There's nothing on the planet quite like a hurricane to level the playing field for all people of any economic status.  Whether you are rich, poor, or somewhere in between, a hurricane doesn't discriminate.  It sweeps through, bringing the furry of wind, rain, debris, unfamiliar pathogens, flash floods, sometimes tornadoes, and it doesn't care about your skin color or how much you bring home every week.

It's the first or second weekend in August, the candles (about 15 of them huddled in their jars on a giant charger in the middle of the table) are lit, a bottle of wine is cracked and my husband's cousin, Malisa and I are having a serious conversation in my screened in back porch...we call it fire talk in the winter when we light the giant fire bowl and sit outside sipping wine or hot cocoa...but it's Florida and winter is nowhere in sight least not for months... so tonight, it is candle talk.   The sticky, humid night greet us, with mosquitoes so thick along the screen it looks like a hazy, moving cloud of the hopeful vampires that they are...waiting for one of us to mess up and open the porch door so they can siphon our blood to make their eggs mature.

"I want to help women, mothers, & their kids", I say.  I want to call the workshop "Empowering Women".

"Liv, how are you going to keep this relevant?" she cautioned me, "You live a privileged life."

" I do... but it wasn't always like this for me.  I have experienced what it is like to not have and I have worked for what I do have.  I need to get the word out.  I should inform people about their purchasing power and how it is making a difference."

Inwardly, I cringe at the thought of the phrase 'purchasing power' is such a first world problem... and she eagerly reminds me of her current situation which furthers the blow to the point at hand.  Yet, somehow, I bring the conversation round full circle and remind myself and her that we don't live in Africa, where my Shea butter comes from, we live in a privileged country called America, where worry of mosquitoes infecting us with something deadly like Zika, Yellow Fever, or Malaria is at a minimum.

I live every day with the protection of screens on my windows, in a conditioned air environment that is 25-30 degrees cooler than the scorching sun of summer outside my home.  My family and I turn on our faucets to receive our water, we don't have to walk miles every morning to pump it or dip it out of a water hole and walk it back to the house on our head every day.  I wash laundry in a machine, I don't hand scrub it over a washbasin with handmade, black ash soap forged from the fires that I cooked my food on.  I turn my laundry into a dryer to dry, I don't set it out on rocks or a line to dry in the sun.  I go to a local store and pick up my produce and food, instead of bartering and raising my own livestock,  and growing my own vegetables.  I cook my food on a stove, not on open fires.  I live in a country of luxury, and even the poorest that live here have access to the same luxuries that I have every day in public spaces here in how can I possibly relate to women that don't live a privileged life like this?

Enter the lesson teachers...Harvey, Irma, & Maria.

We are still dealing with the repercussions of the storms both county and country wide and it has both humbled me and made me grateful for every blessing I have.  Now,  if I can continue to purchase things that I need to make Shoogie products, from the women who are working to make it, I am not only helping to support my family, but in some small way I am helping them help their families a symbiotic relationship...everyone wins, and I am totally about that!

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