Growing Healthy Hair Naturally

In this article, I am going to cover some of the basic techniques that you can use to help your hair grow naturally. The techniques are commonly known to many and the idea behind the article is to help it serve as a reminder for people to help them grow healthy hair to reduce hair loss.

So what are the things you need to do to ensure that you grow long healthy hair:

Tip 1.

Wash your hair at least once a week. The reason why this is very important is that in order to maintain a healthy scalp, your scalp must be clean. Its that simple. This is especially true if you do a lot of working out. Washing regularly gets rid of the dirt and salty sweat that accumulates in the scalp.

Tip 2

This is related to tip 1. Rinse your hair between work outs. This important to stop the salt that accumulates from the sweat during a workout from stripping away the essential oils that are required by your hair.

Tip 3

Detangle your hair in the shower. This is important for people with tighter curls. Many people who have tight curl growth pattern can find it very difficult to comb hair when dry and aggressive combing or brushing can result in unwanted damage. Use a shower comb from your local store that can cost less than $1 and after conditioning comb your hair detangle it. Detangle your curls by combing at the bottom of your hair and combing up closer to your scalp.

Tip 4

Deep condition your hair at least once a month. This is again important to prepare the hair for any hair strengtheners and gives hair extra care that is not always given to it during a regular wash.

Tip 5

Keep your hair moisturized – This is particularly important for people of Afro Caribbean origin as their hair does not benefit from the natural oils in the same way that is seen by Caucasians. The growth pattern of Afro Caribbean people’s hair restricts the essential oils from reaching the ends of the hair strands so applying extra moisturizers helps.

This is also good for people with dry hair. Even being out in the sun and wind damages your hair so it is important to moisturize not only to get rid of the dryness in the hair but also prevent split ends from forming at the ends of hair.

The Life of Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. His father, Earl Little was an outspoken Baptist preacher and an avid supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. The young Malcolm was to be moulded by his father and the terrible oppression that was inflicted upon his family. The family was forced to move twice after receiving death threats from white supremacists. The family eventually settled in Lansing, Michigan but their efforts to escape trouble failed, the family home was burned to the ground and two years later Earl Little was found dead in suspicious circumstances.

His father’s death had a devastating effect on the family, his mother began to suffer mental problems, eventually being committed to a mental institution. Devastatingly, the children were broken up and sent to different foster homes and orphanages. The young Malcolm was moved around a series of white foster homes, he was certainly unsettled but he managed to remain focussed on his studies, graduating from junior high school at the top of his class. However, when a favourite teacher scoffed at his lofty ideals of becoming a lawyer, telling him that such high aspirations were not for a black man, he dropped out of school entirely. He moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister Ella Little Collins.

Collins lived in Roxbury, which was the centre of the African-American community in Boston. Malcolm was attracted to the energetic, bubbling, communal lifestyle. He worked a number of odd jobs, before taking to the road and drifting from city to city; he eventually shored up in Harlem, New York. He began to peddle in the criminal underbelly of the city, becoming involved in narcotics, prostitution and racketeering rings. He managed to avoid the draft during World War Two by putting on a show of madness when he was being interviewed. In 1945 he returned to Boston becoming involved in a number of robberies, he was soon arrested, charged and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He served his sentence at the Massachusetts State Prison in Charlestown. It was there that he met John Elton Bembry, who would profoundly influence Malcolm’s way of thinking. Malcolm was hugely moved by the way in which Bembry stirred respect amongst his fellow prisoners just through the use of words and language.

The two struck up a friendship, Bembry encouraged Malcolm to educate himself. In 1949, after being informed of the Nation of Islam by his brother, Malcolm began to become very interested in the movement. The Nation promoted the concept of black self reliance and actively sought to assist African-Americans in achieving political, economic and social success. He began to correspond with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad and soon became a member. In 1952, Malcolm was released form prison, he went to visit Muhammad, becoming prominent in the movement. He changed his surname, dropping ‘Little’ as he viewed it as his slave name and adopting the surname X to signify the tribal identity that had being lost to him forever.

He was soon appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam and was charged with the establishment of new mosques. Charismatic and compelling, Malcolm began to seriously increase the membership of the Nation, utilising all forms of media to spread the movement’s vision. He began to become a media magnet, being featured in countless interviews, programmes and articles. He was featured in a week long television programme called The Hate That Hate Produced with Mike Wallace in 1959. The programme explored the movement and Malcolm’s place in it, by the end of the run, it was apparent that Malcolm X had eclipsed his mentor Elijah Muhammad’s influence within the movement. As opposed to the civil rights movement, the Nation condoned any means necessary to achieve it’s aims. Such a stance alarmed the authorities, FBI agents infiltrated the organisation and began to monitor all the group’s activities.

