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We Are The Caribbean

Trouble in Trinidad

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Police announced that they rescued 65 men and four women from the Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, Trinidad, during a sting operation early this week. The victims were ranged in ages from 20 to their 60s and most of them were found “in cages and some handcuffs. Local police described the conditions as “slavery” in the largest human trafficking ring in the country.

Some of them say they have been tor­tured. It is such a big­ger pic­ture with prof­it be­ing made out of this. Some believe fam­i­ly mem­bers de­lib­er­ate­ly send­ing their loved ones there and were extract­ing the prof­its from the fam­i­lies. Human trafficking, according to the U.S. department of Homeland Security, involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide annually, including in the U.S.

A member of the ministry speaking on condition of anonymity to the T&T Guardian denied that the people found at the facility were being trafficked and noted that the centre is simply a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion home for people who want to come out of drug ad­dic­tion.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]It is not hu­man traf­fick­ing. It is a re­hab so the pas­tor have the place gat­ed to prevent them from run­ning   away. These peo­ple’s par­ents sign con­tracts and agree. They al­so view the places. … So why would fam­i­ly put their love one there if they saw it? Nobody there is in chains, etc., they are ly­ing. God hear me it is a lie, “the ministry mem­ber said.[/vc_message]

In the days following, it was still unclear how the victims were being used for profit, but officers said the “barbaric” scene they encountered at the ministry showed evidence that the victims were being tortured.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]Per­sons are seen in cages, hand­cuffed … per­sons were be­ing tor­tured. We saw tasers and ba­tons … and again this is a sit­u­a­tion of vir­tu­al mod­ern day slav­ery,” said officer Griffith.[/vc_message]

At least six people have already been arrested in connection with the ministry which promised to use the Gospel and expert training to “serve male ex-prisoners and deportees by providing safe transitional housing, developmental and rehabilitation programmers, to promote healthy reintegration into society.”

The ministry was founded 19 years ago by pastor and ex-convict, Glen Awong, who said he was called to serve while doing a seven-year stint at the local Golden Grove Prison.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]Despite adverse conditions and lack of resources, Glen ministered to the spiritual needs of the prisoners with a strong desire to impart the new found grace and message of God’s redeeming and restoration powers, that can change the ‘worst’ individual and remove the stains left behind from a life without God,” the ministry said.[/vc_message]

Awong’s work in the prison with other inmates attracted the attention of prison officials and it earned him early release from prison for good behavior. He continued visiting with inmates after his release and conducted Bible classes with other former inmates until they found a physical space to house the ministry.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families effected, and we ask that yours be too. If you know any new developments on the story, share in the comments.

Hair Hacks You’ll Love

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Whether we know it’s just time for a wash or a style we spent hours on didn’t come out right, in the land of hair, not every day is a beautiful day in paradise.

We struggle to fit our hair under turbans and hats or slick an afro puff up which, in some cases, end up doing more harm than good because of the conditions we are putting our hair through as the only thought on our minds is getting out the door looking decent.

We have found these two holy grail “hair hacks” perfect for bad hair days that will love your hair just as much as you’ll love your look and the convenience.

Beautifully Warm

Beautifully Warm is a family-run business, committed to promoting affordable and fashionable outerwear clothing and accessories.

Mission Statement: We believe that in today’s world all women can preserve the integrity of their hair and look good doing so, no matter the age. Our product can support your needs from day into night with either outerwear winter hats, summer hats and hair scarfs or bonnets for bedtime. We also have new lines of products and styles being designed to fit your desired style.

