Our green babies

Contrary to popular belief, our little ones don’t require as much as mainstream culture tells us. They certainly don’t need us to get caught up buying every little knick knack we see. I encourage you to follow in our ancestors’ footsteps by keeping it simple.  Here’s a nice list to consider for your diaper bag: http://www.diynatural.com/natural-diaper-bag-essentials-checklist/

Having a baby shower? Here’s a gift list you may dig:

All natural shampoo

Baby food blender
Pregnancy/Breastfeeding teas
Wash cloths – 100% cotton is preferable
Onesies – Same as above
Socks – ” ” ”
Hats – ” ” ”
Clothes – ” ” ”
Hooded towels – ” ” ” ”
Receiving blankets – ” ” ”
Fennel, chamomile, lemon grass teas
Reusable cloth diapers with snaps (preferable one size fits all) .ie BumGenius Elementals, Mother-Ease
Old-fashioned cloth diapers (aka burp cloths)
Board books ie. culturally affirming ones, ones featuring plants & animals
Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby soap
Photo album
Diaper covers (5-10 of them)
Baby chair (called “infant or toddler chair” I think)
Baby carrier ie. Moby wrap
Baby/diaper bag (preferably a washable one)
Seventh Generation baby laundry detergent
” ” baby wipes
” ” disposable diapers
Shea or coconut butter
Comb/brush set
Breastfeeding pillow
Gift certificate for professional pregnancy photos
Evening primrose oil
Natural menstrual pads
Prenatal yoga dvd
Car seat
Changing pad
Nursing bras (x3-4)
Breast pads
Belly cast kit
Homemade booties/blankets/sweaters
Diaper pail
Birth ball
AquaDoula birth pool or http://www.waterbirth.org/birth-pool-in-a-box
Subscriptions to http://www.naturallifemagazine.com, http://www.naturalchildmagazine.com or http://www.greenchildmagazine.com
Gift certificates for pregnancy massage, prenatal yoga classes, grocery & metaphysical stores, organic farming courses, herb shops
Farmers’ vouchers
Small zipped bag for wet diapers (to be placed in diaper bag). Preferably one that’s washable.

No plastic or electronic toys. No stuffed animals. No pacifiers. If you choose to accept baby clothes you may want to tell friends and family that “plainer is better.” That way you can minimize the images on things. Animals & plants are fine. You may also want to avoid supporting multi-national corporations like Nike, Gap, Disney, Nickelodeon etc.


We unschool!

Thankfully more of our families are homeschooling. Unschooling is still rare in our communities though. Let’s help to change this!

Meet a Jamaican Homeschooler: Akilah

Hope GardensI’ve been a passionate advocate for homeschooling for a number of years – mainly because of my personal experience, being homeschooled (supplemental), but also because of some wonderful homeschooling families that I’ve met in various countries. In recent years, the practice of giving children residential education has faced both assault (in the case of former PM Andrew Holness) and accolades (in the case of Tchakamau Ra). But, most people in Jamaica don’t really know what homeschooling involves, and many persons still think the practice is reserved for the wealthy or reclusive. However, I think it is very important for Jamaicans to see real people, who look and live just like them, that are choosing to homeschool. Therefore, I’m happy to introduce you to another Jamaican Homeschooler!

Homeschooling Mom – Akilah

Introduce yourself to my friends.
Greetings! I am Akilah S. Richards, a full-time author, lifestyle coach, and wellness speaker. My husband, Kris, and I are digital nomads, meaning we live and work in various places, with no one place that we call “home”.  We are also an unschooling family, and we spend 4-6 months per year in Jamaica, where Kris and I are from.

Tell us how many children you have.
​Two daughters. Marley is 10, and Sage-Niambi is 8.


Which of them is being unschooled?
​Both of our daughters are unschooled.​

So, when did this journey start, and why did you choose to unschool?
​We began unschooling in mid 2012. ​
We unschool because we recognize that our daughters do not need a structured, pre-designed set of books and papers in order to learn and thrive. When our daughters were in grade school, they both excelled academically. So much so, that we recognized that school was not the conduit for learning, but instead a lid on their capacity to learn. They were constantly complaining about either being bored in school, or wanting to spend more time on their own interests. Also, as we began to travel more, the girls became more interested in places and people, than books and classrooms. We honored that observation with our transition to unschooling.


