"2 Tooths!" Lol #daddysdoll the #ElectricLaine now 7 months and counting! #lilboogie #theregothemyarrells #KidYarrell No greater love…
So the month did get away from me before I was able to post this story but at least its only April 1st… Lets just look at it as an opportunity to start the month off on a “good note” lol. The extra day did give me the opportunity to really think about this though. Since this story is a never-ending story I’ve decided to break it up in to three parts (possibly four) and give you a chance to follow along without falling asleep reading a novel. It also gives me a chance to really look at each stage and make edits where its needed. Please keep in mind that much of this was written sporadically at different moments in time so disregard the time line when reading…
Okay, enough about the logistics. Just read below.
This is ‘An Untold Story’ part 1
"Seeing you all here is like watching God return the angels to us…" Those were the words that were spoken to us by one of the members of the hotel staff at the Hilton Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, Africa.
Its taken me almost two weeks to really sit down and put these words on paper about my first trip to Africa. One part processing. One part fatigue. One part recovery. Majority awestruck and procrastination. Sometimes the mind has trouble decoding what the eyes have input into our soul. This was definitely one of those times. Even as I type now I know that it will take many drafts, deep breaths and the patience of a British Royal Palace guard to finish this.
Though on the surface it was the politico-socio-economic climate that brought me to EG, I truly believe that there was something spiritual that lead me there at this time in my life. As someone who is a world traveler and always been intrigued by the possibilities of placing an origin with my features this couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’ve struggled with this my my entire life. Almost always being “the light skinned kid” in the group would sometimes raise questions about my heritage and background that couldn’t be 100% answered by my parents. About the only thing I was for sure of was that I was “black” lol. It nipped at me even more after spending nearly two years of my life in the UK and realizing that everyone there knew exactly where they were from and what they’re genetic makeup was. When I was asked where I was from I’d always respond very matter of fact, “I’m from America!” The very next question was always, “yes but where are you from?” I’d give a blank stare and then have to go in to an American history lesson of how Black Americans are disenfranchised and the products of a cultural “re-org” of some sort due to slavery. That question will always be hard to answer.
It helped a little that while I was there I had many people of african descent tell me that I more then likely was from West Africa just based on my facial bone structure. One went so far as to tell me which tribe but I took it with a grain of salt. “yeah okay… tell the ignorant westerner anything huh?!” Nevertheless its fueled my drive to figure this out.
I could have easily went to one of those DNA test sites but I swore I wouldn’t do it before I visited the land of Africa at least once so that I had some frame of reference to compare the results to. By this time I’d been all over Europe, interacted with South Americans in Brazil and toured the Caribbean Islands. I’m a traveler and Africa, anywhere in Africa, has always been a part of my bucket list.
The opportunity came when I was asked to accompany a group of young minority entrepreneurs to Equatorial Guinea for a conference on economical development in the area. I’ll be honest, up until that point I’d never even heard of the country. It was no surprise to me that it is the smallest country in Africa but a big surprise its the only country in Africa who’s official language is Spanish thanks to early settlers. No surprise it has one of the largest disparities of wealth due to one of the longest running dictators in the history of oppression in President Teodora Obiang. Big surprise it is the richest country in Africa per capita. Thank you Google.
I wasn’t for sure what to expect but I was for sure that FREE+AFRICA+ME = GOING. The turnaround for this was about three weeks so I quickly had to get vaccinations for a number of off brand viruses, a plane ticket to DC where our charter flight was leaving from and the mandatory lecture from Mom and Wife to ensure I came back the same way I left. Message received. By the time I landed in DC I knew this was going to be an experience. I quickly learned that this “group” of us was actually a mob of 80+ individuals from all different walks of the United States but cut from the same cloth of awesomeness. Many of us were heavily involved in non profit organizations, writers, activist, artist, bankers, musicians etc. Together we would soon inherit a connection to each other that few people experience in their lives… that connection would be our journey to and through a small county on the coast of West Africa, for better or worse…
…I’ve been holding on to this story for some time and if I’m being honest with myself then I must say I’ve been extremely irresponsible by not sharing this. I’m embarrassed to say that this story is approaching two years old. Thats the worst of it…
The good news is that its just as relevant today as it was nearly two years ago when it should have been told. Let me also add that I initially said when the story was my experience that I wanted to wait to tell the story because I needed to process the magnitude of its purpose in my life, though I did not expect that process to turn in to procrastination. I’ve had this story logged in my notes waiting for me to press send but I couldn’t really explain why its been so incredibly difficult to go from final draft to print…
Oh, and I’m not about to tell the story right now. It still needs a little bit of work and an ending (but its truly a never ending story) so there’s no need to worry yourself about it today. I do however, want you to hold me accountable to this story. Finished or not, I need to at least begin the conversation this month. If April 1st gets here and I am the fool that has not published “An Untold Story part 1” I need for one of you to make sure I hear about it! Better yet, make sure YOU hear about IT! My story, that is…
My birthday always falls right around thanksgiving. Naturally both days allow me to reflect and give thanks for my life, my loves, and all those that came before me. My grandad, Poppy, has what I like to call “the hallway of fame” with pictures of all of his descendants, admirable people and some of his accomplishments and travels. I realized today that this hallway represents the very same speech he has framed on the wall by Martin Luther King Jr. entitled “The American Dream.” What you see in these 15 seconds is the legacy and dream of McKinley Griffin Sr. On the anniversary of my birth I am humbled by what I see and honored to carry that legacy and to be starting one of my own with my wife and daughter. I can only pray and hope that my hallway will one day hold so much love, tradition and dreams come true… #sonofagriffin #sonofayarrell #legacy #lainespapi #allthatreallymatters #sagittarius #turkeybaby (at Griffin’s Inn)
Yarrell Swag (Taken with instagram)
Memory(al) aerobics (Taken with instagram)
#SundaySummary Wifey puts her foot in a pound cake, Shiner and “The Association” provided the entertainment, and nothing like the aroma of some good ole southern tobacco… Thank you Lord for this day of rest!
The October Square: The hunt for Red “October” can be found right here àt www.mancessory.com/main/squares in April! October is guaranteed to be cleaning up some red lipstick by the end of the night… #SpringCLEAN
That would sure give them a reality check