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2014-11-15 12.40.16

Found while wandering through Ibarra

Sometimes a black girl just has to snap a photo of unexpected “black love” pieces. I was wandering through Ibarra Saturday morning–trying to get acquainted with my new “big city” in Ecuador–and I came across this poem. (I guess I should translate it, huh? a little later.)

As many of you know, the main reason I didn’t really enjoy Latin America the first time around was because I was uncomfortable being a negrita/morena/Afro-Latina. It was hard to see some of my Plain Jane fellow teachers become Barbie Beauty Queens in Latin America. But as this is My Second American Life, I know what to expect and have learned not to take it personal. In Latin America, I am Afro-Latina until I open my mouth; in L.A.. I’m just a black girl who Latinos don’t really speak to on the bus. Es lo que hay, nada mas.


My favorite street art. Hongdae/Seoul, South Korea, 2013.

And I am living in Afro-Latino area for once. I know this might be non-P.C. friendly, but I must say I have always wanted to have more interactions with Afro-Latinos because there’s a curiosity. I always wonder, “What would my life have been like if the ship didn’t stop in America/USA?” I know in 2014, I shouldn’t think such a thought, but this is real spit. I see myself in the Afro-Latinos of Ecuador, Peru, Central America, Brazil, Colombia, and Cuba. There is a curious glance we give each other for we are “same but different,” as some say.

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There’s nothing like getting off the bus in Ibarra and hearing old school Snoop & Dre and seeing a bunch of young hip-hop peeps. Ibarra Parque Centrica Bulebar.

Last Sunday when I was walking to the outdoor workout area, I passed a car of young Afro-Ecuadorian. They had an urban flair to them. And we stared at each other as I passed in front. We shared in the “same but different” acknowledgement.

So as I start my new life here in Ibarra/Urcuqui, I seek to find ways to learn more about self and peeps of the Afro-Diaspora. Not sure how this will come about. Maybe find a place to volunteer, maybe join a “black church,” maybe find a braid salon. Yo no se…

Sidenote, I saw this video posted on Facebook, and it got me thinking again about “same but different.”

Miss Rizos

Then I watched this video and thought, Ain’t hair texture and skin tone something? There’s this idea that all light-skinned people have straight hair; but here is a chica with hair just like mine.

Afro Mio

It made me think of my foster sisters and how they are 8 & 11 and already caught up in the “light is right, black step back” syndrome.

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Had to stock up on hair supplies before leaving L.A.