Posted on: Posted by: Kelly Curry Comments: 0

It was a dreary, rainy night in Oakland and all I wanted to do was stay indoors and have a quiet evening.

Instead I was fully dressed, looking out the window, waiting for a car to take me to a gathering of artists celebrating the retirement of the wife of a colleague. The host had changed the location several times for one reason or another and every time I got another text about yet another location, I don’t know why, but the less enthused I was about attending. 

But I’d promised, so when I saw the hi-beams of the car pull up, I  swept my things up in my arms, ran out, dodging raindrops and hopped in. I guess my sense of responsibility was what got me to step outside the cozy confines of my little live-work space that night. Of course my mind, back in those days was consumed with one thing…next steps for my nutrition project -The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary aka TESLA…getting a commercial kitchen…balancing books, how to make my dream of bringing health and healing…LIFE…to people who needed it most a reality. I settled into the ride and watched the city whizz by, the homeless encampments; panhandlers…Oakland’s historic residents being pummeled by the constant fists of gentrification, racism… inhumanity. 

It inspired a sadness in me that had become so profoundly consistent that it had…kind of…taken up residence in my heart.

When I arrived at the restaurant, a bustling Persion spot downtown, my friends were busy seating folks where they thought they’d have the most fun. “I’m sitting you here because I think you and my friend will get along really well.” I looked at their friend and remembered that we’d already had words at another gathering, so as I said hello, smiled and draped my rain coat around the chair…I’d just walked in and I was already in flight mode…plotting escape. 

I excused myself to the toilet, went to the bar, ordered a glass of wine and chatted to the bar tender…wondering to myself why I’d ventured out.  THIS is the place they’d picked??!…it was  a little cold…I didnt’ wanna sit next to this woman…I grounded myself though and decided once again that even though it was feeling as odd as my instincts had warned me it would… that I would make the most of it. 

So I grabbed my wine and walked around chatting to a few of the other guests. 

One familiar face was an activist-writer who had spent alot of time in Venezuela. He was always pretty interesting and had some good convo…I let him know about a project that some of my friends were doing down there and he shocked me by promptly telling me in an almost angry and defensive way that though he seldom agreed with the US government…Trump especially… that this time “Trump is right!” intervening and following through with yet another “regime change” since the current regime wasn’t trustworthy. 

I thought I’d misheard him…”

“This time Trump is right?! The US Government needs to intervene?” 

I must have made a face because he got a little puffed up and in a humphey, defensive way reminded me that he was a bit on an expert because of the years he’d spent down there and how the folks didn’t know how to govern themselves. This liberal white man was in my face telling me, with zeal, that the colonizers needed to continue to colonize and how he wouldn’t have thought that had he not spent time “living amongst the people of venezuela” who had no idea of how to choose a leader that was not a crook. 


I felt something in me turning, as I finally accepted that I should have stayed home.

Things only got better from there when I saw the host approaching me from across the room.

 “Why aren’t you back there talking to Maria…should I seat you somewhere else?” Once again, I felt like I’d entered the twilight zone…everything was so awkward…I was accepting that there would be no comfort here. 

She quickly let that go though because she had another item…”I’m happy to pay for your food, since I know that you probably don’t have any money, just let me choose what you get. I know this menu really well.” 

The look on my face must have betrayed my feelings, which i wasn’t trying to hide…it was just…more than anything…I was shocked by the weird assumptive brutality and all that it revealed…

It was then that my plan for the evening crystallized. 

I ordered what I wanted. 

Had another glass of wine, gave the host a $100.00, didn’t wait for change, called a car, gathered my things and left.

I was so relieved when the light blue, late model hatchback glided to the curb, wheels sputtering tiny drops of rain up in the air… “You Kelly?” 

“Yes…” I said as I got in and shook my head, ready to get back to the Smoothie Lab and continue my work for the night, tidying, writing, being alone with my pups and plotting the how of making it through another tomorrow in the strange movie that had become my life.

Even though I was ready for a little peace and quiet and sooo happy to put the strange occurrences at the restaurant behind me, I made small talk with the driver. 

He had a serious demeanor but still somehow, seemed friendly enough.

“I’m from Chicago.”

He told me after I asked where he was from.

His words, his accent gave me a warm, familiar feeling, “I’m from Chicago too…originally.” I told him. “Oakland…Oakland can be somethin’ else…if you ever get lonely for home, stop by and I’ll make you a smoothie…I do smoothies for the community.” I said to him.

