soviet gas, oil, en machine parts, en had been paying roughly 3 times the world market price for Cuba’s sugar in an attempt to prop up de island’s failing economy. A chance to resolver one’s own personal oricha (orisha) becomes more attractive in this atmosphere of increasing hardship.

The chance to resolver  one’s material problems is directly related to de swelling ranks of Santeros and Santeras in Cuba: de chance to make some fula (Cuban/Kikongo slang for hard currency). Cubans aren’t the only ones who are becoming initiated into Santeria in

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Cuba. Foreigners from Spain, Mexico, France, Canada, de United States, en other countries in Europe & South America arrive in Havana every moon for de seven-day initiation ceremony.

Cuba is fast becoming a primary destination for “religious tourism,” as it is considered an authentic source for de practice of Santeria, Palo Monte, Arara, en Abakwa…

  foh more of  dis check

[Chapter 7 – RESOLVER AND RELIGIOUS TOURISM IN CUBA Page 204 – 5…212….219 in

Divine Utterances      The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria by Katherine J. Hagedorn ]

[As I look pon de pikin, Bredrin, sistas en elders in mi villages, I yam deeply grateful that spirits brought us together, for they saved not only my life, but have profoundly positively transformed the lives of so many others. dis hadithi ni ya hii upendo for jamii yetu.

revised excerpts from Welcoming Spirit Home – Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community written by one of our sacred leaders, Sobonfu Some.]

In de kijiji, community life is built upon spirit. We know that spirit is constantly present. Spirits bring us clarity, provides inspirashun, allows peace, en gives us all de blessings we need. In a sense, spirit is so incorporated in de fabric of community that it is impossible to disassociate de two. The presence of spirit in community makes it possible for de community to be the guiding light of de tribe….

SPIRIT IS A PART OF US

In my kijiji we do not feel we need solitude. We can have our personal time while we are talking to somebody else. We can have our meditation time while we are in de community context. There is no need to be separated from de group to have solitude. Solitude already exists within the group – it’s a part of de whole. When we start to divide or separate it means that something in de whole is not working for us. Because we have permission to be ourselves within community, we have no need for solitude.

Kwasababu spirit is a continuous part of each of us, it is not necessary for us to take time out to sit quietly en meditate to get close to spirit. Spirit is always with us.

It is common, in my country, to see two people talking and then, simultaneously, pause. In that pause many tings can be happening. They can be meditating, or they can be having personal time to “tune in.” But people will never say, “I have to go be alone.” It’s a foreign concept – it just doesn’t fit.

If you say you need to be alone in our kijiji, people will wonder, “What is it that is not working for you that you have to be alone? What is happening that I should know to support you?”

A changing Afrika has brought alot of pressure in the maisha of our people. Every year when I return nyumbani I find that a new aspect of modern life has been brought into de village. However, many tings such as family, community, en leadership structure remains the same.

We don’t have a leader or chief whom everybody follows. Instead of leaders, our guides are spirit and de wahenga. This is difficult for many people to understand, but the lives of everyone in our community are built upon de foundashun given to us by spirit en de wahenga.

This forces us not only to be our own police but also to take responsibility and to be accountable. It is not up to an individual to take care of someone’s wrongdoing; rather, it is up to de spirit en de wahenga. And, kwasababu we don’t like reporting to these forces, we make sure that we don’t fall into our own traps.

When conflict does arise, people do not run away or move to a new community. They see de conflict as a timely zawadi/gif sent by spirit to clear obstructions in their lives. Conflict is a way to boost closeness in their intimate lives with others. Without conflict to crack open hidden thoughts, meanings, and energies, en without de means of dealing with conflict, a community is bound to stagnate en eventually cease to exist. Conflict, in a sense, is de barometer of a community. The way we deal with conflict tells us about our state of maturity en where we are as individuals as well as community.

