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voices magazine

Empowering immigrants November 2013

FREE

Lifestyle

VOICES

November 2013

Fashion with

MODEL

Janel

Photos by Charles Dwamina

COMMUNITY GhanAM Ghana’s 56th Independence celebration in Photos

TIPS RIGHT on hiring the Immigration Lawyer by: Wayne Doe

THE OPINION

PAGE!

with Michael K-Poh

FOOD

Recipe

How to prepare Egusi Soup

allnigeriafoods.com

Charlene Dunbar

2013 Belk Southern Design Showcase Winner Photo by Charles Dunbar


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Michael K-Poh .

EDITOR Dr.

PUBLISHER Charles Dwamina

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jaime

FOUNDER Celestina Waindim FASHION DIRECTOR Mark Ethel MANAGING PARTNER

Victorine Ambe-Dwamina

FEATURES EDITOR CHIEF EDITOR

ART EDITOR

Michael K-Poh Charles

WEB EDITOR

WEB CharlesEDITOR Forcha Charles.

GENERAL PHOTO / LAYOUT MANAGER EDITOR Joyce Charles Dwamina

Voices Magazine, LLC PHOTOGRAPHY 7691 Central Ave NE Charles Dwamina Fridley, MN 55432 Tel: 651-600-2544 Advertise with VOICES: Call 952-381-7697 www.celesvoices.com

All rights reserved, 2012

The Global Colors of African Fashion AS COLORFUL AS ANY OTHER!

A

frican fashion has become as colorful and competitive as any of the designs produced by the major global fashion houses. Africans and the African continent have also become prime targets as consumers and markets for fashion items and accessories. In an increasingly interconnected world, it is obvious that the actions of Africans have global resonance, including African fashion. The growing global inroads made by African fashion prompted a focus on the profession in this edition. The global fashion industry is a very competitive one; it remains to be seen how African designers and fashion houses will set themselves apart. African fashion is not homogenous, indeed each designer featured in this edition; the bold Suakoko Betty designs of Belk Southern Designer Showcase award winner, Charlene Dunbar on page xx; and Misi Afrique’s Yoruba interpretations on page 14, each bring a unique style to the industry. The feature article on the globalization of African fashion on page 10 supports the reality of a diversified African fashion industry. African fashion designers exploit both their origin and western locality to concoct a blend of bright, colorful, prints garnished with a whiff of western fashion trends, thereby creating a bridge to global fashion. Products by African fashion designers can be worn in the burgeoning warmth of spring and the crisp sharpness of fall. A key question for us was, “what this fashion-focused issue would provide readers?” The answers are as follows; a window into the products of emerging global African designers; a diverse pool of African fabrics with exquisite, bold, colors, and finally an appreciation of the high standards and positive notoriety African fashion and African designers have attained. ▶


c o n t e n t s 8 THIS MONTH’S MODEL PICK - Janel 11

COVER: CHARLENE DUNBAR : COVER ARTICLE

Charlene Dunbar, LIBERIAN BORN DESIGNER: The 2013 Belk Southern Design Showcase Winner

page 14

12 GHANA INDEPENDENCE DAY: PHOTOS GhanAM 14

17 OPINION PAGE: Discover the Magic Ingredient for Success

page 12

page 18

MISI AFRIQUE : UNVEILING OF MISI AFRIQUE

page 10

18 5 TIPS FOR AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS: Hiring the right Immigration Lawyer: by Wayne D. Doe

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FOOD: HOW TO COOK EGUSI SOUP: allnigerianfoods.com

00 THE CLASSIFIES: visit www.celesvoices.com A Note from the Founder: Mrs. Celestina Waindim

page s10 & 11

It feels great to have the opportunity to share with you the Voices Magazine. I want to thank the Voices team, contributing writers and our fantastic models for their hard work and commitment. A job well done!!!... As we continue to move forward with this dream, we look up to your continuing support and blessings, as we endeavor to improve this publication, issue by issue. ▣ NOVEMBER 2013  VOICES MAGAZINE 

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VOICES MAGAZINE

Letter from the editor..continue We cannot finish this letter without noting the esca-

AS COLORFUL AS ANY OUT THERE!

lating impact of African fashion on global fashion houses. International designers and fashion house have devoted collections to Africa; Givenchy, Tory Burch, Stella McCartney, Burberry Prorsum, Anna Sui and Junya Watanabe among others. They have also integrated wax and African print into their

works. Global fashion houses are also investing heavily into fashion real estate, opening shops in emerging African fashion markets typified by South Africa and Nigeria. Brands like Asos, Gucci, Zara, H&M, Mango, Topshop and Diesel are available in the two countries. Finally, other brands are increasingly looking to Africa as a wide market for products, accessories and profits. The future for African fashion looks good. The dictates and whims of fashion are numerous and ephemeral, but Africa’s tenacious designers and fashion consumers, have proven that they are ready for the big time. Enjoy! ▣