Please try to describe what a regular unschooling day looks like for you.
​There is no “regular” day for us. It varies significantly, because we promote a curiosity-led environment. Some of our staple activities, however, include visiting libraries, parks, and any other public spaces, drawing, painting, singing, dancing, reading, writing, performing impromptu plays​, watching interesting movies, documentaries, and fun YouTube videos, and researching cool places to visit.


So are you following a curriculum or using any special learning resources?
​We don’t use a curriculum, and our learning resources show up the minute we open our eyes each morning. We would need to make a concerted effort NOT to learn something everyday, because learning is a natural by-product of engaged living and playing.


What’s the most difficult thing about unschooling your girls?
​The most difficult thing is to remember to back up and let our children guide us. I sometimes panic about the girls not “learning” enough. I spend time with them, and I quickly recognize that they cannot NOT learn, and that learning isn’t about memorization and grading. Instead, learning is about being present, exploring your environment, creating community wherever you go, ​and immersing yourself in your interests.


What’s the most liberating thing about being an unschooler?
There are so many great aspects of our unschooling journey, but perhaps the most liberating of them all is knowing that our daughters will not have to “undo” the learning of things like external validation and tying success to a number (grades or scores) or a person (teacher or parent’s approval). I coach women who are experiencing emotional turmoil because of their lifestyles. Many of them are very successful in terms of money and status, but find themselves either unhappy or worse, unfamiliar, with who they really are. They went for the goals and dreams, but like me in my past, didn’t really consider whether those goals were in alignment with who I am.

I love knowing that Kris and I are mindful of that, and that we help the girls explore themselves, instead of showing them that they have to fit into the school culture to be success. We’re helping them to become people who can seek and find what they need to be happy and successful. Liberation for me, is about the freedom to explore, express, and thrive. Our daughters are confident, willing to make mistakes, very self-aware, and community oriented. Those traits create fertile soil for a liberation mindset; and we’re doing our best to nurture that soil, and help our daughters nurture it as well.


Do you have any tips for other parents who might want to unschool?
​I have an online course called “The Unschooling Entrepreneur’s Guide to Life & Learning”. If anyone from this community wants to take the course, I’ll gladly offer a 50% discount! I believe that if more of us understood HOW learning happens, we’d be less anxious about creating environments in which our children can learn, explore, and thrive. Learn more about the course here: https://www.udemy.com/unschooling/

For more info. check out:







Good reads: Helpin’ a brotha out

Folks, a brotha I know is learning lots right now. Coming into himself perhaps. Just growing. Right now he’s researching lots about ourstory. Any works/authors you suggest he check out? The following were my suggestions. I’ve encouraged him to check out youtube clips and dvds too.
Frances Cress Welsing
Walter Rodney
Tony Martin
Eric Williams
Marcus Garvey
Malcolm X
Caarter G. Woodson
Marimba Ani
Amos Wilson
Asa Hilliard
Frantz Fanon
Amy Jacques Garvey
Assata Shakur
Cheikh Anta Diop
Hugo Chavez
Fidel Castro
Audre Lorde
Alvin Morrow
Angela Davis
John Henrik Clarke
Alice Walker
bell hooks
Runoko Rashidi
Yosef Ben-Jochannan
Merira & Ashra kwesi
Huey P. Newton
Ray Hagins
Amy Ashwood Garvey
Ivan Van Sertima
Joy DeGruy
Chancellor Williams
Molefi Asante
Thomas Sankara
C.L.R. James
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Montsho & Nwasha Edu
Ayida & Lenon Honor
Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael)

Looking for a travelling midwife?

