Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Originally posted at Brown Mommy’s
My oldest son is 11-years-old. He is an avid reader. Makes good grades in school and has currently taken on the hobby of aqua-scaping (basically he designs fish tanks). He says his greatest asset is his curiosity. He always wants to learn. Naturally, seeing his book smarts when he was a kid we pressed on him that he would be expected to go to college. So much so that when he would misbehave as a little kid and we asked him why he was misbehaving he would respond with “I’m just trying to go to college.” It was hilarious, but we were committed.
We were committed that is until we took a look around our own community. We are currently in the process of purchasing the home we live in, and one of the things my husband and I have noticed is the lack of basic general contractors in our neighborhood. When we want to hire an electrician, plummer or carpenter we very rarely can someone from our own community to hire. It’s long been a fact in the Black community that less than 3 cents on every Black dollar goes back into the community. In my culture, cooperative economics and supporting Black businesses is very important. We try our best to not only support local businesses, but to support brown businesses. Not to mention, that the current high rates of unemployment are not so much due to a lack of jobs, but due to a lack of skilled workers. It’s estimated that some 3 million jobs currently sit vacant because Americans are too busy getting liberal arts degrees like communications, marketing, business and sports management. When most students get done with those degrees they get over $30K in debt and a $30,000 job. So, where there is a need…there is an opportunity. For my son, that is.
A long time ago, African-Americans stopped raising their children to solve their problems for some odd reason. Our community has been long overdue for Black corner store owners, Black-owned laundromats, Black general contractors and Black-owned grocery stores, yet and still we continue to send our kids to college where they leave our community and work for a corporation that does very little for our communities.
When I moved to New York 6 years ago I was very naive. My husband and I moved into a house in Queens N.Y. that we could barely afford. One of the things I remember is this Asian couple who moved in about a week after we did. They seemed nice, but stayed to themselves — it was a predominately Caribbean neighborhood. About a month after they moved in, I noticed four other people were also living in their home. They continued to be quiet, but nice.
By the end of that year, my husband and I were looking for another place to live. We could no longer afford our over $2000 rent. But, at the end of the year the Asian couple across the street had rented a vacant storefront at the end of the block and were bringing in inventory for their new “One Dolla Store.” And the four people who had mysteriously invaded their home were gone. That’s when I decided I wasn’t sending my son to college and that it would probably be a good idea to move back home.
As much as I hate to crush a brown mommy dream, I’m afraid we don’t need more politicians, engineers or biologist in our community. If you are the type of mother who is only looking at how to make your child succeed and nothing more, than more power to you. I hope that works out. But, like Jay-Z said I’m trying to hold down like three generations. I want all three of my boys to have a skill that they and only they can pass down to their kids. A skill they don’t need a $50,000 college-degree to learn. A skill they can sale in the workplace without begging someone for a job. I want them to have a skill that builds legacy and financial stability for themselves and their community.
What that Asian family did blew my mind. They worked together to reach a common goal. Now, their daughter doesn’t need to wait for the government to give out summer jobs for her to get one, and she’ll have better work ethic than any Penn State student will ever have. Further, they can use that income to help other family members so that that when their great daughter becomes an engineer she will be able to work for an Asian architecture firm that solidifies and builds on Asian culture.
So, about 10 years from now, when that pipe in the basement burst, your living room light gets short circuited and you don’t know why, or your roof needs to be prepared, be sure to get in touch with me. My son will take the job and the check.
So what’s my view? I’ve long said that college/university will be an option (not a requirement) for my children. I’m very clear on my reasons. I certainly wouldn’t trade my college and university experiences for the world. I learned LOTS. They broadened my perspective and sharpened my critical thinking skills. That is by no means the best route for everyone though.
Yes, some of us really do choose to skip the rat race. For numerous reasons. Our families and wider communities are that much of a priority. Betta believe it! No shame in it. Many of us are educated ( not necessarily well schooled), articulate, open-minded & more. Here are some articles that focus on the subject:
For more assistance check out:
http://www.thechicsahm.com/ A sistah’s website. She has lots of tips for SAHMs
http://www.mochamoms.org A support group for African-American SAHMs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMeiGl457tI A Mocha mom gives another SAHM some homeschooling tips. Of course not all SAHMs homeschool.
NOTE: Not all SAHMs are middle or upper class. Don’t be fooled. All sorts of women are choosing to be at home.
