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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Caribbean Herbal Teas: Lemon Grass and Ginger Tea

Lemon-grass and Ginger Tea
Sleepily I waddled on wobbly knees into the kitchen. Grated piece of ginger, crushed up two lemon grass stems, then, scooped them into a pot of water. As the tea boiled, I gazed out the window wondering "since when a little soccer and uphill-jogging turn into a sore-jointed morning after?" as an up-crawling sun inflames the morning-black sky.
After boiling up, I poured the tea into a cup and sweetened with agave- yeah man, watching my sugar levels also.  This combination tea has quickly become one of my favorites. First of all, if you didn't know, I love spicy flavors (actually I love HOT!! but you can control your own  level- the more ginger, the more spicy) and this tea has a tangy and almost peppery taste. But most importantly, the combination possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, not to mention all-out healthy qualities, that my body needs and holistic properties that calm anxieties, which my mind and soul crave. We should call herbal/bush teas such as this Redemption Teas: emancipating  us from mental and physical distress. I have been drinking this tea for a month now and it has helped alleviate the pain. In March my knees and football -kicking joints were on FIRE!
Tune in, I'll let you know in a next month or so how it goes...

 Kaya's Lemon Grass and Ginger Tea

small pot of boiling water
a few (2-3) lemon grass stalks
one  ginger root
agave nectar

  1. Crush lemon grass stalks with flat side of a knife
  2. Grate or slice up ginger root
  3. add both to a pot of water under a med. to high fire
  4. allow to boil out for no less than five minutes
  5. pour into a cup and add agave nectar to your taste

*Lemon grass (aka fever grass or razor grass) is an excellent natural cleanser that helps detoxify the digestive tract, bladder, liver, kidney and pancreas. It also assists in cutting uric acid (which when built up to high-concentrated levels lead to arthritic gout and kidney stones), lowering cholesterol, excess fats and other toxins. It alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis while stimulating digestion and blood circulation. Lemon grass, which has a citrus flavor, is I-la (wonderful) for treating nasal congestion, cough and flu-symptoms. And, of importance to breastfeeding mothers, it also stimulates lactation.
Ginger is an important root and herb renowned for ailments such as nausea, upset stomach, stomach cramps, and various digestive problems. Its rich volatile oils contain active ingredients gingerol, zingibain, shogaols, and many other components that aid in treatment and protect the immune, circulatory and respiratory systems. Ginger helps lower LDL Cholesterol by reducing absorption in the blood and liver. It inhibits the only enzyme that feeds prostrate cancer cells. It is a strong antioxidant, contains two natural antibiotics, boosts the immune system and eases mucus congestion.

**By the way, gingerol is an anti-flammatory compound that relieves arthritis and joint pain, which is why my Granny, a real herbalist, uses ginger each morning and insists that I use it also...
Science seems to be validating many old time traditional remedies!

Properties of Ginger
Health Benefits of Ginger

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rodney Reasoning

©2011 K.Omodele
It’s 12:35 p.m. one damp April day in Lower Manhattan. The Malone Construction labor crew’s collective spirit seems subdued by the gray, spring-time air. They slowly crumple up paper bags; dispose empty plastic bags and bottles, while palavering away the rest of their lunch break.
Rudeboy braces his back against a steel column, digging his gums with a toothpick. “Yow. Mi see di Vibez Kartel lecture at UWI* pon Youtube the other night. Maddd!”
Spence, the three-week-new laborer on the site, pulls down his specs and looks up at the six- plus, stick-thin youth.
“When yuh say ‘maddd’, wha’ you mean?” Spence asks, raking work-bent fingers through his steel-wool, smoke-white ‘fro.
Rudie removes a Newport from behind his ear, relights it and sucks the smoke into his magga** chest cavity. “Then, you nuh see how the man handle the UWI crowd? Intelligent and smooth…stylist,” he replies, a river of smoke winding around his words.
Bajie pours the remnants of coffee from his Thermos, and then authorizes himself into the reasoning like some member of parliament. “Finally, you and me can agree on something, Rudeboy. He surprised me. He actually held a decent position, though I wouldn’t exactly call that intelligent.”
“Wha’ you woulda call it, then?” Rudeboy gestures in the air with his cigarette like a music conductor. “How many entertainers you know that coulda hold their own inna that kinda university lecture setting?”
Dreadie, forever a voice of reason, throws in his two shillings. “Rudie, Kartel mek a mockery of the academic platform. A UWI lecture? That suppose to be serious. Wha’ yuh seh, Trevor? You see it?”
Trevor guzzles the last of his water, rumble belches then says, “The man treat the whole thing like a self-serving, press conference. And mek it worse, he tried tie-in Marcus Garvey and Walter Rodney.”
Dread shakes his forefinger. “Yuh catch that? When he said ‘Sir Walter Rodney’?”
Rudeboy bull-rushes in with an interjection. “And wha’ happen to that?”
Dreadie whips out a hand-kerchief and waves it like a matador at Rudeboy. “Is Doctor Walter Rodney. Not Sir.”
Spence adds. “Kartel mussy confuse Walter Rodney with Sir Walter Raleigh.” Chuckling. “How you fi confuse the Brother, di Comrade, professor of African studies with a ole pirate.”
The whole crew cracks up, even Rudeboy.
At precisely 1PM, they grab their helmets and drag themselves into the building.

