Interview with Miss Cola and her son Keyshaun

Meet Keyshaun Antoine Isaiah Bennet.He’s four years old, hyper, mischievous and full of energy. Everyone calls him “KK”. Keyshawn also has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a sever disease that deteriorate muscles in the body. People with Duchennes can not produce protein and their muscles eventually waste away. All cases of Duchenne’s are fatal.

“He’s so independent its scary…he likes to play by himself, he likes to be on his own. He has a mind of his own,” testifies his mother Nicola Bennet.

Nicola Bennet is a 21 year-old single mother and one of the Wordsmithz involved in WomenzWordz who goes by the alias “Miss Cola”. She has been studying classical piano and is majoring in classical study theory for the Royal Conservatory of Music at York University. She also is looking towards gaining a social work degree.

“[Keyshaun] runs a lot. There’s an island in my mom’s kitchen and he’ll run laps around it…and when he’s done he’ll say ‘Woo! I’m tired.’”

“KK is just KK.”

Nicola Bennet plans to have a fundraiser in order to purchase Keyshawn a brace that will help stretch out the muscles in his legs and help him walk properly.

“The brace is for the larger calf muscles, [it] stretches out the muscles and he only needs it when he sleeps. Keyshawn’s feet [are] turned outwards instead of straight. The brace keep his feet aligned while he’s still young.”

Keyshaun has a weak immune system that further complicates the situation. Nicola says, “I praise God when he’s not sick.” Nicola gets support from her parents who currently live in Oshawa and her local support: her friends. “I love my friends dearly. They’re not even friends, they’re family.”

Recently Nicola made the decision to not put Keyshaun on steroids as suggested by doctors. “There were way too many side effects.” Side effects of the steroids include stunted growth, late puberty, weight gain, severe mood swings, and cataracts.  “He’s a happy child. He is a real kid and I don’t want that to change.”

The fundraiser is November 12th. There’s going to be a raffle, food, T-shirts for sale and of course there will be Sound and Word: poetry, gospel, rap, and classical piano played by Nicola herself! Come out to this amazing event, support one of our own for a worthy cause. For more info, contact womenwithwordz@gmail.com

Peace and blessings.

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Dub It Up

Sunday Morning Hangover

By: Whitney

5 o’ clock

morning dew

the day cracked open to

start a new

but I’m not ready for this one

yet.

mind’s trippin’ while I’m

sippin’ water in the shade

from a cool grass

blade, my eye catches the sky

burp

orange chunks, washed in

yellow urine and then –

deafened by silence this hangover

winks on my temple

aches, quakes, rain on my

head, feet, and ankles

hilarious pain delayed

from last night’s beating

over-amplified sparrow’s song

sends a greeting

to my brain’s weakest side

sour swims in my mouth

like dumpster juice, both limbs

amneisia, doesn’t know who

they are, nausea is never far

But it was all worth it.

Resilience: Stories of Single Black Mothers

This Saturday the long-anticipated documentary “Resilience” is being played at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave. near St. George subway station) at 7pm. “Resilience” explores the lives of three single black mothers in Canada providing an unstigmatized account of the challenges women face everyday. The event is being held to benefit Literature for Life, the founding organization behind Women Wordz.

After the screening there will be a panel discussion with director Lana Lovell, author and social advocate Dalton Higgins, social worker and participant Nancy Blades, and Wendy Komiotis, executive director of violence-prevention organization METRAC.

For more information, visit: www.resiliencedocumentary.com

See trailer below

See you there!

When Brothers Speak – 12th annual Spoken Word Concert

Open Mic @ Trane Studio

Jully Black Live in concert @ Yorkwoods Library Theatre

Yorkwoods library partnering up this year with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the JUNO awards to bring the best in live music to the community. October 23rd 2010 Jully Black will be performing at this free all-ages concert.

Meeting the author of “The Bite of the Mango” Mariatu Kamara

Member of WomenwithWords program posing with Mariatu Kamara (centre in red) after her book reading

Back in March, members from the WomenwithWords program were invited to an afternoon reading of The Bite of the Mango (2008) with author Mariatu Kamara and co-writer Susan McClelland. The Bite of the Mango was one of the first books we read for reading circle.

Mariatu Kamara is a survivor of the war in Sierra Leone. Her memoir, The Bite of the Mango is a remarkable account of her experiences living in her war-torn country. At the age of 12, Mariatu’s village was invaded by rebels where she was raped, beaten and both her hands were cut off.

The 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone began in 1991, when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) challenged the government, and invaded villages throughout the West- African nation. Thousands of civilians including women and children were tortured, raped and maimed during this time. Only a few lucky and resourceful victims were able to seek refuge abroad.

Mariatu, a well-dressed young woman with fine braids, spoke with a quite demeanor yet delivered a powerful message.  Journalist Susan McClelland accompanied Mariatu to the event and is the writer responsible to chronicling Mariatu’s story. Ms. McClelland read an excerpt from the book while Mariatu answered all the questions from the attentive audience.

The room was filled with young women all part Literature for Life’s “Women with Words” reading program, staff members and volunteers. Across Toronto “Women with Word” gathers pregnant young women and parenting mother together to read and discuss powerful stories, including Mariatu Kamara’s The Bite of the Mango.

The circled chairs and child-friendly environment made the reading event intimate, comfortable and interactive. Many audience members prepared questions beforehand and Mariatu, with patience and grace answered every one.

The conversation touched on a variety of topics ranging from the loss of Mariatu’s son, to her experience begging on the streets of Sierra Leon and her attitudes towards homelessness in Toronto, from her constant communication with her family back home to joking about adjusting to Canadian winters. When asked about the advice she’d give to young people, Mariatu encouraged people to move forward. To always move forward.

See more about The Bite of the Mango HERE

Call for Writing Submissions!

Womenz Wordz blog is always on the look out for new poetry, stories, drama and lyrics. If you have something fresh to share with us, submit your piece to Womenz Wordz
*Note that the editors of Womenz Wordz blog have to right to reject any work that is inappropriate or offensive in nature. Also be patient, as it may take a few weeks to get your writing up on the blog.*

Call for Art Submissions!

Womenz Wordz is looking for talented art pieces to be showcased on our blog. Anything goes! If you have something to share with us, please submit to Womenz Wordz with "artwork" in the subject.

MUSIK, VIDEO, and MORE!

If you have any sick tunes, videos or other links you would like to share with us, whether related to something you read on the blog or a link that you think we should showcase, send the URL to Womenz Wordz with "links" in the subject.