STEP FORWARD AND TRIUMPH: The Remarkable Journey of a US Marine - by Burenice Mulbah

B

eing a Marine is not a job, it is a way of life. Growing up in Liberia, I was never a physical person; I didn’t play sports in school, I was into arts and had tremendous love for dancing, singing and performing. I still do but I also have a passion for life and that includes challenging myself. I decided to join the Marine Corps because I wanted to test my personal limits; I wanted to

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see how far I could push myself. I sneaked away and went to boot camp because I knew friends and family would doubt me and question my courage and commitment. I was known for starting things but not completing them. When my dad found out I was a Marine, he asked incredulously, “are you sure you didn’t borrow that uniform?” There were no family members present at my graduation except an old friend of mine. I wanted it that way; I wanted to surprise everyone and I did. I always had what it took to be a Marine; however, I never knew I did until I decided to challenge myself. What

VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013

I needed was not physical strength; all I needed was a heart, a determined heart. I struggled with all the physical activities at boot camp. I was afraid of falling from the 60-inch tower, I was afraid of diving from the diving board into the water, I was afraid of swinging, I was afraid of the gas chamber. Nevertheless with each activity, I told myself, “I’m going to do it or die trying.” I guess life gets easier when you are no longer afraid of death. I proved to myself that I was born to be a Marine on the rifle range. I wanted to be one of the best when it came to shooting the M16 rifle; I listened and applied every ▶


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VOICES MAGAZINE single piece of advice from the instructor. One of which was to keep the sling of the weapon wound very tight around your arm so that the weapon would be stable for the perfect shot. I tightened my sling so much that it cut

I remember crying a lot during those weeks not because I felt sorry for my situation but because there was a strong possibility that I was going to get dropped due to medical reasons and wouldn’t

ated on time, with both arms in full swing. Staff Sergeant Berenice Mulubah joined the military in October 2002. She has served 11yrs and still counting. She was deployed to Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Mulubah is a published author. The title of her book is ‘Landing Safely on a Solid Rock.’ She is also a poet, painter, radio show host, entertainer and blogger. She is an accomplished, well-rounded entertainer

off the blood circulation to my arm and left it paralyzed. My company commander wanted the instructor to drop me from training for safety reasons, but with the help of the instructor coupled with (my) personal determination, we used some creativity and connected the sling around my chest whilst I fired my weapon. I qualified with the weapon, using only one arm. Though I did not qualify as one of the best, I emerged as the most courageous Marine on the shooting range. I did not regain any sensation in my arm until two weeks later, but that didn’t stop me from training; I trained with one arm.

have had the opportunity to become a Marine. However, I put faith in God first and determination to reach my goal second, trained and gradu-

for 8 months in 2008. She is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan on a three-year stint. Berenice Mulubah has received the following awards and medals: Global War On Terrorism Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; 3 Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals; Presidential Unit Citation-Navy; 2 Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbons; 4 Certificates of Commendation; 2 Sea Service Deployments; National Defense Service Ribbon; NatoMedal ISAF Afghanistan; Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Letter of Appreciation. ▣

Advertising or Contribute an Article, call Charles @ 952-381-7697 or 651-600-2544

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VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013


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NOVEMBER 2013  VOICES MAGAZINE 

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VOICES MODEL PICK

November 2013, Model: Janel Yallah.

Miss Janel Yallah, actress and model, is Voices top model for November 2013. Janel is Liberian born and currently resides in Minnesota. Janel loves to write, sing and make new friends. She is out spoken and fun to engage. Checkout more of Janel’s photos on our website at www.celesvoices.com. Interested in becoming out next top Model? Call Charles at 952-381-7697 | 651-6002544 or email charles@celesvoices.com.

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VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013


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COVER

L

iberian-born fashion designer Charlene Dunbar’s life and sense of purpose have in her own words, “Been shaped by my relationship with the Lord.” This mother of two has firm convictions, is quirky and does not like matching items – an interesting personal nugget for a fashion designer. Charlene was born in Monsterrado County in Liberia, where she spent the first nine years of her life. In 1990, her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Atlanta. Her parents were very instrumental in instilling in her at an early age a keen appreciation of the importance of family and hard work, a desire to pursue success and excellence, and treating other with respect; values she intends to pass on to her children.

