When I first heard the word “Morocha,” I thought people were calling me a damn roach—granted, some exotic breed of roach that only skittered through luxury—but a roach! When I found out they were basically saying, “Hey, black girl, hey!” I took it as a term of endearment.
Buenos Aires, Argentina—a city where black people are so few and far between that Ebony magazine once dubbed it “The Land of the Vanishing Blacks.” Yet that’s exactly where Jennifer Poe headed with a one-way ticket in 2007 at the age of twenty-two, fresh off a break up, desperate for a change from her New York City life, and thirsty for adventure in every form.
Armed with a copy of Hemingway’s Moveable Feast and the contact info for the only hair stylist in a fifty-mile radius who could do black hair, Jennifer landed in BA with big plans, but zero amigas and only a cave-woman grasp of the Spanish language. As culture shock set in, Jennifer found herself dealing with the hilarious (a bidet that fought back), the absurd (the Argentine customs agency that held her fifty-pound package of black hair care products hostage) and the unexpected—like realizing her black skin and hair made her stand out in the best possible ways.
Funny and insightful, Hola, Morocha! offers readers a new twist on the “stranger in a strange land” tale. Told in a funny, blunt style, this first installment in a series reads like postcards from your quirky best friend, inviting readers to experience every heartache, frustration and hilarious misstep right alongside her. Hola, Morocha! A Black Woman’s Adventures in Buenos Aires: Culture Shock is the travel-memoir fusion of Awkward Black Girl meets Me Talk Pretty One Day: honest, intelligent, and an authentic representation of empowering female solo travel.
Praise for Hola, Morocha!
“Inspirational, sexy and funny, this literary travelogue series will take you on a Buenos Aires adventure that you’ll never forget and also want to recommend to other travel lovers.”
—Tameka Mullins, Author of 12 Hours of Daylight – A Jason Jules Novella
“Part memoir and part travel guide, Hola, Morocha! captures the joys and frustrations of being a woman abroad with humor and grace. As a black woman in Argentina, Jennifer Poe was indeed a stranger in a strange land – only 0.4 percent of its 41 million inhabitants identified as Afro-Argentine in 2010 – so you know immediately that this is not your typical travelogue.
Accompanying Jennifer on the ups and downs of her journey helped me remember everything I loved – and hated – about living abroad. Hola, Morocha! made me want to hop the next plane to Buenos Aires – or at least go get an empanada.”
- Kathy Pulkrabek co-host and producer XX Will Travel: A Podcast for Independent Women Travelers
“In a few short pages Hola, Morocha! manages to capture both the humor and vulnerability of being a young, black, female expat. It is a quick, fun read with a simple message: don’t let fear keep you from chasing your [international] dream.”
-Amanda Bates Founder and Editor of The Black Expat
“Jennifer Poe’s Hola, Morocha! is why I seek out and crave young, Black female travel writers. They simply get it! From her irreverent humor to her worries and insights, which may seem insignificant to older travelers or even other races, Poe has an uncanny ability to articulate her feelings through vivid actions instead of direct words. So instead of merely writing “I’m lonely” or “I’m pissed,” you find yourself sitting next to her getting ready for bed entirely too early for a young twenty something or putting on a NY attitude, like a second skin, in preparation for a fight. Thankfully, this type of delivery helps create empathy, and I found myself either aggressively agreeing with her or rooting for her throughout the entire book.
For intrepid travelers, this book is a gem and an invitation to walk down memory lane. The scenes she chose to highlight and share were so familiar to me as veteran traveler, that I began reliving my own moments of fear, anxiety, and accomplishments while traveling. Yet, newbie travelers setting out on their first solo adventure will likely find solace and inspiration in Poe’s journey. It’s definitely one of those “if she can do it, so can I” types of books that having read it they’ll be better for it.”
-Davita M. McKelvey Editor-In-Chief, Griots Republic
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