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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Nyakim Gatwech

Nyakim GatwechNyakim Gatwech, born in 1993 in Gambela - a frontier town in Ethiopia, her family originally being from Mawut, a village in Sudan, is a Sudanese model.

She was bullied for her dark skin while she was growing up, but now she has an international following thanks to her exquisite look and her positive self-image posts about self-love on Instagram.

Gatwech has been dubbed the "Queen of Dark" by her fans and is proud of her new nickname. This 24-year-old model is being noticed for the color of her skin, an intense black due to a particularly high melanin level.

"I actually like the name there is nothing wrong with darkness and being called a queen is just the cherry on top," the model revealed to her Instagram followers. (191,000 followers)

"Black is not a color of sadness, death or evil its just the way it has been portrayed for so many years. So I am the queen of the dark who brings light and love to those around me."

Gatwech is also using her new Instagram platform to preach self-love and self-acceptance where she redefines conventional beauty ideals with her ebony skin. Thanks to her stunning modelling shots, the Sudanese model is proving that black is beautiful.

"We've come a long way but we still have a long way to go. My hope is that these posts can remind people everyday of why they should be proud of their melanin.

Why you should be proud of your heritage, regardless of how light or dark your skin is. Stop comparing your own skin to anyone else's."

"Change can only happen once you can truthfully look in the mirror and love that Deep Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mocha, or Caramel complexion."

Nyakim GatwechThat's why Gatwech's positive attitude towards her complexion is so empowering. Not only is she redefining what beauty is, but she doesn't care what the haters say.

"Beauty is in the beholder," she wrote in another post on Instagram. "My chocolate is elegant. So is what I represent. I represent a nation of warriors. You can see it in my presentation. MaMa Africa - my roots run deep!"

She recently described an incident, where an Uber driver pointedly asked her about bleaching her skin to make it lighter.

"I was asked by my Uber driver the other day, 'Don't take this as offensive, but if you were given 10 thousand dollars would you bleach your skin for that amount of money?'". "I couldn't even respond I started laughing so hard. He said, 'So that's a no?' and I was like 'hell to the f*king yeah, that's a no. Why on earth would I ever bleach this beautiful melanin God blesses me with?"

"Then he said so you look at it as a blessing?"

"I just said you won't believe the kind of questions I get and the kind of looks I get for having this skin."

She was asked by Yahoo what her favorite thing is about her skin? Her reply was equal parts humorous and confident:

"Besides the fact that no matter how much coconut oil I have to put on my skin, I'm still ash. I love every part of it, I love the fact my skin is unique and that the skin on my whole body is only one tone, and finally how soft my skin is."

The 24-year-old burgeoning fashion icon, who currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has no shame about her melanin, and she makes sure the world is aware of that.

Nyakim GatwechGatwech is not only an advocate for diversity in the fashion industry, but also a voice for Black rights around the world. She's even been dubbed Queen of the Dark - a title she happily accepts.

"Black is bold, black is beautiful, black is gold. Don't let American standards damage your African soul. Love the skin you live in, no matter what colour or shade it may be!"

Nyakim is a voice of encouragement within the Black community.

"You are beyond beautiful and the love I have for you is unconditional because you are me," she wrote in another Instagram post.

"Let's show the world how beautiful and intelligent we are apart from just being dark skinned."

Though she still receives discouraging messages now and then, she refuses to give up her radiant self-love.

"My skin absorbs the suns rays and my hair defies gravity. Now, you can't tell me I'm not magical!"

Until she arrived in America, the young woman explained that she had never experienced problems with her appearance.

Born in Gambela, a frontier town of Ethiopia, and descendant of a family originally from Mawut, a village in Sudan, extremely black skins like hers were not conducive to virulent reactions. It was a common occurrence.

But when she arrived in America, the young woman explained that she had never experienced problems with her appearance.

"The other models were targeting me because of my skin color. I heard comments such as "Going to shower...?, you're dirty." throughout my schooling."

These comments caused her to really question whether she was a real evil being.

Nyakim Gatwech"I said to myself: maybe my skin is a problem, can I remove it?"

It was only when participating in a local fashion show during the middle of high school that Nyakim began to take an interest in fashion.

With photoshoot after photoshoot, the young woman eventually ended up getting noticed.

Her goal became to prove to all those who had criticized her that the one that was said to be "not pretty" is now appearing in fashion magazines.

Nyakim Gatwech possesses a particularly committed personality and hopes that positive changes will continue to emerge in the world of fashion.

