I was raised in the home of a mother who is a Jehovah’s Witness, so birthday celebrations were not a part of my childhood experience and may explain why I do not have strong feelings about them now. I am perfectly content to pass the date cycle of my birth each year with no more than a cursory acknowledgement that I have advanced another year in my life journey. However, my very involved Facebook virtual reality makes it obligatory that I respond in some way to the many very kind and relationship affirming birthday wishes from my Friends that are conveniently prompted by the social media website’s software. Please accept this blog post as my fullest “thank you” to all who took the time to click birthday love my way.
As I reflect on what another passing year means to me, the strongest sentiment I can find within is a deep feeling of thankfulness. At the mid-life marking point of 42 years old, I find myself extremely appreciative for having a robust life full of my core passions and people I love. I am the father of two amazing children that provide meaning and value to my world each and every day, my lovely daughter Issata Abena Nkromo and first born son Kwesi Muyu Nkromo. I have many true friends (with a small “f”) that touch my life beyond the virtual realms of Facebook or Twitter, making those environments simply high-tech extensions of a meaningful network of relationships that are a treasure to me. I am privileged to be working professionally in fields of my life’s purpose, helping feed God’s people in communities and making beauty art in the world. I may be over the hill, but I like this view.
In my full gratitude, I am therefore looking forward to what future years in my life may bring. Now that I know being a father is something I can do well, I am open to having more children as well as determined to do more in nurturing the two in my care now. Issata and Kwesi are entering a stage in their development that involves much more self expression from them and I am excited about learning more about who they are as spiritual souls and expressions of divine purpose. Even though we are divorced, I hope to continue the healing process for our erstwhile family and gain an even better co-parenting partnership with their mother Kipenzi. Getting to know myself more each day, I expect to make more informed choices in coming years about who I should best be involved with romantically. I still believe in love and marriage.
As another year rolls by for me, I look forward to spending more time with people that matter the most to me. I will take time to make it across town to see the many improvements my soul-brother Khari Diop has made to the East Lake Learning Garden and Urban Farm. I will travel to Houston, Texas to see my life-long friend Leah Wilson-Hill and get to know her darling granddaughter Leila, as well as visit with my mentor in the urban agriculture movement Dr. Bob Randall. I will stop by the Rose Circle Community Garden in the West End and swap horticultural techniques or stories with my forever-neighbor and fellow food rebel Debbie Zimmerman. I will find some way to rebuild communication and ties with community building collaborators and dear friends Mike Mumper and Oni Holley. I will sojourn home to Boston to spend time with high school friends like Bridgit Brown and the many family members that I see too little of lately. I will finally make it to Ghana West Africa to see the home made there by my courageous couple-friends Akua and Chenu Gray, as it may be time to look at options some time soon. Inshallah, I will do all these things and more with family and friends in the coming months.
I believe the future is very bright for Atlanta Metro Food & Farm Network (AM-FFN), a new thing in the world built from scratch by me and a close circle of colleague-friends. While I have started and continue to work on other enterprises like The Brow Tutor, AM-FFN is very special to me and becomes more so as the journey of its organizational development unfolds. I have found my bliss in conjuring up this beautiful answer to an opportunity-problem in the world: How do we help people become sovereign and secure in their ability to feed themselves in a sustainable way that respects the environment and builds community or family wealth? If all continues to go as well as it has thus far, AM-FFN will be among the best things I have done with this often tumultuous life and serve as a significant part of my dues for having taken up air and space during these few fleeting years on earth. I will have left the world better than I found it.
Happy Birthday to me and “medase pa” (thanks very much) to each of you!