Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adventures with Ivory: Iowa

me and katie cropped and shrunk It’s a common response when someone tells me where they grew up, “oh! I’ve been there on vacation.”  It seems to be especially true for random towns in Iowa.  This summer, my little vacation to Iowa was a tad less random.  I went to visit Orgfish, one of my dearest and bestest friends.

We met a long, long time ago.  My family had just moved to Cudahy and I was down at the park enjoying the giant swingset.  According to Orgfish, I was jumping off the swings, landing on my head, and going back to the swings to do it again; and she thought, “that’s great. I want to be her friend.”  And we’ve been friends ever since.

Orgfish and Mr. Orgfish welcomed me gladly to their awesome home and we spent the weekend relaxing and having fun.  There were two barbeque parties, a cute movie, some games, and plenty of exploring.  We did some antique store pursuing in Kalona, quilt capitol of Iowa.  The sidewalks are decorated with “quilt squares” made out of bricks.P5310027

We even checked out the African American Museum.  Now, you’re probably thinking what we were thinking, “An African American museum in the middle of Iowa?  How good can this be?”  Well, it turns out the answer is “very good.”

The museum was created by Cedar Rapids’ African American community to showcase the history of the local community.  It does this by placing the local history within the wider African American history and within the even wider African-rooted culture.  Half of the museum is the permanent exhibit that takes you from the slave trade through today.  The other half is temporary exhibits.  We were lucky enough that the temporary exhibit was on African American music.  (And the hip hop display featured lots of Creative Commons licensed photos!)

It’s very well done and very interactive.  You hear about how awful slave ships were and see illustrations of people crammed together, but it doesn’t really hit home until you lay down on the planks and realize the person above you is going to poo all over you, and you’re going to poo on you and the person below you, too.

In addition to laying on the slave ship, we played African drums, participated in a sit in, added graffiti to a wall, DJ’d, tried on football helmets, pretended to fly an airplane and plunked around  on the piano.  I had a little trouble getting out of the airplane.me flying airplane (2)


sit in

(Orgfish is participating in the sit in. I’m the mean cafe worker refusing to serve her.)

It was a fabulous trip and a great time hanging out with great friends.

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