By 1963, Malcolm had become disillusioned with the Nation; he had learnt that his mentor Elijah Muhammad had secretly being having affairs with several women within the movement and indeed some had given birth to his children. Malcolm was dismayed, Muhammad had taught celibacy. Malcolm felt cheated and more importantly he felt that he had in turn cheated all the people that he had persuaded to join the Nation which he now perceived as a fraudulent organisation. To compound the fall-out, Malcolm had made scathing comments about JFK’s assassination, the Nation publicly censured their talisman, Malcolm had enough and split from the movement. He founded his own religious organisation, the Muslim Mosque Inc. and a secular organisation, the Organisation of Afro-American Unity, a group that advocated black nationalism. In the spring of 1964, he converted to Sunni Islam and embarked upon a pilgrimage to Mecca, it was to fundamentally alter his outlook.

During his pilgrimage, he encountered and observed Muslims of different races interacting as equals, he began to believe that Islam could be used as a vehicle with which racial problems could be overcome. On his return to America, he began to preach not just solely to African Americans but to all races, his vision had definitely broadened. This led to an even further deterioration in relations between Malcolm and The Nation of Islam, the latter taking the rather drastic decision of marking him for assassination. Tragically, on 21 February 1965, whilst speaking at an Organisation of Afro-American Unity meeting, Malcolm X was shot and killed by three gunmen who rushed the stage.

The Life of Malcolm X

Ingrown hairs result when shaved hairs get trapped inside the follicle or grow back into the skin. Dirt and oil can build up around the trapped hair causing a bump to form under the skin. This bump, if infected, can cause the skin to become red and swollen. Afro – Caribbean men can be more prone to ingrown hairs due to the fact that curlier hair is more prone to looping back into the skin.

One of the best ways to avoid ingrown hairs is to shave properly and use the right equipment. If you don’t currently wet shave then give it a go. If you already wet shave you may want to try an electric razor or try following the steps outlined in the perfect shave. (link to the perfect shave article). Keeping the skin wet during the shaving process gives you a more effective shave and better looking skin. The hot water opens the pores of your skin and softens your stubble for more effective cutting – reducing the risk of ingrown hairs.

How to prevent ingrown hairs

o Use a facial scrub prior to shaving to remove the embedded oils and dirt from the skins surface while lifting embedded hairs from their follicles for a less irritating shave.

o Use a shave brush to apply a good quality lubricating shave cream in a circular motion. This, again, helps to exfoliate the skin and prepare the stubble for shaving.

o Always shave in the direction of the grain with a light amount of pressure on the razor

o If you suffer badly from ingrown hairs you may want to try using a double edge razor. Many Afro – Caribbean men in particular find switching to a traditional double edge razor clears up their skin and can make shaving much more comfortable. A double edge razor cuts through tougher facial hair more effectively without pulling at it and requires a lighter amount of pressure.

o A disposable razor with double or triple blades can actually increase the risk of ingrown hairs because the first blade often pulls at the hair while the second and third cuts it below skin level, this provides a closer shave but increases the chance of ingrown hairs occurring.

o Moisturising the skin after shaving will keep the skin smooth and supple while keeping the hair follicles moisturised and growing in the right direction.

How to treat ingrown hairs

o Never forcibly dig out ingrown hairs by the roots as you’ll only make things worse.

o Use a sterile needle or sharp tweezers to gently tease out and unfold the hair. Do not pull the hair out initially allow the skin to heal around the hair before removal to prevent the problem reoccurring in the same area. If hair is very long trim with scissors but do not pull out at the root.

o If area is red apply an antiseptic cream to the area.

o Do not use any product that contains alcohol, it can exacerbate the problem area by drying the skin out and closing the pores.

Birding in Uganda

For the last several years, we have watched the music industry slowly fall into the abyss. There are more free loaders out there then ever before, stealing music on the Internet and finding other avenues to get what they want for nothing in return. But then on the other side of the fence, the music industry spent many years ripping off the public and the artist they are (were) suppose to be supporting.

I have been in the music industry my entire adult life. In the 80’s, I was a recording artist, and through the 90’s had worn many hats recording with other artist, singing jingles, and even joined the Elton John Band and toured the world till the early 2000’s. So having been on the inside of things, I have gotten a chance to see how everything went south. But that will be another article to write about.

