| LAST UPDATED: SEP 5, 2006 – 9:07:00 AM
MXODUS Tour Report, Part 2
Special tribute to tour guide extraordinaire, Dr. Toni Mokjaetji Humber, Ph.D.
“Whatever good befalls thee (O man), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls thee, it is from thyself. And We have sent thee (O Prophet) to mankind as a Messenger. And Allah is sufficient as a witness. Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah. And Whoever turns away, We have not sent thee as a keeper over them.” –Holy Qur’an, Surah 4, verses 79-81MXODUS Tours, in collaboration with Adventures in Africa Tours, would not have been as successful without the energetic spirit and dedication of our official tour guide, Dr. Toni Mokjaetji Humber. It was late in the day of our planning for this tour, with many obstacles and schedule changes that occurred constantly in progressive stages, to complete such an ambitious project within a month-and-a-half. Without God’s blessings, this tour would have been an adventure in madness. To all of those who stayed the course, I am sure that they have been greatly rewarded for their efforts.
|Dr. Toni Humber (c) poses with students from nearby schools beneath the Statue of Yanga during the Yanga Festival August 11-13, 2006. Inset photo: African drummer and teacher of African dance Lamine Thiam, (c) from Senegal performed at Yanga Festival with dancers. Photo: Hakeem Khaliq|
When I first met Dr. Humber during her special exhibit held at the Pomona Art Gallery of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in the summer of 2005, I intuitively felt that our paths were joined, to meet again. She had maintained her own vision of one day being able to conduct a tour group of young people to visit both the town of Yanga as well as other places that were home to the Olmec Mother Culture of Mexico exhibiting the Black presence in both ancient and contemporary times. We shared a common vision that has now been made manifest in this initial premier tour.Her exhibit, which opened last summer, was entitled, “Where Black is Brown, the African Diaspora in Mexico.” Our education tour was entitled, “The African Diaspora in Mexico premiere tour-August 9-18, 2006.” And what an educational delight and learning experience it was for us all who participated, which included children, ages 7-12 and young adults, ages 21-35. This journey represented the Words and Divine Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad made flesh. He talked to me 32 years ago in 1974 in our residence in Mexico about the whole country of Mexico and its prophetic role in the future. He particularly named the states of Veracruz and the Port of Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico, which opened into the Atlantic Ocean. Our tour began in the state of Veracruz, traveling from Mexico City to Cordaba to Yanga. Dr. Humber was called and chosen by Allah (God) to answer the call of this prophetic voice and oracle of our times. She joined forces with us in this ardent expedition, which included the original Olmec sites in the state of Tabasco and ultimately linking to the Olmec Maya regions deep in the jungle and rainforests of Chiapas. She emerged at the right moment in time, encircling us with the depth of her research from the Festival of Yanga, interfacing with the people and families that she is a part of, to the experience of Carnival, which exhibited performers every evening from throughout the state. The performers included a famous singer from Honduras and a drummer and teacher of dance from Senegal in Africa. Those who joined us on this caravan trek returned to the United States with a treasure trove of memories to share with others that they were truly witnesses of the Black, Brown, Red and others of African and Asian origin from all over the world meeting in this sacred place, working and living together in peace, love and harmony with all the members of the human family of the Planet Earth. We absolutely felt no political or racial divide and were truly received and embraced with kindness and compassion; not as visitors, but as family members welcomed back home. The concluding paragraphs include Dr. Humber’s bio and her own personal remarks: “I am professor in the department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies. I received my Doctorate from Howard University in Sociolinguistics. I have been conducting tours for the African American Heritage Tours in Los Angeles for the last 21 years. From there I went on sabbatical in Mexico for three months in 2003 and this is when I began my research on the African Diaspora in Mexico. “I have been interested in the ancient Olmecs since reading “They Came Before Columbus” in 1980, which was a pivotal year in my interest of Ancient Africans in Mexico. I have had the opportunity to travel to several countries in Africa, the Caribbean and also Brazil and Panama. “My discoveries were so astounding that I have returned every year since to continue my research. This tour was an outgrowth of that research and the fruition of my dream to lead tours that explore the little known and unrecognized contributions of African peoples in Mexico and Latin America. What was unique about this experience is that we combined the ancient with the contemporary to gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s impact in Mexico. “Thanks to the determination, tenacity and support of Mother Tynnetta Muhammad and the tireless efforts of Akilah Muhammad of Adventures in Africa Tours, Nujah Muhammad, Nyame Salassie and Hakeem Khaliq Muhammad and Steven Muhammad, the vision of this tour is now a reality. It is an historic undertaking and will be the first of many to follow. “It is our hope that, as a result of participating in this tour, participants will become agents of change to enlighten others. “We also hope that they initiate and generate meaningful dialogue among Black and Brown communities to foster greater understanding among youth about their historical connection, common struggles and triumphs, and their intermingled sangre (blood) that has produced beautiful and dynamic peoples of the Americas.” “Whoever intercedes in a good cause has a share of it, and whoever intercedes in an evil cause has a portion of it. And Allah is ever Keeper over all things. And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it, or return it. “Surely Allah ever takes account of all things. Allah, there is no God but He—He will certainly gather you together on the Resurrection day, there is no doubt in it. And who is more true in word than Allah?” -Holy Qur’an, Surah 4, verses 85-87 To be continued.