Monthly Archives: January 2009

The “Lost Crops of Africa”

In my last blog post extolling durian, I asked where all the Afrikan varieties of “superfoods” were at. In exploring the raw vegan/ fruitarian world, one hears much about “superfoods“/ “superfruits” from the tropics, but they mostly seem to emerge from South America and tropical Asia. I hardly found varieties indigenous to or widely propagated in Afrika discussed in the common literature on “superfoods” by the raw vegan popularizers and commercializers of these plants. But in searching for more info on potential “superfoods” growing in Afrika right now, I have discovered a series of books available online: Lost Crops of Africa. You can read it online for free!

The above link is to Volume III: Fruits. Click here for Volume I: Grains and here for Volume II: Vegetables. These as well can be read online for free.

This encyclopedic series of books is answering many of my questions and is shaping how I want to practice agroforestry (and what I’m gonna chew on) in Afrika when I return. Some of these varieties I now want to look into for local availability (in the NYC region). There are Afrikan markets in Newark (Brick City) and the Bronx I’ll definitely want to peak into now to see if they have any of these curious and promising varieties (I’m most interested in what I’m finding in Volume III, followed by Volume II).

So I’m passing on the knowledge. Hope you find this as useful as I do. We need to plant more trees in Afrika – trees like the ones they’re talking about in Lost Crops of Africa. We gotta get extremely serious about land and return as Afrikans living outside the continent. There is absolutely TOO MUCH OPPORTUNITY in all spheres, too much we need to do to revive Afrika, and too little time in our brief-ass human lives.

Let’s study the trees, take a deep breath of the fresh air, pause for the cause in the soaring Sun, and get to work in the soil of our motherland, folks! Where the black botanists and agronomists at?

Tropical agroforestry rocks!
Towards a sustainable Afrikan agricultural revolution and massive reforestation!
Towards the further greening and fruiting of Afrika!
Uhuru!

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Enter the Durian


Yesterday I had durian for only the second or third time in my life – the first time being in 2003 or 2004 during a college spring break hanging out with my uncle in Toronto, Ontario. He’s the one who predicted I would become a raw vegan/ fruitarian long before I had even known much about that whole practice, though I had been a conventional vegan for four or five years by then, just emerging out of my teenage years at that time.

I’d been thinking about it for a while. Many weeks ago a friend of mine and myself had a little chow at Bonobos, the raw vegan hole in the wall on 23rd St and Madison Ave right in front of Madison Square Park. My friend sampled their durian “ice cream” and then I followed. Not being into “raw gourmet” much at all anymore, I nonetheless entertain daydreams of eating tropical fruits like durian and such all the time, and most days I realize those dreams by at least eating bushels of bananas and oranges each day and a daily avocado, and some papaya and/or mango at least a couple times a week. I eat many apples as well, grown mostly in Washington State on the opposite side of this continent. Greens I eat – “spring mixes” of various lettuces, chard, cabbage, etc., as well as celery – are often grown in Mexico or California; I eat raw okra too, imported sometimes from the US South, though more often from Asia or Afrika. I’m not a great locovore as you can surmise. But nothing much is growing in NJ or NY during these arctic dog days of winter. In any case, back to the story: I fantasize about, and eat, foods mostly “exotic” to where I live. (Hence my recent refrain – time for me to get very, very serious about resettling in Afrika and the tropics more broadly and as soon as I’m ready.)

The durian was bound to enter my realm at some point. Hearing raves about it from raw vegans and fruitarians on these here internets, and following initial exposure by my uncle some years back as a younger man, it was only a matter of time and commitment before I would start getting my hands on those things more often.

So after my “soft tissue conditions” class yesterday, I headed into Chinatown before making my way back home. I had some leads that good durian were to be scored on the corner of Grand St and Bowery. Not finding some there, I headed towards Mott St and walked down a bit, and sure enough the spiky punks were staring at me outside in the frigid air like gunslingers challenging me to a duel. Well, it wasn’t that dramatic.