This time I wanted to talk about ring tones. Why do we pay. $2.99 for a .30 second piece of music that should only cost 1/3 of that in the first place, well I’ll tell you why. There are so many hands involved in getting a piece of the pie. First the label, gets it’s cut, about $1.00, then you have a middle man who aggregates, getting there percent, then the the cell phone carrier takes there cut. After all this the little bit left goes to the artist, who created the music in the first place, about .20 cents. So even with all the billions of dollars made on ring tones, the artist is still getting burned. Uganda stands out as the most thrilling birding destination in Africa with thousands of bird species there fore being the richest country for birds in Africa. There several birding sites well disturbed in the country. Uganda’s biodiversity lies in its range of habitats which don’t only attract birds but also with the glamour of large mammals in immense wilderness. It boasts more than 1010 species of birds distributed in its wide range of habitats and 13 species which are very vulnerable and are globally threatened. There can be few destinations on earth where one can expect to find almost 612 avian species in one park alone. In Guinea- Congo forest lies Uganda’s richest bird life with 144species of birds ,12 species lies in lake Victoria basin, afro tropical highlands has 87 species, Somali and masai 32species where as Sudan and guinea savanna 22species.

Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park has recorded 450 species while Queen Elizabeth national park’s habitat has attracted 610 species of birds. These two parks alone are among the richest protected areas to be found any where on Earth. And this immense volume and diversity occurs miraculously in a space, which keen birders can cover in a relatively short visit. Bwindi is believed to hold the richest faunal community in East Africa including over 346 species of forest bird species.

Lake Mburo swamp, northern western and southern areas are fringed with dense stands of the giant sedge cyperus papyrus. This seemingly monotonous habitat in fact harbors an amazing number of bird species and there are in fact six birds here that live only in such swamps the so-called papyrus endemics. The papyrus gonolek is one such bird .It has a yellow nape and crown black wings and red breast and long toes to allow it to grip the thick papyrus stalks.

These parks recorded species of shoebill, papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, saddle billed stork, brown crested wattled plover, Carruther’s cist cola, Tabora cist cola, great snipe, Abyssinian ground hornbill and many more.

Allover the mountains are at least 89 species of forest bird 27% of the country’s total.

Mabamba swamp which extends through a narrow bay, miscanthus and cyperus species dominate. This swamp is situated 50km west of Kampala and has got threatened species like pallid harrier and the shoe bills are seen in big numbers. Other species present in this swamp include spur winged, pygmy geese , white winged warbler, gull- billed tern, yellow backed weaver, herons, whiskered terns, northern brown throated weaver, blue headed coucal among oth.

The largest mahogany forest budongo has 340 species of birds which include the African dwarf kingfisher, yellow and grey long bills, crowned eagle, cholate backed kingfisher, red tailed thrush, cassin hawk eagle, pygmy crakes, sabin’s spine tail, brown twin spot, yellow crested wood pecker, little green sun bird, grey headed sun bird Cameroon somber, forest robin and so many others.

Kibale boasts 339 species of birds including bar tailed trogon, fine branded wood pecker/ white billied crested flycatcher. Laying in albertin rift valley, bwambaforest/ semliki forest reserve more than 131 species have recorded of which the congo serpent eagle black throated coucal, grey throated rail, spot- breasted ibis, capuchin babbler, yellow-throated nicator,Northern scrub Robin, Red-chest owlet, western bronze-naped, black-collared lovebird and the quail-finch.

Gazetted in 1991, bwindi host 346 species of birds. It has 8 of 28 globally threatened bird species in Uganda, 4 of which are vulnerable and endangered. Other interesting birds are African green broadbill, Shelley’s crimson wing, black-faced rufous, warbler, graver’s warbler, banded prinia’ Black-faced Apalis, Mountain masked Apalis and the yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher.

Lastly mgahinga’s vegetation consisting of bamboo forest zone and montane forest belt and also top alpine moorland vegetation has attracted over 115bird species. 4 globally endangered and 390 afro tropical highland biome species are known and scarlet tufted malachite sun bird, are spotted in the park.

Spanish Verbs, The Beginner’s Challenge, Part III of a Five Part Series

A. Learning Spanish Special Revenge Verb: SER

We begin where we ended with the second Spanish revenge verb: SER.

First, I request the reader’s indulgence for a brief moment. I want to explain something. Since writing Part II, the IR revenge verb, I have thought profoundly about why the Spaniards, a very simpatico people, would punish us English speaker so long after defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1688 and so intensively with revenge verbs.

