Category Archives: Out on the Town

Fanboy Expo!

What a great time we had this afternoon visiting the FanBoy Expo in Knoxville!

We met wrestler Randy Morton before we even made it inside

Kaleya wore a t-shirt w/ the Nightmare Before Christmas theme (Night before Comic Con), and it was perfect! We saw several Sally & Jack combos there.

Kalonji w/ artist Ren McKinzie

and of course there were lots of Dr. Who cosplayers

lady dressed as CatWoman

We got a signed autograph from John Ratzenburger! We also had a chance to take a picture with him and talk awhile – it was great!

Chewbacca!

Kalonji w/ The Dude

with Wonder Woman

group selfie while at the Nightmare Before Christmas Q&A panel with Ken Page and Chris Sarandon.

At the Pumpkin Farm

Oh, today was great! We visited the Walden Farm for all kinds of fun!  We went with family friends and had a wonderful afternoon.

love this picture! group selfie
sights to be seen on the hay ride
yeah, that cow smells
in the hay maze

about to enter the corn maze

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

This weekend has been great! I’ve had a not so great week as I was sick and had to miss a couple of days of work. I still have some residual respiratory “stuff” going on, but this weekend has been so nice and I’ve felt far better than I had all week.

Saturday I started the day with some shopping – for yarn to use in my crochet projects, and for Kaleya as she has an upcoming science fair.

Saturday night I had a chance to catch up with a friend and her daughter,  and we had dinner at Rainforest Cafe.  It’s been many years since I last visited there and we had a great time!

Then Sunday, Mother’s Day, we spent the afternoon at Edwin Warner Park with friends and just enjoyed being outside. The weather was perfect.

This coming week will be busy as I have a business trip to Chicago on Saturday.  Hope everyone else had a great weekend too!

Panafest Nashville 2014

This year, Kalonji and I had a chance to participate in some of the activities for Panafest Nashville.  The Nashville version is based on the one held every two years in Ghana and aims to bring together all African cultures for a weekend of cultural festivities.  This year, the guest speaker was Nelson Mandela’s eldest granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela.

We all had a chance to meet Ms. Mandela last weekend on her arrival to the states. Africa Legacies Foundation held a reception for her at the Africa House and we enjoyed having the opportunity to hear Ms. Mandela speak about her father, Thimbekele Mandela, and her grandfather Nelson.

kids in the backyard of the Africa House
Kaleya & Ndileka Mandela
Ms. Mandela w/ Dr. Chihombori, Dr. Quao, and Kwame & Justina Ahima
Kalonji and Kwame Lilliard

Then, last night, we attended the Panafest Gala Dinner and had a great time! The Gala was held at the Global Event Center in what used to be Hickory Hollow Mall.  Ms. Mandela was also present, spoke some about her family and the work she was doing – including the fact that she planned to establish a Tennessee office of her foundation – that’s great news to hear.  During the evening we were treated to dance performances, a fashion show,  and great food and music.  We even ran into a family friend while there. For more, the Tennessean has a nice article with information about her visit here in town.

My pictures didn’t turn out the best, but I did capture a few.

Kalonji, Derrick, and Donovan

I also very much enjoyed the music. It was awesome! I was trying to use Shazaam to identify the music, but the app didn’t do that great of a job unfortunately. But, I did capture a few tracks, so I’ll start with those and see what else comes up.

Many thanks to the organizers for a great evening

An Evening at the Africa House

Last night, Kalonji and I attended a wonderful benefit fundraising dinner on behalf of the African Legacies Foundation and the  African Union-African Health Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI).  We really didn’t have all the details of the event before we went, but we were pleasantly surprised.

The event was held in Gallatin, TN at the Africa House — a former plantation home that is now owned by Dr. Arikana Chihombori (aka Dr. C – pictured below in green), a physician based in Murfreesboro, TN and her husband, Dr. Nii Saban Quo.  As soon as we started going up the very long driveway, I had to look the history of the home and quickly found a descriptive article from a Florida newspaper.  The plantation used to have many slaves, and what a striking contrast to it’s current use as a meeting place for people of African descent.

The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of the health care needs in Africa and overall awareness of the health disparities in hypertension, diabetes and stroke among African-ancestored individuals. The stories shared were incredibly moving and greatly illustrated how important it is to increase access to basic healthcare services. The AU-ADHI has a new initiative to promote Vital Signs — that we all need to know our numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc) and that health care facilities in Africa all have ways to collect vital sign information in patients, for as Dr. C noted, it is via vital signs “…that we enter the healthcare system”.

We also learned about Panafest Nashville, an event sponsored by the African Legacies Foundation,  and now I’m really looking forward to attending.  Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana and the Nashville event (April 26th and 27th) is meant to celebrate it here also.  

Overall, we had a great time getting to learn more about the group’s work and their upcoming activities.  Though so much more needs to be done, they are doing a great job and helping to raise overall awareness!