It’s now around 5:15 and the crew is trudging up Broadway toward the Park Place subway. Each man is seeking the no. 2 train, destination: Flatbush. ‘cepting Bajie of course, who, true to his contradictory form, is the only one catching the E to Queens.
Spence continues the reasoning from earlier. “Y’know, Rodney’s legacy LARGE when it come to the University… graduated there; taught there. As a matter of fact, when Hugh Shearer kick him outta JA, is the UWI students first tek up protest. And is that protest lead to the Rodney Riots in ‘68.”
Rudeboy now looks puzzled. “The government kick him out? Fi wha?”
“Actually, they barred him from coming back into Jamaica,” Bajan says. “Sent him right back to Guyana. Is Trevor them homeboy.”
Spence cut his eyes at Baj. “Kick him out beca’ they label him the single greatest threat to Jamaican security at that time.” Realising he is commanding Rudie’s full, yet confused attention, he continues. “See, Rodney taught African history. Plus he preached bout Black Power and was a Garveyite, which scared the hell outta them. Then he was a Marxist that chastised Capitalism and classism.”
Dreadie injects. “So you know that had them paro .”
“Hold on, now!” Bajie stops them. “Garvey was a capitalist. Rodney was a socialist. How in the hell he gon be a Garveyite?”
“How yuh mean? Is not me say so! Rodney proclaim himself a Garveyite. And in any case Garvey dealt with community and Rodney with Communalism.” Spence answers. “Anyhow, Rudie, they labeled him a subversive element when di man come venture down inna the ghettoes and gullies, talking with poor people and reasoning with Rasta youth. Rudebwoy, yuh need to read Groundings With My Brothers.”
Rudeboy nods. “I seen it.”
“Yuh read it?”Dreadie asks.
“Ehn-enh. But I know them kill him down inna Guyana, right?” Nodding at Trevor.
Trevor clears his throat. “Yeah man. Is like a Malcom X type ah thing. His own matty Black brother kill him. Boom him up.”
They reach the subway entrance .
Dreadie adds. “The President of Guyana himself-Burnham, order the hit!”
Before they descend down underground and part ways with him, Bajie smirks. “I surprised you didn’t claim the C.I.A. Oonu*** damn conspiracy theorists.” He runs down the steps taking two at a time and heads for the Uptown side.
Spence cries out. “Cho! But then who yuh think sanction it? Nuh di C.I.A.? Is them behind all the political fuckery back in them days. All up to now!”
The rest of them swipe their cards, and as they make way down to the Brooklyn side, Dreadie nods in approval.
“Yeah yuh right. But yet still, Burham had it out for him.”
They reach the platform. Up the platform towards the escalator, three youths gang up on a fourth, beating him down. The construction crew looks on as the gang pulverizes the helpless boy, slicing his face with a box-cutter.
“One thing for sure though, Rodney influence Rasta in nuff a them small Eastern Caribbean islands. Notice how them Rasta deh in Grenada militant, bad. They all help overthrow Gairy. Is Rodney that. Everywhere that man went, when he see the establishment oppressing and victimizing the poor, he sound out against it.” Trevor responds.
But everone is now focused on the scene up the platform. 
Trevor continues, as he begins making his way toward the ruckus. “That’s why nuff government couldn’t stand him. They ein’t want no talk of revolution. And besides, the Cold War was being fought right down there in the West Indies- Cuba, JA, GT, Grenada. We ein’t stand a chance, bout we aligning weself with either one a them Super Powers.”
Dreadie declares, “Vampires. Babylon them!” and unsheaths a hammer while stepping up the platform.
“True! The whole a them.” Spence says. He grabs a screw driver from his utility belt.
The construction crew picks up pace. Burst into a rush up the platform, drawing tools from their bags and utility belts as their train rumbles toward them in the distance.
The clack-clack of the train riding the track grows louder.
The platform vibrates.

*University of The West Indies
** extremely slim, skinny
***you, you all

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sound The Abeng!

Copyright 2011 K. Omodele

A youth ask me the other day why I chose the word "ABENG" for this blog.
Wha' it mean? A wha'?
Abeng is ah animal horn* in the Twi language of the Akan people of Ghana. It traveled 'pon slave ships in the heart and minds of a captured people and survived with them through the horrors of Maafa** just as many aspects of culture did.
So is ah instrument, then?
Yeah man. Maroons*** in Jamaica used to sound di Abeng as a signal during the Maroon Wars against the English, who were determined to re-enslave them.
Eh? Wha yuh mean ‘sound di abeng’?
The Maroons set up camps and towns, in the hills in the East and in the Cockpit Country, and had sentries posted to warn of any threat, any approaching attack. The sentries them would literally sound di Abeng, blow it and communicate warning with other Maroon villages.
So, was  like ringin alarm? To Rass!
Yeah man! Is a symbol of freedom. Sounding di Abeng is a declaration of liberty, yuh overstand?

*most often cow
**African Holocaust of slavery
***freed and escaped Africans

Copyright 2011 K. Omodele

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

March 27...(Comfort of Fools)

copyright 2011 K.Omodele for The Abeng

A new beginning...

her sashay graced the catwalk
snatched his thought,
suspending his breath
on a climatic ledge
gripped his stone-flint heart
and struck a SPARK!

the river-walk in Augusta
arms en-wrapping arm
skin caressing skin
sun-warmed hearts coddling
prom dates whisper in spring
soft kisses dripping promises
of life-long tomorrows
filled with never-ending,
early-morning pillow talk
and private sabbatical reasonings
interpreting Love and contemplating Life...
love of a lifetime
learning through life, time
growing, graying
soul intertwining soul
and the promise
comforted only the fools
Jah knows, their yesterdays crept in the way...

copyright 2011 K.Omodele for The Abeng

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