In addition to fighting for her country, which she describes having the richness of culture, the strength of union in the community as being "phenomenal." Now she urges all harassed people not to hesitate to turn to someone for help and guidance.

"You have to learn to love yourself. If I love myself, then others will see that what they say about me does not reach me and they will eventually stop."

She was 15 when her mother took her and left Sudan to flee the war and settle in Minnesota, and now in 10 short years she's a successful model and in top magazines.

She plans to create cosmetics for skin tones similar to hers, but she continues to continue to positively influence people suffering from imposed beauty standards.

Nyakim Gatwech"The South Sudan is a country with people so dark you won't believe your eyes. Skin so rich and teeth so bright. Gosh how I love my country my people and everything that comes with it."

"It's beautiful to be black. It is the color of strength and pride. I will say it out loud. I don't have to hide. I love me, and the color that I represent. Look at me, there is nothing like it. What you see is not an illusion. It's a gift from GOD and don't ever confuse it."

"It's beautiful to be black. It is the color of fame and envy. If I wasn't black, I wouldn't be me."

"When I put a picture up I'm telling people that no matter what you say, I love who I am. I love my skin tone. I'm telling people that I am beautiful even though I look different than the majority of people in this world I live in, and yes I accept myself and for those for haven't yet my hope is that they find away to do the same!!"

"I AM dripping melanin and honey - My ebony skin stays glowing. I am black without apology!!"

First things first: I am so COMPLETELY in love with myself and not in a narcissistic type of way. My skin tone has been previously judged and critiqued as 'ugly' and 'undesirable' so for me take such a statement is absolutely revolutionary - it shouldn't be but it is."

"So... for all the girls who are equally blessed, do me a favor and FLAUNT IT, WORK IT, BE IT! Live your true authentic life!

In numerous places around the world, darker skin is seen as undesirable because of longtime biases and prejudices. It also doesn't help that women of colour, especially those with darker skin, are severely under-represented in television, films, magazines and on fashion show runways.

Nyakim Gatwech My black is flawless
I've never been this proud before
My skin never felt so good
Was I not used to it?
I can't remember when I loved this shade so much
My color is dark and lovely.
It sings with a rhythmic melody of beauty.

My black is loud
It yelled at this pale-faced lady the other day
She tried to demean my black
And just as quickly as she did
My black screamed back.
My skin roared with elegance
Reminding you it is not afraid anymore

My black is loved
I rubbed it down tenderly today
Making sure to touch every inch.
Ever so gently it glistened and radiated
My black shimmers and still catches attention.
It's been kissed and hugged
Yet still selfishly wants more

My black isn't always easy
But I am my black and my black is me.
By Jennifer Asiedu

Nyakim Gatwech"In today's era black men are beaten and killed for no reason, they are depicted as criminals and thugs in the media. We must come together and support our black men! Love our black men! Standby our black men! And show the world how strong and innovative they are!"

"We've come a long way but we still have a long way to go. My hope is that these Instagram posts can remind you everyday of why you should be proud of your melanin. Why you should be proud of your heritage regardless of how light or dark your skin is."

"Stop comparing your skin with anyone else. Change can only happen once you can truthfully look in the mirror and love that Deep Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mocha, or Caramel complexion."

"That look you give them when they try to tell you that you are pretty for black girl - like please, black girls are everything. Black itself is everything and is not the color or sadness or death. Black is the color of brave and strong. Black is the color of me."

"When the sun hits my skin it instantly glows - you can't tell me that's not magic!!"

"When you look into your reflection through the mirror what do you see? I hope you see nothing but how beautiful, smart, intelligent, outstanding and unique you are you!!"

"Dear, little dark dark black girls?"

"You might be darker than everyone in your school, your community, and your peers, but guess what, from older dark girl your are beautiful."

Nyakim Gatwech"You are not alone and you are drop dead gorgeous despite what anyone might think or say about you. The media and your peers and some family members might want you to change your skin tone. Don't listen to them."

"To be dark as I am and as you are in America is thought to be ugly - not a lot of people consider your skin tone to be beautiful, but trust me you will someday overcome all the criticism! You are beautiful, you are unique and there are people who love you just the way you are."

"Remember that they say the darker the cherry the sweeter the juice! So embrace your darkness - Love, your far away sister Nyakim"

See Nyakim on Instagram


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Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard (which walks on water, too) – that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution hasn’t made it an option for humans – yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction – past, present and future.

It’s a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What’s more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Arabic (Arab Scientific), Japan (East Press)

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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