He gave me a really, really funny look when I said that, like it was just this unbelievable thing.

“You do smoothies?”

“Yeah.” I didn’t know what was about to happen…this was sho’ nuff one weird rainy night in Oakland.

“You gotta be kiddin’ me,” he said and then laughed. 

Brother had a beautiful smile. 

“Yep…that’s what I do.” I explained to him that my project TESLA was two pronged, educating and demonstrating, while providing smoothies at schools and pop ups. “I also have a small client based business,” I told him.

“Awwww mannn…this is great!”

He was really excited. I rarely got such an exuberant response.

He reached across into his glove box and pulled out a silver package and popped the overhead light on.

I read it out loud “The Moringa Matrix.”

I told him that I had a client who swore by Moringa. I didn’t really know what it was…but she said it was something that she needed to have in every smoothie.   

“Moringa is amazing! This not your regular average everyday Moringa though…this is sourced from Ghanaain soil,” he said. 

I shook my head and listened as he came to life, fully and excitedly, navigating the Oakland roads and explaining to me the gem that I was now holding in my hands.

“The soil is not depleted there the way it is here, so this is pure, rich, African Moringa.”

It felt to me like this  was the reason God had brought me out on this rainy, dreary evening…alI of a sudden, the world had come to life…I was listening…he totally had my attention. 

From my work, I knew that most of what we eat as Americans, even food that is grown organically, is pretty much depleted of minerals and important nutrients…mono-cropping and chemicals and gmo’s have destroyed our soil. Many of the things that we are busy blaming ourselves, belly fat; brain fog…I could go on and on…but you know…lots of things going wrong with our health…these things can be attributed to poor soil quality.

“I want you to try this and tell me what you think.” he said, “ I can’t leave this one, but I see where you at now and I’ll drop a package off to you and if you like it I’ll sponsor your project.”

When he dropped me off I pointed to the mail slot in my door, just in case I wasn’t around.

I looked up moringa on my phone, and was pretty impressed.

That was it though. I got sucked back into my own lil’ world and forgot all about it…that is until one afternoon I was blending a smoothie for a client and heard something shoot through my mail slot.

It was the shiny silver package…

I opened it and the smell…pure…like the ocean…LIFE…hit me square in the face.

“Wow.” maybe he wasn’t exaggerating.

Still, the package sat there for a few days…maybe a week or so before I blended a teaspoon of it into my own smoothie. 

Steve Cokely III…that’s his name, he hadn’t been exaggerating.  

Not only did I have more crisp, clean energy, thoughts and ideas flowed and I could do EVERYTHING on my TO DO list without breaking my stride…but I felt GOOD…really GOOD.

I realized in those first few weeks of using it, as I lost weight, had tons of energy and enjoyed being happy and creative again, just what it meant to add something to my smoothies that was boosting them in the way that Steve’s Moringa Matrix was providing.

I also realized that I had a much better opportunity in accomplishing the things that I wanted with the Smoothie Lab, which was and is such a large situation with so many moving parts, because of one thing-now I had my true, natural energy again.  

Without being tapped into that energy…I didn’t…don’t stand a chance at accomplishing my dream. 

More research showed me that moringa is actually used in various parts of the African Continent when there is little to nothing to eat in order to FILL the nutrient and mineral buckets of folks eating it. It is a true superfood… and most importantly for folks here in the US suffering through chemicalization…poisoning and mono-cropping it is an anti-inflammatory…a pure energizer.

After that first blend and taste there was no going back.

Then I started using a bit…eighth of a teaspoon in my clients’s smoothies. Many are elder, diabetic…have kidney issues. They LOVED the moringa matrix.

True to his word, after I let him know how much I loved the product, Steve did come on as a sponsor…he sent me a box in the mail and then I purchased some as well to support and also because I couldn’t stop sharing it and I didn’t wanna run out.

The more I use the product I am truly thankful that I ventured out into the rainy Oakland night 

all those months ago. 

My Spirit Guides must have known that to fulfill all my wishes, dreams and vision for TESLA and move nutrition through the community while protecting my own health…that I was gonna need a boost. 

Try it for yourself and order some…

Thanks Steve Cokely III!

By Kelly Curry | Wayfinder Fellow | September 2020

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