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Jasmine Dispatch

A San Francisco Treat

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Ah, the city where I left my heart
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For the past week life has swirled around me with a whirlwind of activity here in San Francisco. I've been packing, meeting tons of new people, making new friends, bidding farewell to friends and family back home and making sure I'm healthy and fit for a world trek. The cool thing is that it's finally here--I leave for Mali to join the team soon. Can you believe it?

I'm originally from Compton, California, near Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. I used to live next door to Michael Jackson. OK, not really, but I saw him once if that counts. LA is really a star-studded town. I sat next to Mark Curry (you know, "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper") on the plane to LA from San Francisco. He's a very funny guy and totally down to earth, too.

Los Angeles is fun! The weather's great and there are sunny, sandy beaches all over the place. There's something for everyone: museums; movies; concerts; amusement parks; and shopping galore. You can find almost any race or nationality there. There's Leimert Park, the cultural and art Mecca for African Americans. There' s Chinatown, Koreatown and Olivera Street, which is rich in Latin culture. You can find any kind of food you can imagine! Overall I'd give LA an A+; it's a definite "must visit." P.S. You might just want to be prepared for earthquakes. You never know when "the big one" might rock the town.

This was my first time visiting northern California, and what an experience it's been. First I visited Old Sacramento where my cousins and I visited shops on a horse-drawn carriage, much like the ones of the Old West days when California was first settled. We had brunch on a riverboat and went to see a dog bakery where they make fresh gourmet dog biscuits, warm and chewy, umm-umm-good.

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This Governor is poppin!
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Then I hopped on a train to San Francisco where I met some people who help organize what's going on with The Odyssey. My first night in town was an unforgettable evening of "Popcorn Theatre." We traveled on a tour bus guided by "The Governor." "The Gov". He took us to many places in the city. For example, a junkyard and a riverbank underneath a bridge, where people performed interesting poetry and skits for us. Weird, but very memorable. Later that weekend we had a totally vegetarian Bar-B-Que. It was awesome, with yummy tofu dogs and veggie burgers grilled to perfection. Have you had them before?

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larger view
A kernel from the Popcorn Theater
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Imagine me walking through San Francisco with my giant purple backpack on, trying to keep from tipping over, practicing for the trek. I might have stood out or looked a little weird in some towns but not in San Francisco. This city is known for its weirdness. So after being semi-lost for a few hours, I finally found the store I was looking for and was on my way back downtown.

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I hopped on the first bus and instantly hit it off with the driver, Jasper McCargo II. I ended up riding on his line, talking and sightseeing for hours. I toured the city, down bustling Market Street, up Haight Street (very cool), to the Sunset area and back. If you've never visited San Francisco, you're missing the most majestic view ever.

The windowfront at The Bible Store
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Jasper is also a Minister and the owner of The Bible Store. At age twelve, Jasper's son, Jasper, III, is the manager of this Bible bookstore in the Bayview area of San Francisco; and, boy, does he know his Bible. His father is preparing the young businessman for a bright future. But not to worry, young Jasper's life is not all work and no play. Between his busy school and work schedule he always saves time for baseball. I also happened to hear that he's got a pitch that's out of this world. This father and son team was a dynamic duo, and I was totally impressed.

I look forward to meeting a million more people as wonderful as Jasper and my new Odyssey friends throughout the trek, and I hope that you'll stay around to meet them too. Please be sure to keep in contact with me. I look forward to hearing from you all. For now, Bon Voyage. See you in Mali!!!

Jasmine
 

Kavitha - Accra…or Brooklyn? The African Diaspora

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