So in this process, there are hills and valleys. The other day ago I was a zombified automaton living dangerously on no sleep for 2-3 days trying desperately to get up the courage to get the Indiegogo Campaign page done, get my website up, and make sure that everybody knows whats going on…It wasn’t pretty. It hurt. When I finally got some sleep, I’d wake up and have to go back to bed almost as soon as I got up. No 5 Hour Energy, hardly any coffee, no other stiumulants. It was, I believe the exhiliration of being in contact with my Ancestors.
When I didn’t believe in myself enough to do what I had to do–they pushed me. I didn’t know that I had it in me, or that people could or would believe in me enough to help me and lose sleep and hustle. I didn’t think that people who had heard me speak or invited me to talk would hand out flyers or do mass emails and say, “we care” through their actions. I had no faith that old friends would step up to the plate and start the donation trai. I’m sitting here even now amazed that I had that much of an impact that people would do whatever they could to help me get to where I have to go. And its just day 3 of the campaign.
So my thinking is changing. I have always been strange. You would have to be to say you’re going back to the Old South wouldn’t you? I am an iconoclast and I enjoy going against the grain. Funny thing is, for the majority of my life I didn’t know I was strange. I just reveled in what fascinated me as if there was no other reality. I made acquaintances with trees, learned their scientific names; scratched out gardens, spent my allowance money on academic books and copies in libraries. I didn’t know that I was different, I was just me. This project has been in me since I was at least seven years old–about as long as I began to think and relate to Judaism. I wish I could go back in time to 1984-1985 to figure out what was going on that all the things I thought about then would come to fruition about the time I was 21 and 35. No numerologist here, but there is something about the sevens.
I am thankful, I am grateful, I am excited. I am free of worry. I love my ancestors, I love the work that I do, and I love the people who have made me feel like I’m doing the right thing. I am thankful to have the opportunity to help the people who are here to learn this story now, and in days to come.
I’ve always wanted to write about the South. I’ve always wanted to write about my Ancestors. I’ve always wanted to find my family far and wide and connect with them. I’ve always wanted to find my roots in West and Central Africa. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always wanted to be a cook/chef.
Here I am. Hineni. Despite all my mistakes and all my mishaps, here I am. Hineni.
I can rest easy tonight knowing that the work will continue to be challenging, and the hours will be long. Besides the fact that I am trying to The “pay” will only manifest when the intial work has been sufficiently done and done well. The Ancestors are not going to let me down, and I’m not going to let them down. I am free from worry, because all I really had to do to meet my dreams face to face was show up. Hineni, I am here.
I am so eager to find out what miracles will come of out of this, I can hardly sleep. Maybe a boy who hears us talk will want to be an agricultural scientist, maybe a girl will want to be a historian. Maybe Black kids and white kids in Alabama will work together on a garden and break down ancient barriers. Maybe an elder will put seeds in our hands that his great-grandmother grew. An African American farming couple might just have new business for their produce. Maybe a church, a mosque, a shul, a temple will come together and make a dinner on the grounds with soul food! A community might learn from slavery and segregation that hatred of any type–color, “race,” ethnicity, religion, orientation, gender, class, physical or mental ability, conscience–is unacceptable and exhaustible. I don’t pretend we can change the world at large, but maybe just maybe my team and I will just a little at a time.
I am thankful, grateful, excited and passionate. There are so many wonderful foods out there waiting for us to come and cook them into something from the past that looks delicious to the future. Places I’ve always dreamed of going are in my sight and the souls that were in those places are singing me home to the land and water. I am grateful I can pay homage to them. Six million Ancestors and counting. I can’t wait to meet the Ancestors I never knew I had, to maybe name them, find their ship, find their home. Miracles are endless, and so is the love I feel for all of our forefathers and foremothers, and I want other people to feel that way about them everytime they eat gumbo, jambalaya, okra soup, fried chicken, red beans and rice, sweet potato pie and all the wonderful things their hands brought to life in the midst of hell.. That in of itself, is a miracle.
In Judaism we are taught that in Heaven there is a Yeshiva–a place where people study the Torah and other sacred texts. I’d like to think that we–human beings–are the books in G-d’s Yeshiva. Our souls are the sacred texts. The story of our lives and what we did with them fill those books. I am thankful, grateful, excited and passionate and full of love for the fact that I’m free of worry. Things are coming together and if I keep the faith, my book will be well written, but more important—the good I do will be in a lot of people’s indexes.
Here’s to changing the world one plate at a time.