Then, it struck me, like a bolt of lighting: The Spaniards are not to blame. They merely learned revenge from their immediate prior conquers, the Arabs! As the reader knows, the Spaniards were dominated and controlled for over seven centuries by the Arabs from North Africa, who referred to themselves as Almohadas. From 711 A.D. until the latter part of the fifteen-century, (1491) an Arab golden civilization reigned in Spain. Although the Arabs had an enlightened history of tolerance at the time, e.g., allowing Jews the most freedom they had ever experienced until the founding of Israel almost 500 years later, they have always had a single fault: revenge! So, the Spaniards inherited their revenge from the Arabs and therefore we should blame the Arabs for foisting upon us verbs that are not only suffused with revenge but lack common sense.

Now that I have resolved the enigma as to why the very nice, courteous and likeable Spaniards are still taking out revenge on us via their revenge verbs, IR and SER, I will discuss the second revenge verb, SER.

B. Learning Spanish Requires Learning SER.

To really understand the intensity of revenge in SER, one must conjugate the
present tense, compare it with the past tense and see with how IR adds to the intensity of the revenge.. Every single ending in the present of SER is a revenge: Yo soy, tú eres, él, ella es, nosotros somos and ellos, ustedes son. Why could they not have just conjugated SER using more common sense—like, yo so, tu sas, ella sa, nosotros sam, ustedes san?

Think the present conjugation is crazy, just try the past: Yo fui, tú fuiste, él, ella or usted fue, nosotros fuimos, ellos, ellas or ustedes fueron. Where did the “f” come from? There is no “f” SER!

Our little Georgia “Peach” noticed the fact that SER and IR are identical in the past tense. She believes that she has lost her sight, her sense or both. Not so. The Spaniards have conflated these two entirely different verbs in the past as identical, but with starkly different meanings:. Fui (Ser) means I was. Fui (Ir) means I went, it went or did go. How crazy would I sound if I said, “I was went, did go to the beach? Well, some of my English students here may say I sound just like that!

For Peach this thing of learning Spanish is getting to be worse than punishment; it’s torture. Luckly for her, she came to Costa Rica to learn Spanish at RICA. She goes to Limón and she learns that the Afro-Costa Rican, who are over one-third of the population in that province, have blended Spanish and English and given birth to dialect called Mekatelyou!

You see the slaves and Jamaicans that came to Costa Rica and built the railroads, after the other populations had died from the extreme heat trying to do so, decided not to fuss with the revenge verbs; in fact they decided to blend and create their own dialect. Mekatelyou has largely dispensed with worrying about verbs much like the many gringos here in Costa Rica have dispensed with even trying to conjugate Spanish verbs. Many gringos here resort to communicating via infinitives. “Ir Samara,” “Querer unos
`lechuga, ’” or “Comer gallopinto.” The Limonese just say “Yo goin’ dhere,” “My mudder me gru’” or something like that and go and have a nice day!

Now, before we get too chauvinistic, let’s not forget we in the United States are adopting similar practices. Just listen to the “Decider” and you will quickly realize that we can be creative with English too: Let’s go on the “internets,” because “mission accomplished,” we “stay the course,” but with “timetables.” Now who says the gringos and the Afro Costa Ricans can’t communicate just as well as the Decider?

Still, Peach wants to know why the Spaniards have not let us off the hook. Well, you see, Peach, the Spaniards had a flashback after their trains were bombed and they have steadily refused to adopt this writer’s suggestion that they replace SER with Alcanzar and IR wit Alzar. You see, Peach, violence never achieves anything. Had the Arabs not bombed the trains, the Spaniards may have been more receptive to my suggestion to change the revenge verbs for verbs that actually made sense. The problem, Peach, is that Alcanzar and Alzar are Arabic words, as are approximate 5000 other Spanish words, all left over from the Arabic conquer of Spain.

So, we’re stuck with two of the most pernicious revenge verbs and, you’re going to have to learn them. I suggest you start off with the purchase of a book called 501 Spanish Verbs. But you should know that, I, unlike the U.S. Congress, am not taking bribes for promoting this book—in fact, I get paid not one cent for promoting it. Now, go learn Spanish!

Please feel free to republish this article and/or email it. The author requests that you include the author’s information and a link to [http://www.spanishrica.com] in the reproductions.

Black Dating

If you are an Afro American and you are seeking for a special someone, this article will be very helpful for you.