Planning to conceive? Or maybe you just discovered that you’re expecting. Whatever your situation is it’s best to be informed. There’s LOTS of great stuff out here to help prepare us. Dvds, books. It’s easy to get overwhelmed so I asked some parents for their all-time favourites. Here’s what they told me:
The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy – K.Seals-Allers
Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy – L.Thomas
HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method – M.Mongan
Husband-Coached Childbirth – R.Bradley
Vaccines are Dangerous: A Warning to the Black Community – C.Cost
Having a Baby, Naturally -P.O’Mara
Mama’s Little Baby: The Black Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby’s First Year – D.Brown
Birthing from Within – P.England
The Waterbirth Book – J.Balaskas
The Expectant Father – A.Brott
Holistic Pregnancy from the Pan-Afrikan Perspective – I.Raet
Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene – I.Bauer
Like A Natural Woman: The Black Woman’s Guide to Alternative Healing – Z.Kashef
Welcoming Spirit Home – S.Some’
Pride & Joy – J.Robinson
The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding – K.Barber
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way – S.McCutcheon
Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby’s First Year – M.Castro
Yoga: For Easier Pregnancy and Natural Child Birth – A.Anan
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – H.Goer
Gentle Birth Choices – B.Harper (dvd is included)
The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book – R.Mangels
Maternal Fitness – J.Tupler
Vegetarian Pregnancy – H.Roberts
Water Birth A film about water births
Laboring Under an Illusion A hilarious film to set you free from TV/movie-generated fears and myths
http://doulafilm.com/ Film about the role of doulas
http://www.birthasweknowit.com Film that focuses on conscious conception, pregnancy & birth
http://www.guerrillamidwife.com Film that discusses why guerilla midwives exist and more
http://birthstorymovie.com/the-film/ Film about Ina May Gaskin and The Farm midwives
http://www.whatbabieswant.com Film that explores the consciousness of infants
http://www.abreechinthesystem.com/ Film about a woman who has a breech birth in a hospital
http://www.orgasmicbirth.com Documentary that reveals that emotional, spiritual and physical heights attainable through birth. An award-winning documentary revealing the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth. An award-winning documentary revealing the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com Watch both films if you can.
http://www.ictcmidwives.org/ReadingList.pdf A top-notch list from ICTC
http://www.mamaglow.com Holistic products for parents and children
http://www.pennysimkin.com Penny Simkin’s books are ON! “The Birth Partner” is a favourite for many.
http://inamay.com/books Books by Ina May Gaskin. If you only get to read one book check out “Spiritual Midwifery.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VcWjrS_P4E 5 Things brothas can do to support their pregnant partners
The Almighty Onion…is she more powerful than we previously thought? This is an interesting topic that I discovered online several times in various forms, all relating to the theory that if you put an onion in the room of a person who is sick, the onion will ‘absorb’ the illness, and sometimes in just a few hours, the person is better. It seemed unbelievable, but I thought to myself, “Remember that one Jennifer, and if you ever need it, you have nothing to lose by giving the onion theory a try.”
A few points to note on Onion Healing:
This is not a new idea. Onions were used by certain individuals in Europe to successfully fight off the plague in the early 1900′s. Ayurvedic medicine has been using an onion poultice for the chest or feet to cure coughs, fevers and flus for centuries. They also use the onion poultice to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Homeopathic doctors also use the healing power of onions to heal from viruses and illness. I even know people in the North American Hutterite community, a pacifist community similar to the Amish whose traditions date back to the 16th century, who tell me it is common practice to place onions in their homes during winter flu season and to use cut onions in the room of an ill person to relieve their symptoms quickly and naturally.
It is said that white onions work better than red onions. Yellow onions would be an acceptable alternative, but white onions, with the latin name Allium Cepa, work best.
The onions need to be peeled if left around the home as a preventive measure against flu and viruses. Many people do this during flu season and find that no one gets sick, whereas in previous years with no onions, they had several members of the family fall ill. If placed around the home for prevention, the onions should be replaced every 3 months.
If someone falls ill with a cough, flu, cold or fever, immediately place a peeled white onion cut in half in a bowl in their room. The onion needs to be cut in half in order to expose the most amount of ‘healing power’ from its pungent odor.
Cut onions can also be used to eliminate mold smells in a closet, drawer or room.
It’s best not to leave a cut onion open in the fridge (to eat later) because as soon as an onion is cut, it will start to absorb bacteria, etc. So, if you cut an onion for a salad, either use the whole thing or put the other half in your garage or basement to absorb bad smells! Once the onion is in a salad in a sealed container, it is safe and can be eaten at a later time.
Perhaps the most interesting onion remedy is the Sock Onion. This is a ‘modern-day’ version of the Ayurvedic poultice, and involves cutting the white onion in half and placing one half on the bottom of each foot so that the cut onion is against the skin. Place a sock on top of the onion so it stays secure in place and leave the ‘Onion Sock’ on overnight. This is especially good for flus and fevers. One of my twitter followers recently shared her success with the Sock Onion:
Health Benefits of Onions
Onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their strong odor.Sulfur is a powerful detox element and helps the body to release toxins, especially for the liver. Foods naturally high in sulfur also help the body to detox from heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium.
The onion is the richest dietary source of quercitin, a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, ward off blood clots, and fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is even linked to inhibiting certain types of cancer.
Onions are also naturally anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. That, of course, is when you eat them!