Anyway I bought two of them, at $1.25 a pound (but each one is pretty damn heavy). I threw them in my army duffel bag and headed back towards Herald Square on the Canal St N, from where I entered Penn Station to get on home.

To make a long story short, the verdict is that durians are now among my favorite fruits. And these were just the imported-frozen-from-Thailand variety! How much more succulent, fleshy, filling, sweet, creamy, and all manner of nice could a fresh-from-the-grove one be? Seriously, these fruits are fiercely tasty – durian is no joke, son! Reading about durian culture and activity in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, I understand that there are varieties that are very expensive, that won’t or can’t even necessarily be exported far off to the wilds of Manhattan and environs, and that there are many flavors and so I’m left thinking this “durian mornthong” I picked up near the corner of Mott and Grand is just a starter brand.

I am quite pleased indeed to have initiated myself into this fruitarian culture of durian connoisseurs. These spiky guys aren’t that cheap. I don’t imagine I’ll be after them all the time. But so long as I’m here in NYC where I can have them from time to time, why not do just that?

Further down the line, when I’m setting up land for an agroforestry preserve in the Congo Basin or Niger Delta wet equatorial rainforest regions, I might plant some durian, jackfruit, and mangosteen trees, varieties from identical climes and soil conditions in Borneo, for my Afrikan fruitarian arboretum. Of course the many rare and advanced fruits with supreme phytonutrient content growing deep in places like the Ituri and Kivu rainforests, as yet only at best lightly explored with intent to find “superfoods”/ “superfruits” and medicines because of all the wars there, may occupy too much of my time to get around to bringing strong seedlings from Borneo to Central Afrika. South America and Southeast Asia surely aren’t the only places growing these “superfoods,” y’all self-styled raw-vegan superfood gurus! Where are the Afrikan varieties? If not y’all, at least I’ll be on the lookout for them. There are fruits I couldn’t even name right now that I had in Ghana, and many others yet to be explored and, well, popularized.

Anyway, the future is bright and tasty one way or the other. Fruitarianism in Afrika! Wet tropical regions grow the tastiest things for humans to munch on and grow big and strong with. Wet tropical regions are where I intend on spending most of my life once I’m done with my obligations and studies in Gotham.

A note about the scent of the durian: it is not a “bad” smell at all! I don’t know how folks came up with that one. It must surely have been sensory-deprived Europeans overwhelmed by the power of such a botanical powerhouse as the durian. It’s a sweet and succulent smell that tells you, once it hits you, that durian-related activities are occurring nearby. Yes, the scent is strong, getting through my army duffel bag from behind newspaper and plastic wrapping, and on a 20 degree day! But those who think it smells bad must be alarmist, sense-inhibited, orientalist tourists and passersby to the durian world. Because durian absolutely has a signature smell, and it is GOOD!

I’ll be eating some durian in my afternoon meals tomorrow and perhaps even Saturday if my stash lasts that long. Long live fruitarian adventurism!

To Make Vegan=Fitness

Part of the curriculum of things I’m studying these days is exercise physiology. So how is physical fitness defined in my notes? It is

“the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies. It is the ability to withstand stress and persevere under difficult circumstances in which an unfit person would quit. Implied in this is more than a lack of illness; it is a positive quality that everyone has to some degree. Physical fitness is minimal in the severely ill and maximal in the highly trained athlete. Persons who maintain high levels of fitness may have increased longevity as compared to those who are sedentary. In addition, the quality of life is enhanced in those who are fit.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th Edition

The above definition of physical fitness suggests the centrality it should have as an achievement and practice for those who wish to live life to the fullest, which should include all Afrikans. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary.” Again, this means optimal function as human beings, not merely the adequate or the tolerable. In health, we have no serious, scientific, honest, or honorable reason to strive for other than our most optimal condition, because due to the brevity of a human life, it only makes sense to do those things that both lengthen lifespan and improve life’s quality.

Vegans, in my opinion, should never stop in their quest for health at the composition of their diet only. Vegan should also come to mean athlete, or physically fit person who does not exploit animals. Check out how widespread sedentary life is: did you know that here in America there is now a pathology for it, called “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS)“? Because the biggest killer in this country, coronary heart disease, is largely attributable to sitting on our ass too much, it is argued that SeDS is actually the number two cause of premature death here, after tobacco. Now dig these statistics:

  • Only about 15% of adults in America engage in vigorous physical activity during leisure time, 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes
  • More than 60% do not engage in physical activity regularly
  • 25% lead sedentary lives
  • Physical inactivity occurs more among women than men, Afrikans and Latin@s than whites, older than younger adults, and less-affluent than wealthier persons
  • SeDS will cause 2.5 million Americans to die prematurely in the next decade.
  • “Racial differences in food and exercise habits and cultural attitudes towards body weight help to explain the greater prevalence of obesity among black women (nearly 50%) than white women (33%).”

-Katch, Katch and McArdle: Exercise Physiology, Sixth Edition (2007)

In regards to SeDS, Afrikans suffer the most. As stated above, half of Afrikan women in the United Snakes are now obese. This means so many sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, and so on are at grave risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, and the like. Brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and so on, suffer from various cancers and diseases at exponential rates, also related to, among other things, sedentary life.

All this said, the benefits of exercise are numerous! I’m talking about serious exercise – and there is little excuse for humans to live in any other way but that they give themselves at least an hour or two a day to exercise vigorously, in manners touching upon all the main arenas of fitness – cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility. I won’t rattle the benefits off here as they are quite obvious, but should not only be enjoyed by the world’s elite athletes. All Afrikans, especially those that combine a highly active life with a seriously vegan one, should be able to enjoy increased muscle strength, bone density, cardiovascular endurance and heart strength, reduced heart rate during work and rest, improved stress tolerance and psychological well-being, low body fat content especially of non-essential, useless and dangerous fat, proven substantially increased longevity, and proven increased quality of life.

What’s stopping Afrikans from reaching and exceeding high, wise ages, such as now enjoyed by people in Japan or Sweden? Underdevelopment is indeed severely and brutally holding back access to health care in many of our communities around the world. But those of us without further excuses, especially those who are overeating for no good reason and not getting off their asses, including vegans, very much need to step up their game.

The rhetoric of the vegan word needs desperately to be infused with simultaneous pronouncements of the need to exercise well. The vegan and raw vegan athletes – and many of them are black! – are out there all over, so there is no lack of inspiration, nor any grounds for excuse. Again, I reiterate my appeal to discipline, the highest and hardest brand of it, which Afrikans will need to overcome oppression including self-destructive tendencies, of which, yes, sedentary living is very much one of them.

Sedentary living is a sad, indeed a cowardly resignation to fate, to the seemingly overwhelming circumstances, to oppression without taking initiative to change the picture. How can oppressed people afford to sit their ass down? They are the most in need to stand and run and get strong!

Imagine lots of strong, hardy, fit, lean, healthy, fierce, beautiful, athletic Afrikan vegans and raw vegans outliving and outfighting and outshining their enemies, including the enemies within – the typical African dictator, with his usual fat ass. Look at the average corrupt corpulent African head of state – he or she is a miserable ugly fatass! Do you all want to be like them, look like them, big overfed piles of feces not worth the food and expensive banquets lavished on them on the international neocolonial circuit? Do you want to be fat like the fascists, or fit like the fighters and the fire starters?

Revolutionaries have to be beyond physically fit. Fitness needs to be taken very seriously by Afrikans who say they are also vegan or raw vegan/ fruitarian. Fitness is a science and can and should be applied to any and all of us. We need to be doing something that makes us sweat at least thirty minutes a day. If not then at least thirty minutes every other day. We should try to push ourselves – when a given level of exertion no longer stresses us significantly, we must raise the level of the challenge – add more weight, add more miles, push further in the stretches, add more variety. Exercise is for getting stronger.

There shouldn’t be no flabby vegans, shouldn’t be no fruitarian dough-boys or girls. We should cease to separate in our minds vegan and physical fitness. Afrikan forces that practice veganity and athleticism can potentially be among the most revolutionary and sophisticated cats walking the Earth.

As for me, I know I want to do more work in the cardio department. My resting heart rate is only slightly below the average, and I’d like to bring it far below the average and get into marathon-running territory, for real. I’m putting this out there so I am forced to challenge myself. I’ve always relied on my own body for transportation – walking, biking. When I was in college I did much much more jogging than I now do, and was on the track team for a minute way back in high school. And I’ve been doing Kung Fu twice per week for over a year and a half now. I also do plenty of calisthenics. But all that hasn’t translated into an extremely high level of cardiovascular endurance – territory I’d like to march into in order to near the level of the great Afrikan dieties of marathon running. Why not? Cardiovascular health is perhaps the most important in the realm of increased longevity, oxygen utilization, disease prevention, and so on. The elite athlete should be joined by the masses in enjoying the pinnacle of heart health. I’m going for it. Why don’t y’all consider similar moves?

Exercise has to be targeted and specific. Want to work the cardiovascular system and strengthen the heart? Do extremely vigorous, sweaty, hard, rhythmic, sustained activities that involve a lot of running, cycling, rowing, or other such movements. Want to increase muscle strength? Do plenty of weight-bearing activities wherein you periodically, incrementally increase the amount of weight you lift and move. Want to get more limber and flexible? Go for the yoga or yoga-like exercises, and make sure that during each session, you push yourself further than you did last time. And make exercise comprehensive – so your sessions and sports make you stronger, more flexible, and increase endurance.

Physical fitness, including at the highest levels we should attain, is only a good thing. ONLY A GOOD THING. AND AN ESPECIALLY EXCELLENT THING FOR AFRIKAN VEGANS. We need to be as strong and healthy as possible in order to struggle long and successfully for our people.

I am increasingly convinced that the discourse of veganism is empty without the language of physical fitness.

Let athleticism, sport, and regular hardcore SWEATY exercise grace our black vegan lives, so we reap the benefits and roll through the world beautiful, strong, healthy, and ready to pull down the walls of oppression and disease with our bare hands!

Towards a veganism of physical fitness and sport!

Towards the Afrikan vegan fitness revolution!

It’s never too soon or too late to start making the right moves.

UHURU!

A Straight-Edge Screed

An advanced revolutionary raw vegan sista recently wrote this outstanding polemic against alcohol and the destruction it beholds for our people. I had the following to say in response:

This is 1000% heroically true, besides being academically sound and passionately convincing. Thus the most dedicated raw vegan/ fruitarian, which I think can be a way of life approaching the highest form of humanism if done conscientiously and diligently, HAS TO BE COMPLETELY STRAIGHT-EDGE:
Alcohol free
Drug Free
Pharmaceutical Free
Meat Free
Sloth and Laziness Free
Consumerism Free
Materialism Free
Addiction Free
Greed Free
Ignorance Free
Mindlessness Free
Egoism Free
Meaningless Fornication Free
Intolerance Free
And in my hard-honest opinion, Religion Free, Dogma Free, Fatalism Free, etc.

Fruitarianism has to be combined with a will for serious discipline no matter the social consequences. I occasionally associate with those who drink, even smoke marijuana, but I never participate in the usage of intoxicants, to the extent that after years of my friends seeing this, it has had a moderating effect on them; I have even been quoted by a friend as saying “not a drop” when offered alcohol once, but so be it. I agree that the revolution in human society, the Afrikan revolution, the redemption of indigenous peoples and oppressed peoples in the third world, cannot proceed without the removal of alcohol and other intoxicants from our diets.

I have seen videos on Al-Jazeera of the obscene destruction of Australian aboriginal societies by the drink. It is well known that indigenous peoples here in Turtle Island, forcibly circumscribed to concentration camps euphemistically called “reservations,” live terribly short lives and suffer from alcoholism and resultant liver failure en masse. Afrikan and Latin@ communities in the urban quarters of the United Snakes are similarly dispossessed by the infiltration and invasion of alcohol, drugs, and addiction into our lives.

It’s no mystery why among the first concerns of the Cuban Revolution and that of Vietnam were getting rid of brothels in the former and opium dens in the latter. The drug economy and the war on drugs, from the jungles of Columbia and Peru, or the poppy fields of Afghanistan, to the ghettos of America, is a war on oppressed and colonized peoples, based on the perverse addictions of the colonizers and the induced addictions on the colonized as a false escape from the malaise and affliction of colonization itself.

It is so true that alcohol’s appeal and importance is based on capitalism and perpetuated by the marketers which create all manner of psychological enticements for people to drink. Appealing to the low self-esteem of folks, they plaster Budweiser posters all over the subways in my city (NYC) so folks will think drinking that poison will make them super-sexy and glamorous. It is beyond odious to attack human frailties, especially the vulnerabilities of the oppressed, in such a manner as to get people to pay for poison, to put a cash investment into their own demise! Thus is the case for every other useless commodity offered to us in the world of Times Square, the world of Madison Ave and Hollywood, which drives this fragile and false and destructive and immensely wasteful consumer economy on which America’s financial life is now based. What an unsustainable and violent and bleak future awaits us, is indeed enfolding now and has been for ages, if human civilization is permitted to proceed along these anti-human, sicker than sick, empty lines, the road to the proverbial wasteland. Human liberation must jettison such addiction and the very capacity in us to allow ourselves to be taken for a ride by these marketing professionals who are the henchmen of capitalism and the arch-enemies of human wholeness and human freedom. What Karl Marx described as “commodity fetishism” is very real indeed and it has to be demolished. Doing away with alcohol is just the beginning but would make for a very profound one in the content of the message of such a rejection.

The mystery of tagging myself “Precision Afrikan” is actually an homage to the vision of precision straight-edge in the punk movement, which is very strongly opposed to drink, drugs, mindlessness, perversion, irresponsibility and excess in relationships, and so on. I think that a vision of the most serious discipline is the foundation of a model for human liberation that can sustainably meet the needs of communities, pursue pro-human instead of anti-human interests, and protect and humble itself to the planet Earth.

Massive thanks to you for this vigorous opus against alcohol. I am known to be a hardliner, a zealot. But I’m not the only one. Uhuru Sista! The oppressed of Afrika, Asia and Latin America will win (with less beer and more brawn)!

Discipline is greatness. Let the white man drown in his liquor poison if he wants, but he can keep it to himself. Let’s stay disease free, including from the disease of alcholism or even the mere normalization of the state of intoxication, dizziness, and resultant blindness to truth, logic, and will to struggle and persevere.

STRAIGHT EDGE ALL THE WAY. VEGANISM=SOBRIETY-ONLY LIVING. CLARITY TO THE SOBER!!! SOBRIETY TO THOSE WITH EYES TO SEE THE TRUTH BEHIND THE VEIL OF THE MATRIX!

What do you think? Is my stance too brash, inflexible, impractical, or righteous? Well, look at it this way: we only live once, exactly. Not being a religious person and thus not interested in afterlife talk or any other comforting metaphysical fantasies, I must assert with confidence that none of us are getting out of this place alive. With this limited-time appointment with the universe, why poison the temple? For that is what our bodies are, luminous temples, rare to achieve, altars of our every ounce and iota of experience, knowledge and sensation. We didn’t ask to be born, yet here we are, breathing, blinking, sitting, thinking, reading this blog post.

