Gullah/Geechee Queen’s Chronicles: When Family is Foreign to You

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com)

I spent the last month watching people cry

And sitting and praying wondering why somebody had to die

Before folks would pay attention and see the handwriting on the wall.

Disya chillun caan yeddi tall tall!

I spent the last month praying for the entire family

The islanders of the world not just the ones I live on in the sea.

I’d open my eyes and see reports showing things continuing to fall.

Hunnuh caan see disya ain fa juss we, e fa all?

I spent the last month looking at all that GOD showed me 

And wondering at the end of it all, where we would all be.

I was thankful that I heard the call

Win GAWD say gwine and lun de chillun.  So disya fa all ya’ll.

***

Middle Passage Month was tumultuous not only in the Gullah/Geechee Nation, but throughout the many island nations that are part of the African Diaspora due to the major hurricanes and tropical storms that brought winds and rains the likes of which this generation has never seen.  As I watched them on the screen, I felt like our ancestors had endured the same things as the billows rolled against the enslavement vessels tossed around at sea on their months long journeys.   I thought about the darkness that they sat in crying and crying out.  I thought about them wondering where they would end up at the end of it which was the same thought that came to many as we sat through the storms that came to our coasts.

As Middle Passage Month drew to its end, I heard some of the most insulting things that I could have ever heard as people spoke of the fact that there were people on the island of Puerto Rico that could not get supplies delivered to them because drivers of trucks were home with their families.   The way it was said was as if being with their families should have been secondary.  I was annoyed by this until I considered the source.  The mouth from which such comments emerged was one that has publicly shown his disconnection from family.  So, if family is foreign to you, being with and standing for family is not what you do.

This caused me to reflect back on how my family came to be here on the Sea Islands and how they too had to encounter those that had no regard for them or their families.  That is why they ripped the families apart.   I also reflected on how many storms my Gullah/Geechee family and I have weathered together right here in this place and on this land.  I thought of how many people evacuated their closest folks with them so that if they had to be somewhere else, they would be there with family.  I thought of how many family members did as we did and called relatives in Florida to find out if they were coming out of there and coming home.  I thought of all the islanders of Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Cuba and I gave thanks for those that were blessed to live through the storms and still have family be one of the primary things that they gave thanks for after giving thanks for life.  The quality of life should always be improved by family, but I guess some would argue that they don’t see that as true, especially if the concept of real family is foreign to you.

I am thankful today that Gullah/Geechee have family after all our ancestors and elders went through.  I also pray that this concept becomes a reality for you.  Family love can help you in the storm and keep you too.  So, don’t discard it if you have it no matter what you do.  If you don’t have it, connecting to it is truly my prayer for you.

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