If you want to try online dating, go right ahead, because, love can hit you from all the different places. We have to go out with several people before finding the best one for us. If you are reluctant to try online dating, you should read some sites that can help you below:

You can visit BlackPlanet.com which is a cyberspace site that offers match-making type of community. This place can be a good ground of meeting friends. There is another site afroconnections.com which is more specific to profile searches. They are sophisticated features on profiling that you will find very interesting. Online dating is somewhere you can meet people with the same interests as you do. The site love.org provides just that. Register here and you’ll find you can easily browse through the control panel to search for members who share the same hobbies or likes like you.

Afro American dating online is made easier through the help of these sites. You can also try visiting ebonyfriends.com if you haven’t found the one that suits your requirements from the examples listed below. Ebonyfriends.com is dedicated mostly to African singles looking for online dates or online friends. It has a creative and unique way of helping users pair up with each other.

Do not think that the internet is just full of confusing sites that leads you farther from meeting someone special. You are sure to find a site that fits your needs.

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Loving a Man

A few months ago a female friend of mine said to me, “Men fall in love, women make a deal.”

At the time I was once again reviewing my “what’s wrong with this picture” database on male/female relationships. We understand each other so poorly, we disappoint each other so often… why, what’s wrong? I didn’t know that I couldn’t know. How authentic could my feelings and observations be when my entire experience of relationships arose from conditioning, programming, reaction and emotion?

I was conditioned by the relationship of my parents with each other and with my siblings and myself, and by the rural and small town culture of “this is what we believe, this is who we are and this is how we do relationships.” After that I entered into an emotionally draining marriage followed by a women’s liberation “throw away your bra” phase, followed by the “I need a music career” phase, followed by a “wake up to the Afro-descendant reality” phase… and realizing our white cultural reality is perniciously blind as a bat, I entered my activist phase.

Still solidly inside the matrix when it came to what love is, I helped my husband through the end of his life. Yes, I believe I did love him, for I had never felt such sorrow. So when my friend said men fall in love and women make a deal, I thought… no. Women love. After all, I was doing loving things, I was helpful and agreeable and very sacrificial. I had concluded that love was an action – something you do – a verb. Yet if I looked deep down, my feelings were often adversarial and resentful. I didn’t like the way I felt in my role even though I did my role well.

So, knowing the imbalance within myself, I gave her viewpoint some consideration. Jokingly I wondered if that’s why when a couple gets married people say congratulations to the groom, i.e. good job man, you got the one you wanted; and best wishes to the bride, i.e. I wish you well in making him into a decent husband – hope you got a good deal.

Funny, but there may be a lot of truth in it… think so? At its best such an agreement could develop into a family unit, friendship and cooperation – not top of the line, but certainly the apex as far as our culture goes. At its worst it could become a spiritually deadening situation complete with damaged children and the ever-present male/female drama.

I want to know what love is. Do you remember the Foreigner song by that title? (My favorite version is the one by Lucky Dube.) The lyrics say, “I want to know what love is… I want you to show me. I want to feel what love is… I know you can show me.” Here’s a man calling out to a woman to show him what love is. Deep, eh? How are we going to do that if in our hearts we harbor resentment and even disdain and we offer ourselves sexually not from love, but for the purpose of manipulation and control? I know we’ve lived under millennia of patriarchy, but wouldn’t it be just amazing if we, ourselves, hold the key to the way out of that matrix?

Some concepts are transformative in that they come from outside the matrix, and if you take them to heart they’ll cause a change within you. I came across such a concept in an article by the metaphysical teacher, Khris Krepcik. The practice is to develop reverence for the masculine energy and reverence for the feminine energy.

When I first read it I could dig reverence for the feminine energy. My feelings were, it’s about time! But reverence for the masculine energy? Respect we can do because men have the power – we’re used to respecting powerful men. Reverence is another thing entirely. When I first put my feelings into it, I got back the opposite – disdain. “All they really want is to get laid, get fed, and get their ego stroked.” Yep… I really went there. Sorry guys.

So then came my retraining in reverence for the masculine energy. I started looking at the men I know with an eye for their magnificence. Look at how skilled this one is, look at how noble this one is, look at how this one really has your back – he would actually lay down his life, look at how this one suffers from the words of his nasty girlfriend, look at the amazing mind of this one and the creative genius of this one, look at the stranger who just held the door for me, look at the gas station attendant who beams when I walk in, look at the bum in the street – how he struggles to maintain his dignity, look at how this one has spent his entire life and taken hit after hit after hit just to help people liberate themselves.

Men are friggin gorgeous!! They’re the light of my life – they’re the light of my mind. I am in awe of them. And then I went to the difficult place… all he wants is to get laid, get fed, and get his ego stroked. What’s wrong with that? It’s his nature! He needs to feel my softness, my receptivity, my response, my healing, my comfort… he needs my whisper in his ear… I see you, I feel you, I love the way you love me.

And then the most amazing thing happened… I actually felt/saw energy pulse from my heart center and enter a man in his heart center. The polarities recognized each other! Soft on the outside strong on the inside feminine energy mingled with strong on the outside soft on the inside masculine energy. I didn’t say anything in that moment, but I thought… that’s what love is – it’s a force of energy! On the inside I felt a delicious softness and receptivity that I knew was feminine – it felt like coming home.

What did he do? Well, he stopped what he was doing and paused in thought. “Joy,” he said, “… knowing you is such a joy.”

How long has it been since we have loved men with the love that takes no hostages? So many of us have come to believe that man/woman relationships are a battle for power, a war of the sexes, an ownership or control kind of thing. In this war, we women fight with an armada of secretive and manipulative devices. I don’t blame us… the world is completely out of balance and we had to survive.

But you know, so few of us are comfortable with the way we are. We’re angry with men, disappointed in them, and chronically dissatisfied. I do believe we can begin a process within ourselves of return, and I think it’s time. The balance is shifting. It’s becoming safe to love them. Patriarchy has run its course and the collapse of it ain’t pretty! Remember, the guy across the room did not create this system – he’s a prisoner of this matrix just like you are.

Reverence for the masculine energy is a journey indeed, and I’m a beginner on the path. It’s all good… everybody has to start somewhere, and I’m thrilled and thankful to be on the path at all. Evolution is on the way and I’ll let you know what happens.

While you may not be ready to contemplate reverence right now, how about contemplating this: Stop listening to pop music caricatures like Beyonce, Lady GaGa, et al. The “I don’t need a man but check out my stuff” posture is not a model you created. Stop reading women’s magazines and deliberating on whether to get breast implants. This culture isn’t going to take you home but being honest with yourself might, and grace might, and looking at him with a soft eye might.

Look at him as someone who has been deprived of the real you for a long, long time and get that in your head. Why is he the way he is? Part of it is because you are the way you are. Stop trying to control him and change him… change you. Change the “men fall in love, women make a deal” paradigm into a “we love this love” heaven on earth. It takes courage, I know. There are plenty of toxic men out there, I know. But woman, where will we descend to if we don’t head for heaven?

“On we go, to where, who knows… to a place where there are no non-believers… ” Thank you Stevie Wonder for that one! You’re so beautiful, man.

Meet Cuban Author and Playwright Teresa Dovalpage

Please welcome my special guest, award-winning Cuban playwright and novelist Teresa Dovalpage. She’s here today to talk about her novel, Habanera.

Teresa has a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and is the author of five novels, three in Spanish and two in English, and a collection of short stories in Spanish. Her plays has been staged in Chicago by Aguijon Theater and in small theaters in Miami. Her articles, reviews and short stories have appeared in Rosebud, Latino Today, Afro-Hispanic Review, Baquiana, La Peregrina, Letras Femeninas, El Nuevo Herald and other publications. She currently works as a freelancer for The Taos News and the bilingual paper Mas New Mexico.

Teresa presently lives in Taos, New Mexico, where she teaches Spanish and Spanish Literature at UNM-Taos.

Q: Thanks for this interview, Teresa! When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

A: Thank you, chica! Now that I think of it, I probably decided to become a writer when I was a teenager. I grew up in Havana during the 80’s and entertainment options were quite limited then-camping out in rustic settings or going to Saturday night parties. I was never the cheez boom bah type (in fact, I was a nerd) and was afraid of snakes so I stayed home in the company of books. After reading thousands of pages, there came a time when I thought, “Hey, I bet I can write one too.” And I began to write…some really awful stories, according to my mother.

Q: Did anyone in your family write or have creative interests?

A: My grandfather used to have long conversations with himself and he often wrote them down. He transcribed them carefully, in dialogues between two characters “Yo” and “Mí mismo” (I and Myself). I don’t know if this counts as creativity, though… I tried to depict a few of his eccentricities in Ponciano, the main character’s grandfather in my novel Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family.

Q: Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

A: While I lived in Cuba I didn’t think there would be any opportunity for me to publish my books so I just keep writing for the love of it, por amor al arte. But I knew I would eventually leave the island, which happened in 1996. Once I came to “La Yuma,” as we call the United States, it was quite a smooth road. I didn’t even have an agent when I began, just sent the manuscript of A Girl like Che Guevara to as many publishing houses as I could think of. “Someone is going to pick it up, someday,” I figured.

Q: Did you have any mentors?

A: Pues claro! There are two writers that I greatly admire and consider my mentors, mis maestras. One is Lorraine Lopez, author of The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters and a finalist of the 2010 PEN /Faulkner Award. I always learn a lot about plot development and structure from reading her books. And my fellow Cuban Ana Cabrera Vivanco, currently living in Spain and author of Las Horas del Alma, a brilliant novel that I expect to see translated into English soon.

Q: Let’s talk now about your novel, Habanera, which has garnered some rave reviews. What is it about and what was your inspiration for it?

A: It started as a memoir, but at a given moment I realized I had reinvented history too much. After some prodding from my mother, who called me a liar among other things, I decided to turn it into fiction. It is loosely based on my own family, though I added many events that never happened in reality. (There was no ghost at home, at least that I knew of.) But the characters are inspired in my parents and grandparents who were-and are-a weird and motley crew.

Q: Habanera combines quirky humor with compelling drama. How do you decide when to incorporate humor in this type of novel? Is it a conscious decision or does it come natural?

A: Well, some things that people find funny were never intended to be humorous at all, hehehe…

Q: One of the reviewers wrote: “Dovalpage is a master of quirky, lovable characters, and emotionally resonant narrative.” How do you create your characters and make them genuine? How do you make your prose shine with emotion?

A: In this case, I copied most of the characters from reality so creating “genuine” characters was relatively easy. After all, I knew the models well… As for the emotion part, I try to give as many details as I can, to get inside the characters’ heads and let hem do the talking.

Q: What was your writing process like while working on Habanera? Was it difficult to go back in time and relive that experience?

A: Since I started it as a memoir the writing process was like keeping a journal backwards. I wrote down a series of episodes as they came to my memory (the unfortunate event with the Christmas pig at home, the visits to the cemetery…) But when I decided to turn it into a novel I changed the timeframe, from the 80’s to the 90’s, so I had to go back and rewrite some scenes… In general it was fun to relive my childhood experiences. I could see for the first time how quirky it really was.

Q: Tell us what the revision process is like for you. Do you edit as you write or do you edit later?

A: Both. I edit as I write and when I finish the manuscript, I have someone read the final draft too, particularly when it is in English. Ay, these pesky prepositions! My husband Gary has been very helpful in that respect.

Q: How was your road to publication?

A: It hasn’t been too difficult. After my first novel in English, A Girl like Che Guevara, was published by Soho Press, I had three more novels (in Spanish) published-Posesas de La Habana Posesas de La Habana, (Crazy Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), Muerte de un murciano en la Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana) that was a runner-up for the Herralde Award in 2006 and El Difunto Fidel (The Late Fidel) that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009. It was a little more complicated to find a home for a collection of short stories in Spanish, Por culpa de Candela and other stories, but I finally did. And then came Habanera…

Q: What do you love most about the writer’s life?

A: The fact that I can write at home when I feel like it, surrounded by my cats and dogs…And wearing my moo-moo, though I only do that when my husband isn’t around. And most importantly, to hear from the readers, to get the personal feedback that makes all the butt-hours spent in front of the computer worthy. There is a fan of Cuban Literature in Spain who has created a website called La Biblioteca Cubana de Barbarito (Barbarito’s Cuban Library). When I get a message from him or from another reader, I feel in seventh heaven…

Q: What Latina authors have inspired you?

A: Many of them! But I want to mention Elena Avila, who sadly passed away last March. She wrote Woman Who Glows in the Dark, a national bestseller about curanderismo, and several beautiful plays. I used Woman Who Glows in the Dark as a textbook in my Santeria and Curanderismo class at the University of New Mexico and it inspired me to write a book on that topic, 101 Questions to a Curandera, that I am presently co-authoring with an eight-generation curandera, Patricia Padilla. The only thing I regret is not having been able to meet Elena in person.

Q: Did you establish a connection with other Latina writers when you started writing? How important do you think is a supportive community for budding writers?

A: Bueno, we have a very supportive and active community in NuncaSolas! I also have a wonderful circle of Latina writers and we trade first drafts and give each other advice. It is an invaluable help.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?

A: Don’t store rejection letters… I have heard that some writers do it but can’t imagine anything more depressing, plus it seems like bad Feng Shui. And above all, keep writing!

Short Haircuts For Women – Some Ideas to Re-Invent Your Hair

One of the major benefits to having a short hair cut is how easy it can be to maintain and take care of. Your chances of keeping the hair in better condition are far greater as shorter hairs are also younger and more vibrant than when you leave it to grow out. However, it is not only about an easier life – short hair cuts are always at the front of fashion and beauty trends and that can be seen in the many celebrities who are shedding longer locks for a more confident and voguish look.

