My Afro-Cuban Weekend

Another fabulous post by Kikita

I know I've mentioned how much I adore my African friends, so you can imagine how excited I was to have plans with them all weekend and pretend I was African instead of Cuban.

On Saturday night, I was invited to the World Harvest Summer Concert where my friends from Milele would be playing.


Ok, so technically I've only seen them play one other time - but that's not important right now. ;-)

Since I love music, any concert is a blast, but this one was especially fun because of how much dancing and crowd participation is involved.  To my surprise (and infinite pleasure), the group had everyone stepping back and forth in what I know as I Cuban Conga!  AND THEN they started doing a sideways salsa . . . Being the humble and sweet girl I am, I obviously thought these dance moves were done specifically for my benefit.  =D

After the concert, amid the sounds of Africans speaking loudly and quickly in English and Swahili (which sounds just like a Cuban party, only not in Spanish), someone mentioned how the Cubana danced like an African . . .

Huh?  But before I could get to the bottom of that comment, the conversation had moved on to the dinner party the following evening.  That night couldn't come fast enough.  I starved myself all day expecting my first time tasting African food would be a positive one.  I was not disappointed!

Dinner was served buffet-style starting with basmati rice, followed by a mixed vegetable dish (squash, zucchini, and carrots - I think), next was the chicken which was obviously made with onions, garlic, tomatoes (Cuban staple foods) plus a few other spices. As I made it to the end of the line of food, I heard a choir of angels making a heavenly "AAAAAAAHHHHH" sound for there, practically glowing from it's heavenly smell, was a food I couldn't wait to pile onto my already full plate . . .


All the food was absolutely as delicious as I'd hoped.  I was "forced" to have a second plate . . . just to be sure it was as tasty as I thought.  It was.  The plantains were cooked perfectly.  And they were fresh!  Oh what a happy moment!

After dinner, the African music got louder and it was time to dance.  They tried to show me some traditional African dances . . . which were the dances from the day before.  This time, when everyone was shocked at how well I "caught on" I was able to explain that we were doing Cuban dances.

So, I thought I'd be spending a weekend as an African and not as a Cuban, but I was wrong.  I ate maduros, danced a conga, and took 5 hours to say good-bye in the traditional African Cuban way. =D


It's a small Afro-Cuban world after all!