Many of us live in places that don’t have local midwives. The midwifery model of care is nowhere to be found. So what’s a woman/couple/family to do if they’re planning a homebirth? Consider hiring a travelling midwife. You’ll work with her from a distance (via phone,email, skype, facetime) until around 37 weeks. At that point she’ll come to you and stay until after the birth.  It’s important to interview prospective midwives. Here are some questions you may like to run by them:
Why did you become a midwife?
How long have you been a certified midwife? What is your professional title?
What is your philosophy on pregnancy and birth?
As a certified midwife how many births have you attended? What percentage were at home?
What is your role during pregnancy and birth?
Have you travelled widely (outside of North America)?
Do you deliver all kinds of breech? Do you have training and experience in this kind of delivery? What’s your plan of action? Explain.
How do you assess whether it is appropriate to transfer care to a hospital? Under what circumstances do you do so?
Are you trained in waterbirthing? Are you an advocate of waterbirths?
Will you deliver the baby or will you assist my partner and I in doing so?
What equipment do you carry to homebirths?
Are you legally permitted to carry Pitocin? Do you? If not do you carry a holistic alternative?
Have you serviced a diverse group of clients (race, class, culture, nationality, religious/spiritual tradition)?
Do you deliver multiples?
Have you serviced vegan clients? How did their births turn out? Is there anything you suggest for us?
Have you attended births in (insert your area)?
Have you visited (insert your area) before?
Do you have experience turning babies before AND during birth? Explain.
In birth what role do you see my partner playing?
As primary caregiver, how many births have you attended outside of the United States? What were the outcomes like?
Have you had many homebirth clients over the age of 35? What were their births like?
Do you have any health issues that could inhibit your ability to assist us with birth? If so what are they? If a problem arises what is your typical plan of action?
What is your fee? What does it include? When is the full amount due? Are you open to payment plans? What is your refund policy if we decide to switch care providers?
What do we need to provide for our homebirth?
What is your hospital transfer rate?
What care would you provide to us if a hospital transfer were necessary?
What percentage of your clients have had a C-section?
What methods of pain management do you recommend/use?
What is your plan if you have two (or more) clients labouring/giving birth at the same time?
Have you ever handled a postpartum hemorrage? What protocol do you use to stop excessive bleeding after delivery?
Have you ever missed a homebirth? If so what were the circumstances?
Are you available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during pregnancy?
Do you require specific tests during pregnancy (Group B Strep etc)?
Do you “allow” a mother to go past 42 weeks and still have a homebirth?
Do you require a childbirth preparation course to prepare for a homebirth?
Are you able to surture the perineum if necessary?
How long do you stay after a birth? Do you help clean up?
Do you provide post-natal visits during the days after the homebirth?
What are your housing requirements? Do you require a cell phone?
What is your standard for cord clamping and cutting?
Do you use a doppler, fetoscope and/or pinnard? Do explain.
Will you use a fetalscope in place of a doppler if requested?
How many assistand do you need at a homebirth?
If you are sick what is your backup plan?
Do you perform episiotomies? If so how many have you given? Under what circumstances do you deem them necessary?
Have you had any bad outcomes with a mother and/or baby? If so please explain.
Do you have experience breastfeeding? Are you a lactation consultant?
Will you be able to assist me with any breastfeeding challenges?
How do you define high risk? According to your standards when does a woman fall into that category?
What is your experience with herbs, homeopathy and holistic medicine?
What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?
Do you work with doulas?
Are you comfortable with births being videographed or photographed by a relative or friend?
Are you traned in neonatal resuscitation?
Are you planning a any vacations, trips , major surgeries or other events that could interfere with your attendance at our birth?
What kind of postpartum care do you offer?
What is your preferred method of communication prenatally (phone, email)?
Midwifery is a challenging profession and often a labour of love. What can we do to make this experience easiest for all of us?
How do you monitor the well-being of the baby during labour? Do you use occasional or continuous electronic fetal monitoring?
What are you usual policies and practices about:
– IVs in labor
– Freedom to be active and move about in labour
– Eating and drinking during labour
– Positions for birth
What is your usual approach to a labour that is progressing slowly?
How would you receommend that I prepare for managing pain during labour and birth?
What drug-free measures for pain relief do you suggest I use?
What is your approach to newborn care? What are the routine procedures with a healthy baby?
What role do you anticipate my partner playing in birth?
Can we have 3 names of women/couples who’ve recently received maternity care from you (for reference purposes)?