Onions to Heal: First to Remove Odors
Fast-forward to me being in Vilcabamba, Ecuador where I’m here renting a house for 2 months to do an extended water fast. In the first few days in the house, we noticed a very bad septic smell coming from both toilets which never got better, no matter how many times we flushed or cleaned the toilets. After we started the water fast and became more sensitive to smell, I thought to myself, What can we do which is completely natural and will still take this smell away? Then I remembered everything I read about the Almighty Onion!
That night, we sliced 2 white onions in half, placed 1 onion in each of 2 bowls and put one bowl in each bathroom overnight. The onion smell at first was very strong, but that is actually a great smell when you are water fasting (we dreamed of tomato gazpacho with onions!). The next morning, to our complete amazement, there was no more onion smell, and guess what? There was no more septic smell either!!!
Onions to Heal: Taking the Onion Sock Test
I became so excited with this discovery that I wanted to try to Onion Sock theory. Luckily, we still had 1 onion left in the house, so the very next night, we cut the onion into 4 lateral thick slices (each slice about 1/2″ thick). I used 2 slices on my feet and gave the remaining 2 to my boyfriend who willingly put them on his feet. (Yes, he is a willing participant in all of this stuff including the water fast because, one, he is very open to try new things and he trusts my skills and experience, and two, because he lost his mom to cancer 8 years ago and knows that clean diet, clean body and clean mind are the keys to good health).
Now, the interesting part of this story is that we were on Day 5 of a water fast when we tried the Onion Socks. Mainly, I wanted to see if the onion could be used as a tool to amplify the detox effects. Especially with the body being so clean, the fumes from the onion could theoretically be absorbed through the skin and pass through the body more quickly, and perhaps eliminate internal bad bacteria or even parasites.
With Onion Socks on, we waited anxiously to see what would happen. Note that both of us were feeling good all day and I felt great when we placed the onions on our feet. My boyfriend was feeling pretty tired and weak after his evening enema but had felt really good earlier in the day.
Results of the Onion Sock Experiment
After about 30 minutes with the Onion Socks on, I started to feel distinct quivers in my calves and a twitch on my left side at the rib cage. 20 minutes later, I started feeling heartburn! That was amazing. I have not had any acid reflux at all during this water fast (although is was an issue during my last water fast, all of which I explain in my ebook: Water Fasting Guide & 40-Day Journal). Shortly after that, I started to feel hot in the head. In another 10 minutes, my eyes started to tear as if I had just cut an onion, although a much milder sensation but clearly a distinct tearing.
5 minutes after that, my boyfriend told me he had the taste of onion in his mouth!
So clearly, something was happening, even if it was only onion fumes passing through our bodies and nothing else.
The next morning, we compared notes about how we felt. My boyfriend had a terrible night and barely slept and felt that the onion fumes had upset his intestinal worms (which we are sure he has and are hoping the water fast will eliminate). I felt tired and weak, the first day for me to feel that way, but I did feel better. I don’t think it was the placebo effect as I am very open to trying something and saying it doesn’t work.
And the real reason why I think it worked is because 90% of my hay fever and allergy symptoms disappeared overnight!! That is the best part of this story so far. Ever since we arrived to Vilcabama, I have been sneezing like crazy, scratching my nose all the time with excessive mucous coming out of my nose almost constantly. Well, they say that raw foodists don’t have allergies so I could not understand what was going on and I was hoping that the water fast would help. But, we went through Day 1-4 with absolutely no change and no relief, still sneezing up to 50 times a day easily. Well, after the Onion Socks, I did not have any mucous, and I went through the whole day with no itchy eyes and no itchy nose and I think I sneezed only 2 times the entire day!! Now, that is no placebo effect! Anyone who suffers from allergies can appreciate how wonderful the sense of relief is, and to find a natural ‘cure’ and experience allergy relief from 1/2 of an onion?! Wow!!
Today we went out and bought 10 more onions and we are going to continue with the Onion Socks intermittently during our water fast. I’ll update later with more results. Meanwhile, consider trying this yourself at home. I mean, what do you have to lose except for the cost of a few onions? In my opinion, it’s a safe and effective method with nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain.
UPDATE: I did the Onion Sock again the next night, and that was it. One month later, eating again, and all sign of hayfever are still gone! I recommended this to a Natural Hygiene Raw Foodist in Vilcabamba who was also having hay fever allergies, and he had noticeable reduction of symptoms after 24 hours.
P.S.- I’ve been told about the importance of placing raw onions in our homes. It’s another part of our story. A few women have mentioned it to me along the way. Of course eating raw onions is imperative for our overall health.
Mama blessings (aka blessingways). Old concept, new feel. An ancient tradition of ours that is slowly catching on again. If you are expecting make it a priority to have a mama blessing. I planned one for a friend a few years ago and she really enjoyed it. I also organized a mama blessing-ish shower for one of my sisters. In addition I’ve attended a few mama blessings. Some pregnant women have baby showers and mama blessings. In my view, each serves a unique purpose.
Want to learn more? Check these out: