Support this act of kindness!! #getmichealhome

In a world where we are all stuck in the monotone march to the our jobs, we can often forget to be human and lend a hand to those in need. When i came across this story my heart went out to Ms Baker as she was inspired by selflessness and decided there and then she wanted to make a change.

Regardless of what people thought and bear in mind it wasn’t part of her day Jenny has decided to do the unthinkable and i’m behind her 1000%.

In a nutshell, Ms Baker got talking to a homeless man in Dalston, East London and conversation took over. She found out that he came to the UK to look after his sick mother and since her passing, he had fallen on hard times, became homeless and wasn’t able to fund his return back to Jamaica.

His request for money didn’t come and in place was a beautiful request for ‘Ginger Beer’, a popular drink amongst Jamaicans and Caribbeans. One of the only things that remind him of happier times in his homeland. Ms Baker was captivated by his story and decided to create an online fund to help Micheal back to Jamaica.

Through the help of social media, Jenny (Twitter: @Bakeyboo) has raised over £800 with a target of £3000 of well wished donations towards his flight.

I wish her all the luck in the world, thank you for restoring faith in humanity!!

michael and jenny

To donate to #getmichealhome, click the following link: http://www.gofundme.com/6rb6f0

Plantain or Plátano…..

fried-plantains4

Plantain or Plátano?

As the title suggests, even though language separates them immensely there is no denying that Latinos and Afro Caribbean people have a lot of things in common.
Discovered or re-discovered as’The New World’ in 1492, this area of the world is famous for its care-free lifestyle, its tropical climate and welcoming people to name but a few, however there are many similarities that people many not have been exposed to making these neighbours, almost flatmates.

Historical
On that infamous wrong turn (Originally bound for Asia!), Christopher Columbus amongst others, introduced European Colonizers to the Caribbean and South America as a new land waiting to be governed. From the brutal slave trade connecting West Africa to the islands and mainland to the Spanish Encomienda system in Cuba, from the start Latinos and Caribbeans have shared memories of imperialism at its worst. It is well known that countries such as Cuba and Brazil had a vast number of slaves brought over to work on various plantations but there were also prominent numbers of African slaves taken other colonies in Ecuador, Mexico and Peru for the similar purposes, in turn creating pockets of African culture in these countries The Amerindians, the Aztecs and other native groups were forced into a system of slavery in order to make the region profitable and from this we see one of the earliest similarities between the cultures.

Geographical
When someone says they are going to the Caribbean, the most common assumption would draw to islands such as Jamaica, St Lucia or Trinidad however the Caribbean diaspora goes as far as the Mexico across Central America and down into the South American continent. There are 30 Modern-Day islands territories including Cuba and the Dominican Republic making them a part of the physiological structure of the Caribbean however regions such as the UNESCO protected Garifuna culture and the Mosquito coast of Central America to Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina of Colombia can’t be denied to influence of the Caribbean Sea upon their lands. The fact that in 2009 Peru officially apologized to Afro- Peruvians for the devastation caused by slavery across history shows that African presence definitely made a huge impact on their country and culture and in many parts is still alive today. We can also see the that geography plays little part in the cultures of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana who are all run by foreign department regardless of being on the South American Continent. Therefore the Caribbean is not just a chain of islands; the most accurate definition has to include multiple Hispanic countries as well.

Musical
The 90’s created a rebellious musical movement around the Caribbean and Latin America. From the influence of the USA and the desire to create their own identity music genres of Dancehall and Reggaeton were created. Infamous for their sexually charged lyrics and infamous dances such as the ‘Dutty Wine’ and ‘El Perréo’ the two genres have gained a lot of enemies, blaming them for social problems such as increased peer pressure, drug use and glorifying vigilante behaviour. Another theme up for debate is the degrading of women, many of the songs talk about infidelity, domestic violence and promiscuity as a common theme which has caused protests all over the region. This being said we can’t deny the percentage of female liberation these genres have inspired. In a society very much controlled by Catholism, Latin American women found comfort in women such as Ivy Queen and the late Jenni Riviera who spoke about current issues affecting young Latinas as well as giving them power in a ‘macho’ society. Though very different culturally, Grammy Winning Jamaican vocalist ‘Lady Saw’ did the same for young women of Jamaica, being the first women to rap within a male dominated genre and even gave brought the importance of safe sex to a very conservative island. However we interpret the controversial genres there is a prominent common ground in both culture’s approach to rebellion and equal rights.