Their Story: One morning as we were getting ready for church, I watched my wife carefully detangle and style my daughter’s naturally curly hair; nothing different from any other early Sunday morning. As usual, my wife bribed 2-year-old Amelia with snacks and her favorite cartoon “Peppa Pig” to keep her still. Twenty minutes later my wife was finished styling Amelia’s hair; It was magnificent, in my opinion, and embodied the Nubian princess that she is.  As we walked out the door, the cold winters morning air welcomed us. I grabbed Amelia’s winter hat and put it on her head and of course the hairstyle was ruined…. again. Choosing between being warm or having neat hair wasn’t much of a consideration. The obvious choice was to keep my daughter protected from the harsh, cold air. That’s when it hit me, why should she have to choose between being warm or having nicely, neat styled hair? All she needed was a satin lined hat to keep her hair moisturized and frizz free. However, finding a hat like that for a toddler was nearly impossible and hence Beautifully Warm products was born!

Culture Cap

The cap gives you the ability to fit some or all of your hair through the stretchy band, giving the illusion of your hair effortlessly sticking out the back.

[vc_video link=”″ title=”Culture Cap Promo”]

Newow Headwear

Their Story: We started offering Luxury trendy African inspired fashion & accessories at affordable prices. All our garments are made with unique premium fabric. We have a commitment to ourselves that we’ll keep bringing elegant head wraps for our customers because in the end elegance is only beauty that never fades.

The nice thing about these wraps is that the base of it is built like a bonnet. Instead of struggling to find the perfect technique, you just throw the cap part over your head and tie the ends. As you can see from the video above, it gives the illusion of a turban made from a yard of fabric instead of how it actually is. The face that each turban is lined with satin fabric is a plus.

[vc_video link=”″ align=”center” title=”Headwrap Tutorial”]

Would you be interested in trying either one (or both) of the hair hacks listed? Do you know somebody who has?

Leave a comment with your thoughts, experiences, etc.

Haitian Music

Top 5 Chart Toppers: Haiti

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It is no secret that we all, especially being Caribbean, love to rock to any beat we hear. There is always a new artist to explore, new dance to learn or something in equivalent surrounding music that fills us with joy every day. For this rendition of “Top 5 Chart Toppers”, we head to Haiti to explore, new and old, which artists are receiving the most streams by listeners.

Emeline Michel

Reigning queen of Haitian song Emeline Michel covers a lot of ground, writing songs that draw upon Haitian compas, twoubadou and rara as well as jazz, rock, pop, bossa nova and samba. Whichever direction Michel goes, her voice is clear and forceful as she dramatically imparts her political lyrics in Haitian Creole and French, offering up messages about AIDS, social justice and peace. While the singer has released a handful of albums as imports over a 15-year career, Rasin Kreyol, her Times Square records debut, is a standout that should help U.S. audiences catch up with the French speaking world that already adores her.

Jephté Gillaume

Guillaume is a Haitian-born DJ, bassist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Brooklyn whose signature Haitian folk song infused house music was signed and promoted by the New York-based Spiritual Life Music brand.

His Tèt Kale sound combines acoustic grooves with electronica.


Hours and hours at the studio in the hopes of creating a new sound, one that was uncommon in the music industry at the time, the band found themselves putting on paper some profound, socially shared lyrics that encompassed the disorders of their native land. Instantly, Carimi became a household name.

They are known as one of the first younger generation digital bands to put out music that reflected upon the political pressures and the deteriorating security of Haiti. They had mass appeal to the Haitian diaspora who fled the country and through their allure lyrically, musically and sex appeal for the ladies, Carimi had thrived throughout the years.

Originated with 6, then had 9, before splitting up. They included:
Carlo Vieux: keyboard voice/leader
Richard Cavé: keyboard voice/leader
Michael Guirand: voice/leader
Glenny Benoit: bass guitar
Stanley Jean: tanbou
Jean-Marie: conga
Noldy Cadet: bass
Marc C. Widmack: conga
Alex Thebaud: percussion, voice

Boukman Eksperyans

Boukman Eksperyans is a mizik rasin band from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The band derives its name from Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest who led a religious ceremony in 1791 that is widely considered the start of the Haitian Revolution. The other half of the band’s name, “Eksperyans”, is the Kréyòl word for “experience”, and was inspired by the band’s appreciation of the music of Jimi Hendrix. The band was at the height of its popularity in 1991 when the presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup d’etat.