In 2002, she married her high school sweetheart, Charles Dunbar, whom she describes as a creative, visionary and supportive husband, who has been behind her every step of the way. The couple has two astute, independent children, 7-year old Ezre and her 4-year old brother, El. “My family is very important to me,” she says, “They are very loving and supportive of my career.” She credits her family with her successes; in particular, attributing her ambitious drive to the encouragement and support she received from her parents at a very young age. She has one worry though, and that is the fact that the demands and requirements of her work take her away from her family for

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long periods, and that makes her feel guilty. A chemical engineer by profession, she was also drawn to art and fashion at an early age, often sketching outfits in middle school whilst her colleagues exchanged love notes in class. In college, she chose engineering as her major due to her love for math and science, and graduated in 1998. Her entry into the engineering field was driven by her love for math and science, but the comparatively high salaries also served as a very attractive incentive. In time, it soon became obvious that the attractions of the engineering profession, however considerable, could not mask her

VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013

true love. Five years into her career as a product developer, she realized something was missing, and that she lacked professional fulfillment. After giving the matter some thought with her husband, she decided to go back to school to pursue a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. She graduated in 2005 and quickly established her own company called, suakoko betty. She set to work creating her own designs and the rest as they say, ‘is the beginning of history!’ Charlene believes African fashion has made great strides in the United States and western world in general. She says of the fashion genre, continue on page 16 ▶


COVER

Charlene Dunbar 2013 Belk Southern Design Showcase Winner

NOVEMBER 2013  VOICES MAGAZINE 

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V COOI C MEMSUMNAI G TA YZ P I NAEG E

GHANA I N DE P

On March 6th 2013, the Ghanaian community in Min Voice was there to capture it a

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VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013


O IM CU ES AZ NE C OV M N IMTAYG P AIG

PE N DENCE DAY

nnesota celebrated the 56th Independence Day of Ghana. all. Photos by Mr. Charles Dwamina,

G

HANA attained independence from the British on March 6, 1957. Ghanaians have been celebrating this day each year. Each year, the Ghanaian Association of Minnesota (GhanAM) organizes the Independence Day party. The aims and objectives of GhanAM includes, among others, organizing programs to allow members to socialize with one another. The Independence Day party is a major social event on the calendar of all Ghanaians in Minnesota. The event is popular because the emphasis is on having fun. We cut our speeches short and devote time to the fun stuff.

Mr. Kwao Amegashie, JD President GhanAM

Mark your calendars for future Ghana Independence Day parties in Minnesota. We typically hold it on March 6 or, if that particular day falls on a week day, the first Saturday thereafter. The best way to find out the exact date is to visit our website: www.ghanam.org. We hope to see you at future events. | Mr. Kwao Amegashie, President GhanAM

NOVEMBER 2013  VOICES MAGAZINE 

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FA S H I O N

F

or several years, Misi Adeniyi toyed with the idea of opening her own fashion label because she felt there was the need for the world to see the beautiful designs and fabrics coming out of Africa. This was no ordinary desire; Misi regarded it as a mission to fulfill the task of ‘promoting and bringing African fashion to the attention of a global audience.’ It was this ‘calling’ that served as the inspiration behind Misi Afrique’s tagline of “Africa in your closet.” The major obstacle standing in the way of her own label was the fact that she is a (self-described) ‘chronic adversary to risk taking.’ To overcome the initial challenges, she relied on her strong religious faith, and the grace of God, to develop the courage, to go ahead and take the plunge to make a long time dream a reality.

a Yoruba name. ‘Afrique’ was a way of representing Africa without it actually sounding cliquish like Miss Africa.” After settling on the name of the label, and registering the business, it became clear that there was no going back, and that, as she puts it, “was when Misi Afrique came to life.” Misi admits that writing her business plan was a real eyeopening experience, which made her realize that the process of taking an idea from concept to reality is not as straightforward as it appears to be. She describes the process as, “excruciating but worth it.” It enabled her to plan and determine the exact direction she wanted Misi Afrique to go.

With the decision to go ahead out of the way, she launched into extensive brainstorming sessions with her husband; it was these stimulating sessions, which led to the name “Misi Afrique.” The reason for settling on Misi Afrique was quite simple, she says, ‘Misi’ is a funky, abbreviated version of my full name, Oluyemisi,

Misi Afrique, in the words of Misi, “has a clear-cut mission to bring Africa into everyone’s closet in style, quality and bright colors.” Misi Afrique pro-