That said, I find it hard to justify intoxication of any kind, to put us out of touch with reality and reduce our quality of this already fleeting life. Drink and drugs poison the brain, weaken the body, whither our resolve, and demolish our courage. Some say that, for an atheist, I can sound far more religious than those who fear a god, with this sort of talk. But I say that the only sort of life in which we can maximize self-actualization of all of the goals we wish to realize, given the existential plight we are faced with in taking full responsibility for what happens to us in this open, naked universe, is the sort of life characterized by the highest levels of discipline and sobriety. A discerning person needs the clearest eyes. The eyesight of the drunk is dull. Debauchery – an archaic word, perhaps loaded with moralizing or religious connotations – is a no-no for the most serious Afrikans, no matter what they eat. Afrikan vegans need to be hardcore in their disposition, because vegan is not just about what we put in our bodies, but also about the content of our resolve, our politic, our very demeanor. It is a life stance, especially significant to take up as peoples who endure national oppression and underdevelopment almost everywhere we are.

A woman in Ghana, an economics professor returning to Afrika after generations removed in Jamaica and then London, told me that one of the biggest problems amongst Afrikans was a lack of discipline. Discipline is the opposite of corruption, is it not? I’m not an angel. I’m not an ascetic or a monk. I’m not beyond criticism. I’m a complete nobody. And I don’t write this to front like I’m better than anyone. But I don’t care for mediocrity in my life and so try my level best to live a clean life. Clean living is the way to avoid scandals and live long and productive lives.

All in all, when it comes to drink, drugs or smoking, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. It is to me the opposite of veganism, indeed the opposite of human liberation and the humanizing trend in civilization, to choose intoxication and poison over sobriety and health. And to support economies based on exploitation through intoxication, and the related narcotics trade and war on drugs which destroy life for third-world peoples, just because we want to “party,” is hypocritical, cynical, and perverse. Please folks, let us no longer be softies and liberals about these points. Dump the drink and drugs FOREVER.

Doubts about Being in the North

I am increasingly of the thought for some reason that I ought to head south, urgently. Obviously I expect down the line to be living in Afrika, and possibly Latin America too, for at least a few years, probably when I’m in my thirties. For now I am a student in NYC, where I’ve mostly been all my life except for half a year in West Afrika, including a semester at U of Ghana and time in my ancestral, embattled, yet beautiful homeland, the Niger Delta. My line of thought of late has been one of general concern that winters truly aren’t for me. And if I could I wouldn’t deal with one more of them in this life.

Interestingly, I don’t do bad in cold weather per se. I actually do much better than most people of any skin color. And I’m a very lean and very very dark skinned Afrikan brotha. Dark like any of the most deeply West Afrikan indigenes which is what I am, 100% Kalabari-Ijaw, supremely black and natively equatorial. I like humid weather which I get here in the region of NY Harbor, a characteristic which is climatically very similar to southern and especially southeast (AKA “south-south”) Nigeria. If not for massive urbanization these climes support a historic dense woodland, a tiny fragment of which is preserved in a little forest down my Jersey street. Even Manhattan (Manahatta) was once all woods, not just parts of Central or Inwood Hill Parks. So I am happy with regular precipitation throughout the year.

But I wonder if I’m built for this latitude. Obviously I can withstand it, 40 degrees and change North of the equator, that wonderful band near where all dark skinned peoples evolved to deflect excess UV radiation and enjoy proper sunlight levels to stimulate vitamin D production and stay functional and beautiful. But as I move into an even more intense and dedicated level of raw veganism/ fruitarianism (I’ve been 100% vegan since summer 1999, 80% raw since Oct. ’07, and 100% raw for a year now, and at this point I’m ditching nuts, strictly eating fresh organic fruits and green vegetables only, and I take no supplements whatsoever for anything) I worry of not getting enough sun in these NYC winters.