Like many other artists and performers, Boukman Eksperyans fled the country to live in exile. During their time abroad, the band performed and spoke out against the military dictatorship of Raoul Cédras. In 1994, after Aristide was restored to power, the band returned to Haiti, where they continued to play concerts, record albums, and perform at the Carnival celebrations.

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean is a Haitian-American rapper and producer, known for his membership in the superstar hip hop trio The Fugees, and known now for a series of high-profile hit singles. Jean moved to Brooklyn, New York when he was nine, then to Northern New Jersey, where he began playing the guitar and studying jazz in his high school.

In August of 2010, Jean announced his intent to seek the presidency of Haiti. This move came after his increasingly high profile humanitarian work in the wake of the earthquake that devastated that nation.

Each month we will debunk different areas “Top Charters” so we can all become well versed, or even get introduced to something new to groove to.

If you have listened to any of the artists listed above, let us know how you felt about them. Do you have a favorite? What area in the Caribbean would you like to see featured next?

Express Yourself

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"Therapy isn’t for everyone. Find your path to peace. Maybe it is in creativity."

Watch a child, and more than likely no matter what they are doing, when a set of crayons or tubes of paint are lying around, they will make magic happen. Maybe not anything worth hanging on the fridge but still “magic” in their own right. We have a lot to learn from children. We say that because the arts are a form of healing and the most magical thing about it is the many forms it can be expressed in. If drawing and painting isn’t your cup of tea, then find another flavor. Dance, poetry, design and anything else that you deem as creativity are all forms of expression that can be used to heal. In doing so, most times without even noticing it in the moment, we heal the mind, body and soul just by tapping into the things we love. Pick up a pen and write, a brush and paint, thread your needle and sew, whatever it takes to express yourself.

The benefits of allowing oneself time to be creative can be surprising for some. We become better problem solvers, connect with our communities and ourselves, practice freedom and relieve ourselves of stress. All the things that make us shine as we move through this life. People, just like these very talented Caribbean artists we will highlight, have turned to the arts to heal whether from trauma, to gain clarity or whatever their driving force may have been. Nonetheless, they are now better and more whole, and we want you to feel the same.

NIKI LOPEZ Panamanian, Jamaican and Cuban decent

Lopez used art to survive the 14 challenging years she spent in a cult.  Her signature mask Healing from Within is the first work in which she dealt with mending these wounds.

She says, “This is about the work I’ve done from the inside. This is when I really started to shift my life.”.


As a child, Oniwosan was physically and emotionally abused by her mother, who suffers from a mental illness, and was molested by a close family friend.

Despite being forbidden to dance by her religion growing up, today she dances passionately in celebration of her freedom from the emotional bondage in her adolescence.

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CHASTITY PASCOE Jamaican and Bahamian decent

Pascoe held on to trauma related to racism and misogyny constantly being present in the day-to-day lives of black people and women in America.

For her piece Together she lay on the floor and created a cast of her body, then duplicated it to look like two bodies sleeping far apart, covered with separate pieces of fabric.

She says, “This piece allows me to share trauma and be present to trauma”.

If you may feel the arts are your calling, explore it. You may open the doors to a brand new version of you just waiting to be introduced to the world.

Health is Wealth

Health is Wealth

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We all can agree that keeping the state of our overall health in check is vital to our survival. Many of us also agree–if we aren’t already–that we don’t want to be filling endless amounts of prescriptions at the pharmacy each month. Speaking of, have you ever noticed all the side effects that come with these pills? Trying to cure one thing seems like the leading cause to the next these days, doesn’t it? If you were told you could knock out many, if not practically all, of your medical concerns by turning to natural remedies from home, would you be interested in learning what those said remedies are? Well, today is your lucky day. Join us as we dive deep into remedies outside of the pharmacy that will have you feeling better so much quicker.