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FA S H I O N

THE UNVEILING OF MISI AFRIQUE vides ready-to-wear clothing and accessories that employ rich African fabrics to design trendy and chic clothes for everyday women. A core objective is to “deliver high quality and stylish clothing to its global customers.” Misi’s designs include work clothes, liming outfits, and church apparel. The proposal is a simple one; no matter the occasion, Misi Afrique will dress you in clothes that will turn heads. A key goal, according to Misi is that, “Every woman everywhere wears Misi Afrique to every occasion, every time.” Currently Misi Afrique operates as an online store at www.misiafrique. com however; plans are in the works to open brick and mortar stores in selected locations. Misi Afrique’s designs have Yoruba names such as ‘Jadesola’ Jeans or the ‘Tayo’ blouse, as a mark of honor to the African

origin of its fabrics and designer. The Yoruba people live in the southwestern part of Nigeria, Misi’s native country. In the virtually congested world of fashion, Misi Afrique’s key differentiator is that it is the first brand to bring high quality, stylish African clothes into the mainstream market for every day women. In addition, it has developed a very attractive sales model for anyone using its unique MA Consultant Program. All sales made through the program attract commissions. The MA Consultant program is open to everyone. To become a consultant, simply log into the www.misiafrique website and sign up. Once you become an MA Consultant, you will be entitled to commission for every sale you make on the website.

during the “Unveiling of Misi Afrique” Fashion Show and Private Sale on July 27, 2013. (Above are some pictures of the Unveiling of Misi Afrique event). ▣

Mr. Charles Dwamina of Voices and Misi Adeniyi of Misi Afrique, during the “Unveling of Misi Afrique event at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, MN

Misi Afrique was launched NOVEMBER 2013  VOICES MAGAZINE 

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COVER STORY cont.. “It has significant meaning and plays a major role in the life of Africans and nonAfricans alike. For instance when my customers wear my ‘suakoko betty’ designs, they tell me they feel special, beautiful and bold.” She notes that African prints are very textural, bright and populated with vibrant colors, prints, and bold details, all of which combine to bring a sense of adventure and confidence to anyone who wears them. She is convinced that as more and more

business, promoting a fusion of West African fashion, arts and culture on a global basis, using the United States as a launching base.

Africans settle in different parts of the world, African and western attire will continue the process of fusion and creative collaboration, influencing and reinforcing each other along the way.

fashion designer. The Belk Design Showcase embodies modern Southern fashion style and Charlene is proud of the unique opportunity to bring modern West African fashion and design to Belk customers. Winning the award is a major achievement for which she will be forever proud! ▣

A perennial optimist, she has big dreams and goals and has plans of becoming an integral player in the growth and development of African fashion in the United States. She has set a five-year goal at the end of which she plans to be running a successful Lifestyle

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She believes that winning the 2013 Belk Southern Designer Showcase validates her status as a designer of skill and repute. She considers it the beginning of her introduction to the global fashion world and an important plank she intends leveraging to achieve her goal of becoming a major

Charlene is on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and Etsy under suakoko betty. Her website is www.suakokobetty. com

VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013

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DISCOVER

O P I N I O N PA G E

The magic ingredient for success!

T

by: Michael K-Poh

he late motivational speaker and success coach, Zig Ziglar once wrote, “America does not lack money or opportunity; banks are full of money and the country continues to offer the most abundant and unprecedented opportunities in the last six thousand years of recorded history. Libraries are full of books; the internet is awash with information and sources of information with which life altering and life transformational changes can be made. Good teachers populate classrooms; there are plenty of leaders, ministers, counselors and advisors. Everything Americans need to become rich, powerful, and sophisticated is within reach. All one has to do to be successful is to take advantage of the available opportunities represented above.” ▶ continue online at www.celesvoices.com

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RESOURCE

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Tips for African Immigrants Hiring the right Immigration Lawyer: by Wayne Doe

M

ost often African immigrants run into problems in hiring the right immigration lawyer. With the kinds of complexity surrounding immigration law and issues, it can be an overwhelming experience to find the right lawyer. African immigrants are known to be skeptical about the immigration process because of the ways information is channeled to them by mostly family members, friends, or community organizations. A certain level of fear usually is evident in working through the immigration process. The fear is either the result of negative perception or simply

lack of adequate information. Here are some tips below that could help you find the right immigration lawyer. 1. Has the attorney worked actively with immigrant group or is involved with professional or community organizations dedicated to assisting immigrant communities? Being an active advocate for immigrant communities shows dedication, commitment and trustworthiness. However, you must follow your instinct to trust the attorney. Do not believe you are limited in searching for a good attorney. 2. Does the attorney practice immigration law exclusively? Immigration law is very complicated and it changes often. With the new immigration reform lurking on the horizon and dominating the immigration debate, it is more important to focus on an attorney who exclusively practices immigration law. Be mindful that some attorneys with little experience in immigration law will pop up especially when there is much focus on changes that affect many immigrants. The attorney must have practice immigration law for at least 5 years to be considered experienced continue on online at www.