Just this year alone we have witnessed stars such as Rihanna, Nicole Richie, Sienna Miller and Jessica Alba hitting the red carpet with glorious short hair styles. If you want to make the transition from long to short or if you just want some fresh ideas for making your short hair turn heads – this article is going to introduce you to the current styles that are taking over the world! Read on.

The Shag Haircut.

Think Brittany Murphy – this style is especially popular with younger women. The look is fresh, modern and funky and fits well to confident women – that would be all of you then! I imagine that such a cool look would give you confidence if you are otherwise lacking. What makes a shag a shag is the many different layers that are cut into the hair. You can accentuate these layers and add texture by using a little pomade or wax and teasing the hair with the fingers.

The Crop Haircut.

Victoria Beckham shocked plenty when she went for the crop. It is a big step to cut hair so short and not everyone can pull this one off. Mrs Beckham managed it though – and so can you, especially if you have thick, straight hair or Afro hair. This cut also looks better when you have prominent cheekbones and an oval face shape. The crop is at it’s best when textured and messy as opposed to slick and smooth.

The Pixie Haircut.

Who other than Halle Berry would be the best example of a gorgeous pixie cut. The pixie cut is in fact a classic and even the glamorous Audrey Hepburn favored this style. Again, like the crop – it is a huge transformation if you are going from long hair to the pixie. If you are proud of your facial features – a pixie cut will bring those features forward. Slightly wavy hair, an oval, heart-shaped or square face are the best matches for this short do.

The Sedu Haircut.

Sedu hair basically means straightened hair that is sleek and soft in appearance. Katie Holmes probably uses straightening irons to make her short cut so silky. I for one envy the style of Katie Holmes which is classic, yet modern enough for the younger women. Her hair just makes me want to reach out and touch it – only I often found the computer screen got in the way. The Sedu can be flexible in that it suits most hair types. All you need is a good set of straightening irons and a little more patience if you hair is naturally curly.

That was my pick of some of the best cuts going for short hair. Don’t forget that you can add bangs to most of the above styles for an even more unique look. Bangs can be short, swept to the side, wispy, choppy or even asymmetrical. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

The True Descendants of Ancient Egypt

There are several theories regarding who exactly are the true descendants of the ancient Egyptians. Any one of the following theories might hold the key to the mystery but as yet nobody can say for sure.

o One theory suggests that the modern Egyptian Christians who are commonly known as Copts (and which make up around 10% of the population) are the true descendants of ancient Egypt. They claim that when the Arabs invaded Egypt in 664 CE they segregated themselves and never mixed with the newcomers. If this is true (and it may very well be) then the bloodline would still be pure and they could be classed as the true descendants of ancient Egypt.

o A second theory suggests that the ancient Egyptian race is dead or so diluted that it is no longer detectable. It has been around 1400 years since the Arab nations invaded and conquered the land of ancient Egypt so it is understandable why certain scholars believe that the bloodlines of the ancient Egyptian people must be dead.

o Others believe that a band of ancient Egyptian people either fled the country and the foreign invaders or were exiled by the conquerors and so settled in the neighbouring country of Africa. They supposedly reconstructed their lives in the foreign land with the same economical, political, social and religious systems so that Egypt in effect became a colony of Africa. Today there are several African tribes who profess to be the descendants of specific pharaohs; for example, the Binis of the Benin Empire claim to be descended from Ahmose I while the Dogons say they descend from Ramesses II. Whether these claims are true or not will probably never be confirmed with any certainty. It is compelling though how some societies in other parts of Africa seem to have been influenced by the practices of ancient Egypt.

o Another theory puts the true descendants of the ancient Egyptians all over the world including America. It is suggested that the Islamic invaders began the first known trans-Atlantic slave trade and that Egyptian inhabitants were captured and sold into slavery. An expert in Afro-American history and culture claims that many of the traditions that the Afro-American community celebrate are very similar to those of the Egyptians and he doesn’t think this is a coincidence.

The ancient Egyptians were humanity’s first true civilisation along with Mesopotamia who developed at around the same time. The ancient Egyptians thrived for more than 3000 years and so it seems implausible that they could have been wiped out without a trace. Whether they fled to the safety of Africa, got sold into slavery by the invading Arabs or just integrated with the foreigner so much that they are no longer a true race is a matter of opinion and a final answer may never be agreed upon.