Friday, October 11, 2013

The Empowerment Tour - Week #6

Olowo-n'djo with Kimberly at Whole Foods Mt. Washington.
This week the tour entered the North East region, traveling from Pennsylvania to Maryland to the Big Apple. It was busy; the tour crossed over many state lines and met many friends, both new and old. One of the tour highlights has been reconnecting with many of those who accompanied Rose and Olowo-n’djo to Togo last December. Last week brought reunions in Maryland with Kim at Whole Foods Mt. Washington, and in Pennsylvania with Robert at Whole Foods Jenkintown. Thank you to Robert for hosting the team at your home, and for the wonderful West African dinner with friends from Togo.
Olowo-n'djo and Robert at Whole Foods Jenkintown.

Celebrating ten years of empowerment with the team at Whole Foods Jenkintown. 
New friends from Togo.
 “That’s what empowerment is about, seeing people in a different setting, people I only first met in Togo, then in the US, 8 months later, being able to visit them, or visit their homes and be at ease with them and see how they live too. More importantly to see how they reflect back on Togo; I feel they feel what I feel. Until you can go to Togo, until you can experience Alaffia, it’s difficult to understand what it’s really all about.  Now these people understand what I’m thinking, they can see what I’m seeing, and that’s a very beautiful thing. Looking at the American side, or looking at Togo, looking at America together, I can see they are seeing similar things—how do we take care of each other, and also, they see the value of Togo, and the people there, that they have value to contribute. Now the people that came to visit Togo are going above and beyond, it’s a beautiful thing to see people you’ve spent time with and now are like part of the family. DC has diversity, people from different backgrounds. I also met some young Togolese, it was nice for all of us, I don’t get to meet that many Togolese on the west coast, it was refreshing to me to speak their language, our languages, and also to meet people from different backgrounds of the African diaspora, ultimately that’s what we need to do is reach out to this great diversity, and certainly on the east coast there is that diversity, and we are happy to be part of it.”

The warm welcome from the team at Earth Origins Easton.

The team at Roots Market Clarkseville. 

MOM's Organic Marketplace

The Tour headed to New York City from Pennsylvania for a couple of action packed days in the big city. The time in New York was marked by stirring presentations and times of discussion. There were two widely attended dinner trainings which proved to be perfect opportunities to view the new Alaffia documentary.
Dinner training attendees.

Thank you to Kristyana for orchestrating such purposeful events. 

Many thanks to Barry for his hospitality in the City. 
“New York is a very overwhelming city, it’s massive, but it’s also nice to see from the small town to the mid-size town to one of the biggest cities on the planet, that people still care about the very same things, people in Olympia care about making a better future, people in NY care about making the future better, and people in Kamboli, my home village, all care about making the future a better place. We are all caring people; it doesn’t matter where we are. I think that’s what I take away from NY.”
Wrapping up the East with a few stops in Upstate New York, The Empowerment Tour van is ready to put a few more miles on the tread and head to the Midwest.

“You can feel the sincerity and belief in what Alaffia stands for and how that matches with their own beliefs even from the many people who have not visited Togo. It was in some ways good for us, the people who had non-stop tears during our visit; they show us that it’s important, what we are doing, us being in the car, driving nonstop and being in unfamiliar places. It’s nice that people feel how important this is beyond just what Alaffia is, it’s just another example of people on the road that will be in my memory for time to come.”

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