The ruling forces that exist in de Dagara tribe are spirit en de wahenga, kwasababu they are able to see past, present, and future, because they are able to be impartial at all times. Human beings are subject to judgements, influences, and mind changes; wahenga or spirits are not. An individual who has committed a crime will most certainly be put in the spotlight by de wahenga. This happens, for instance, when a person is seen by a diviner (a person who sees past, present, and future; a holy person), en de wahenga expose de crime to de diviner. It is then the diviner’s role to let de person know that de diviner also knows about de crime. It is not, however, de diviner’s responsibility to “punish” de person for the criminal act. If de individual seeks the help of de kijiji, de kijiji will make itself available to de individual. In de event, de criminal refuses to admit what happened, de kijiji will then turn de matter over to spirit en de wahenga. This way of dealing with matters, because it does not have a human-based justice system or any kind of hierarchy within de system, is often looked upon by anthropologists as a primitive way of leadership.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE WHOLE

De community concept is based on de fact that each person is invaluable and truly irreplaceable. Each person has a zawadis to give, a contribution to make to de whole. The kind of zawadis a person brings, the kind of being a person is, is very unique to him, hir or her en is valued by the community……

I know that the concept of community with spirit as its guide may be difficult to understand. As you continue to read these excerpts from books by sacred leaders of our vijiji, you will re/discover a deeper understanding of how to incorporate this concept into your own life and community.

In recent times, the word “community” has been misused and battered, so it does not always bring positive connotations….When you go the cities of Africa and you inquire about going to the vijiji, many people, especially young people, are baffled at the idea of Westerners wanting to be associated with what they call “deep Afrika.” They look at you as if you are crazy. For them it is incomprehensible that a person who was born and raised in a city in de modern world would want to abuse themselves with de mediocre kind of life that one has in a kijiji. They understand that education and schooling is a means of learning to forget about Africa and its community lifestyle, including everyting involved with it.

There are people who were not born in Afreeka – en who are not of Afrikan descent – who are far more Afrikan than some people who were born and raised in Africa. It is an irony, because so many Afrikans are now negating the whole Afreekan culture while many others want to be immersed in it…..

CREATING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Community is de spirit, de guiding mwangaza ya kijiji, wapi watu wanakuja pamoja to fulfill a specific purpose, and to take care of one another. The goal of community is to make sure that each member is heard en is properly giving de zawadis he or she has brought to this dunia. Without this giving, community dies. And without community, individuals are left without a place where they can contribute. Community is that grounding place where people share their gifs en receive from others……ase.

hadithi? hadithi? are you ready for diasporic encounters indigenus narratives?

My pride was filled with lessons in humbleness en healing synergy, divine thrills like brunching at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, jumpin in with di women’s health in women’s hands float/limin down yonge street @ di dyke march, gettin fed some mo @ di centre en a catchin a tan, drummin to Shango beats,  serving blackness yes!, playing with village pikney en greeting di new year with Swagger….these are wot safe spaces felt like.  I give thanks for growing within such rich en vibrant communities where not only I, but so many others can harvest di labour of god/desses organising celebrashuns of our truth.

Di spaces between last weekend na Pride, in di ‘other’ heart of downtown were  also filled with di challenges of re/claimin space n reconciling di diversity in our rainbow nations na overwhelming spectacles of ‘di corporashun’ n whiteness.

I experienced many kwanzas, missed di trans march on Friday for my first ‘straight’ Blocko in di diaspora, na pili, missed di Pride parade for the third time [in di lookin at a decade that ai’ve been in tdot] foh di first event that keeps me involved in dis beautifully evolving mess, volunteerin @ Blockorama.

We also experienced ‘new’ kinds of violence, small tings like a group of 3 sittin in a park deliberately shooting their wota guns @ 3 of us walking thru di same space on our stroll through di jungle, gettin ‘be wise what you wish for’ syndrome wot with being ‘back on di block’ en all yet progressively mo fenced in with less trees en mo concrete, mo ‘first-time’ faces en less elders, no Rob Ford en di brotha dat my dada spit on after taking in hate-filled diatribes on di streetcar that hit home that much mo’ given di timin en all.

The bigger point is, we’re still recoverin….but already I can see di rest of di summer mo than making up for di Pride that was. Weekends spent feasting in parks with bredrin en sistren in solidarity en @ Afrofest, di Peace is Possible Parade, Caribana n Wild Wota Queendoms, these are what betta times are made of.