When I went to Ghana in ’07, I completely skipped winter for that year. I came back to NYC in the summer and went almost a year with mild to hot weather and plenty of sunshine. I now realize that I REALLY LIKED THAT. My body liked that move supremely. I was outdoors all the time in Ghana, even more than some Ghanaians who thought I was a little strange for insistently walking everywhere, even under equatorial noon sun. That equatorial hot 90 degree F noon sun, I increasingly am accepting truly, must be correct for me.

Last winter I didn’t think about this issue that much, but now it’s really on my mind. Almost half of Afrikans living in North America are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is responsible for proper bone growth, immune function, metabolism, mineral utilization, and so much more. A recent resurgence in rickets in the US struck Afrikan children almost exclusively. The colon cancer epidemic among Afrikan males in the US is at least partly related to vitamin D deficiency. And I know that, although I do not and never have suffered from seasonal affective disorder, my direct experience of almost a year of summer was awesome – on a physiological level and possibly even on a psychological one.

Our melanin across indigenous human populations has adapted over tens of millennia to the amount of UV radiation exposure based on distance from the equator, where all the most deeply pigmented populations are indigenous. I am beginning to intuit in my innermost consciousness that the truth is, I am up to 40 degrees from home. I am really thinking about moving to the tropics ASAP – Florida? – at least until I’m ready, after completing certain studies and preparing myself economically, to dwell south of the border long-term. In the meantime, I am also putting myself on the lookout for serious UV sunlamps/ full spectrum vitamin D-stimulating lamps which, at their expense, will be costly for this young student of modest means.

Ideally though, I ought to be spending mad time outdoors in the tropics in the sun exercising and sunbathing and doing other activities on a daily basis, as nature intended, away from the trappings of these computers and other pulls of indoor life, including winters and cold springs and autumns which I am not physiologically indigenous to. I am way too black for winters. And NYC’s winters are admittedly rather mild compared to the icy lunacy Afrikans go through in Chicago or Detroit.

But I still would prefer at least to be on the tropical edge of North America, if not right up in an equator-straddling country. I hear really ridiculous things about Florida though. For intellectual and sensitive people in North America, it seems the Northeast, from Washington to Boston, is king. And NYC is right in the heart of that. And the history of amazing Afrikan struggles and accomplishments in this part of the continent is astounding. And Afrikan communities here are of immense potential to be organized in a revolutionary fashion (my MA thesis was on New York as a Pan-Afrikan City, after all).

Yet I think I will easily leave this behind once I am ready. I know I almost surely never want to visit Europe again – even summers are barely mild in some spots there. Same goes increasingly for the northern latitudes of the United Snakes. I want that hot sun! Humid, sticky, boiling, searing! It’s good for my jet-black skin and my brown eyes. And to get out of the urban jungle would be a much appreciated bonus, as important perhaps for psychological well-being as going where it’s sunnier.

To think that, where I currently live, amidst a large South Asian/ desi population, all these folks are now in this northern latitude – it’s no wonder that diabetes and cancer are exploding among Asian populations in NYC – it’s not just the adoption of sad American diets and sedentary lifestyles – perhaps it’s distance from the climes of tropical India too!

Meanwhile, let me find an expensive full-spectrum UVB sunlamp to prop up in my corner. But one day soon, I will be ready to settle down in the tropics for good and live seriously naturally – access to big tropical fruits all the time, touching the land and planting trees, outdoors ALL THE TIME, getting hot and staying black.

Don’t get me wrong – one may leave the NJ/NYC, but the NJ/NYC never leaves the person. If/ when I do leave there will be many places and faces missed, like my Kung Fu temple and family, my elders from Newark to  Brooklyn, my young comrades across the urban jungle. Gotham forever!

These have been some thoughts about the Sun. To the mighty mighty Sun I bow.