Gastronomical
Food is one of the biggest evidences of cultural assimilation that can be found in both cultures. There is no doubt that if you visit any Latin American or Caribbean you will be offered a meal that includes the staple diet of ‘rice and peas’ or ‘Arroz con Frijoles’. Whether it is the economic popularity of the dish or the caloric benefits the two have cemented themselves into the cultures. The tropical climate has also made way for a number of snacks to be made in a similar way. The ‘baleada’ or the ‘Arepa’ are easily compared to the ‘Fried Dumpling’ or ‘Pattie’ due to their easy preparation and wide range of variations. However the most popular connection between the two diets has to be the ‘Plantain’ or ‘El Plátano’. This starchy banana can be boiled, mashed, fried, roasted or chipped, you will find a bunch on almost every Latino and Caribbean shopping lists. At any stage of maturation you will find a recipe including this staple food from the abundant plantain chips to the tasty chapo juice containing blended plantains.
These are just a few examples of how the two cultures have come to be almost identical although linguistically they could not be further apart so next time you pick up a plantain just think of you are holding they key to the assimilation of Latin American and Caribbean culture.

(This Article is based on my own personal opinion and research do not wish to offend anyone, just putting some food for thought out there….)

Let me know what you think!
xoxo

Tissue Issues in Jamaica….

toilet roll

You clean your toilet correctly, practice safe sex and regularly shower or bathe so your private areas should be protected right…… Well maybe not so much.

A current socio-hygienic pandemic is spreading through the private parts of Jamaicans across the island as they are demanding that the Jamaican government release the brands of toilet tissue involved in this alleged health scare.

According to reports, a gynecological was worried about the amount of female patients she was receiving with similar complaints regarding their intimate parts and decided to draw the attention of BSJ (Bureau of Standards Jamaica) to investigate the matter further.

Much to her concern and the concern of millions of Jamaicans, at present four toilet tissue brands were found to have ‘high bacterial content’ which confirmed the gynecological findings and fears are the amount could rise. However to the dismay of the Jamaican people, the government have decided to hold onto the details of the suspected brands rather than in their opinions, give the people the information they need to protect themselves.

Now this is a very sensitive topic as you can see the warning flags fly up all over it!

We don’t know as yet whether the brands are national or imported but the Jamaican customs authorities have never had a standard measure for the testing of hygiene products in that way therefore if the cases are true and brought forward, Jamaica has no way to protect itself as they have been accepting these products for a long period of time without ‘specific’ regulations.

On the other hand from a business point of views, companies and convenience stores wanting the government to support them as the sales of this everyday product are slowly decreasing and if the names are released they will have a stock pile of accused unsold toilet tissues. It would make a big financial impact all across the island.

Another big scare is the sexual health aspect of the case, a number of male patients have come forward showing similar symptoms. Does this now mean that this was transmitted also through hygienic practices or could we have a new strain of STD?

Products such as FemFresh were a huge demand on the market for women who were irritated by the components in everyday shower gels and creams.
Toxic Shock syndrome is caused by a bacterial toxin that women are exposed to when using a type of feminine hygiene product and if left untreated it can have fatal results.
So it almost questions how a product as intimate as toilet paper was overlooked in regulations creation…

It is something that we have to address as a society as there are many victims in this case but it needs to find a solution and fast.

(This blog is purely based on my opinion)

Global Food Cravings……

Hey so as i sit here enjoying every crunch of my crisps i thought i would do a quick blog about foods i miss from the countries i have been to and what i miss when i leave the UK….

UK: it has to be Walker’s Cheese and Onion Crisps and Heinz Salad Cream (My extreme addiction to salad cream led me to take 4 bottles to Cuba with me on my study abroad, they last 10 months!!!)

 

  

 

 

Cuba: The avocados and guavas were sooo fresh and tasty. Also the man 2 blocks from made house who made what could be the best and freshest churros in the world.

     

 

Jamaica: Jack Fruit and Sugar Apples…… AMAZIIIIINNNNGGGGG In generally crave anything from Jamaica as its in my heritage and we even though eat the traditional dishes in England, there is just something about eating home food in your home country that makes it taste so much better!!

    

 

U.S.A : Well most things you can buy here in the UK but nothing is like Aunt Annie’s Cinnamon Pretzel with a Strawberry Lemonade to wash it down or a ‘Love It’ size cup of French Vanilla and Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Cookies, Fudge, Caramel and chocolate sauce.

 

Mexico: My undying love for Gorditas especially carne asado con queso or a burrito con salsa valentina (Any one know where i can get Salsa Valentina in London?) OMG mole chicken with real chocolate sauce with rice or chicken pozole is the best winter warmer!!! Bombas or tortilla with melted cheese and salsa are a good party dish as well. Although i could eat most Mexican food without a problem!!

    

 

Greece: I fell in love with tzatziki sauce when i went there 6 years ago and i still but it thanks to Tesco!!!

 

Catalunya, Spain: There is a Seafood Paella call Fideua that i have when i spend my summers in Spain !! It is made with little noodles cooked with seafood. Anyways i love that too!!

 

After all that i think i’m going to go a bit mad then maybe find a gym because the thoughts alone must have given em a few calories!!!

Next place i’m off to is Honduras and i’m already excited about the food there!! Any recommendations are welcome…..