.

celesvoices.com ▶

Centre for African Immigrants Recovering from Drugs and Alcohol Addiction(CAIR) The Centre for African Immigrants Recovering from Drugs and Alcohol Addiction(CAIR) is an outpatient treatment program that provides rehabilitation and counseling services to individuals and families who have problems with DUI, DWI and imprisonment. The program has been in operation for the past three years, and is licensed by the state of Minnesota to provide these services. The program is cultural sensitivity to the needs of the clients. We offer transportation to our clients who do not have the opportunity to drive. We are located at 5201 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55432. Office: 612-886-3777 | Hot Line: 612-227-2719 | Fax: 612-208-1208. L-R, Isaac Rue - Treatment Director, Emmanuel Nyemah - Program Administrator, Pokah Draper - Administration, Jonathan Harvey - T-ADC, John Jenkins Bartee - Executive Director, CAIR . Read more online at www.celesvoices.com

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VOICES MAGAZINE  NOVEMBER 2013


V O I C E S M A GFAOZ O I NDE

RECIPE: HOW TO COOK EGUSI SOUP -allnigerianfoods.com

E

gusi soup is without question the most popular Nigerian soup. In this piece, we will learn how to make one of the most popular recipes for Egusi soup (Ofe Egusi) in Nigeria. We will also learn about the ingredients used in making them. Egusi soup occupies a very important place on the culinary table of most Nigerians. To show you how easy and fun it is to make Egusi soup, click on the link at the end of this piece to watch an accompanying video. We will start with the ingredients; it is important to note that most of the ingredients are required while a few are optional Preparation of Ingredients: Grind the four cups of Egusi with a dry blender or hand grinding machine and set aside in a bowl. Add a cup of water and stir to make a very thick paste (click on the link at the end of this piece to see the illustration in the video) It is important to ensure that the bitterleaf (onugbu) is properly washed; this must be done to remove over 95 percent of the bitter taste. Most Nigerians are familiar with this process; it involves washing and squeezing the leaves for several minutes in a very big bowl. In the event you bought alreadywashed bitterleaf from the market, it is advisable to boil it alone for about ten minutes to ensure additional bitter taste is removed, leaving only a small percentage. The boiling process has additional benefits. Parboil the meat of your choice with all the required ingredients. It is generally advisable to parboil meat with some ingredient before adding it to the main food. This improves the taste of the meat. Parboil for about ten minutes, and then add water and

cook till the meat is soft for consumption. Soak the dry fish and stockfish in a bowl of hot water and wash thoroughly to remove sand and center bone, then set aside. Preparation of Nigerian Egusi soup with bitterleaf. Set your cooking pot on the stove and add about 15 to 20cl of palm oil (red oil), allow to heat for a few minutes but don’t allow to bleach. Add the Egusi paste and keep stirring for eight to ten minutes to form seed-like crumbs. Transfer the already cooked meat into the pot containing the stirred Egusi paste-crumbs, stir, add the washed dry fish, stock fish, ground crayfish, 2 cubes of maggie or knorr, then cover half way and allow to boil for ten to fifteen minutes. Important; Stir occasionally to avoid burning. At this point, you can add about a teaspoon of ground ofor or achi if the soup is not thick enough. Add the already washed bitter leaves, dawadawa (local ingredients), taste for salt and pepper. Allow to boil for five to ten minutes, and voila, you just made a delicious Egusi soup. Nigerian Egusi soup can be eaten with rice, but it is especially appetizing with eba and fufu. Pounded yam is also a good accompaniment. Note: This soup can also be made with fluted pumpkin; the same process should be followed; the only difference is that bitter leaves should be replaced with fluted pumpkin leaves.

Ingredients: Meat: 2kg (beef, chicken, turkey, goat meat, or assorted meat). Note: assorted meat is a combination of different parts of a cow. 4 cups of Egusi (melon) Dry fish (about two medium sizes) 1 cup of ground crayfish 1 cup of Ground Osu (optional) A good quantity of washed bitterleaf (see the video below) 3 cubes of knorr, maggi or other natural sweetener 15 to 20cl of palm oil About 2 liters of water Salt and pepper to taste. One medium size Stock fish head (okporoko) (optional) Ogiri or dawadawa or opkei (local ingredients) optional Contributor: allnigeriafoods.com Visit website for information on how to cook a host of african dishes.

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Voices Magazine November 2013  

VOICES is a quarterly publication representing this age of multicultural awareness. It showcases a fascinating backgrounds of people who ma...