Health is Wealth
[vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Meditation

The most well-known effect of meditation is stress relief but there is way more benefits of the action than you may realize:

  • Promotes emotional health
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Fights addictions
  • Reduces age related memory loss
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Lowers blood pressure and risk of contracting common diseases

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Tea Tree Oil

Better known as the skin whisperer being so popular treating acne because of:

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits (*it is thought to calm redness, swelling and inflammation)
  • Anti-viral
  • Antifungal (*can help cure athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis or head lice)

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Turmeric & Ginger

One pot of curry a day truly could keep the doctors away. This combination:

  • Acts as an inflammation killer, which will also lead to the reduction of pain in the body
  • Decrease nausea
  • Support immune function

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Black Cumin Seed Oil

This oil can be digested orally with a dropper (in pill form or rubbed directly on to the skin):

  • Allergies/Asthma (*if diffused properly)
  • Skin benefits – rashes/psoriasis
  • Digestion
  • Inhibit growth of cancer cells
  • Combat fungus


[vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, watercress, romaine lettuce, and arugula.

  • Supports optimal gut health
  • Makes your skin glow
  • Supports bone health
  • Relieves stress
  • Supports healthy aging
  • Improves inflammation
  • Supports immune system

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Magnesium 

The following health benefits have been associated with Magnesium:

  • Bone health
  • Diabetes
  • Heart health
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Salmon

Not only does it taste great but it:

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Repairs damaged tissues
  • Builds cognitive intelligence
  • Assists in proper thyroid function

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-handshake-o”]Peppermint

We are talking about the leaf or the extracted oil (not traditional candy canes and breath mints):

  • Eases digestive upsets
  • Helps relieve headaches and migraines
  • Relieves clogged sinuses
  • Improves energy
  • Fights bacterial infections
  • Improves sleep (some peppermint tea before bed could be the answer to a wonderful night’s rest)


Let us know if there are any other natural remedies that you or someone you know have taken and seen some serious results. If you know of any natural side effects (most likely due to your body detoxing) that has happened while experimenting with any of the remedies above, share that as well.


Anything you have read is for educational purposes only. We are not Doctors and do not intend to override what you have been told is best for you. Consult with a professional before you try anything that may have interested you.


To Our Men: It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

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Sadly enough, in our culture (both African American and Caribbean), open dialogue in homes regarding mental health is little to none. We want to take a moment to open that dialogue, specifically to our men, because it is okay not to be okay.

Let’s start off with some pretty universal realizations: Women are twice as likely as men to experience major depression, yet women are one fourth as likely as men to take their own lives. (Most) men value independence and they look at acknowledging a need for help as weakness and avoid it. (Most) women value interdependence, and they consult friends and readily accept help. Generally, the factors that protect women from suicide are the reason men feel inclined to choose a path of suicide. That says a lot about the effectiveness of open dialogue that, unfortunately, many of us are not used to.

As a people we collectively look to the earth for so many of our remedies. Grandma would go out into her yard and pick those leaves for that awful tea that would magically make us feel like our old self again (after we stopped gagging over the taste). We only ate things that were planted in our yard. The animals we killed were those that we raised. All of this shows how one we were with our surroundings. We still did not realize we were neglecting the most important part of our diet, our mind.

It is safe to say that from early years our people were taught to be silenced. From slave masters, to people in office, to bad bosses. We unconsciously took that home with us. We silence the weak with unhelpful mantras, we shut people out who appeared broken and the worst thing … we raised boys to grow into men who felt showcasing emotion made them weak. Now we, still unconsciously, created a culture of men who hide in their darkest shadows and we’ve given them no clear pathway out.

We are the only ones who have the power to change that narrative. That includes being accepting of a young man expressing himself, allowing grown men to tap back into traumas that formed them into the dark thinker that they may be today and to give them time to allow themselves to change their perspectives. This is not a role for the impatient to take on, and it is okay to come to terms with the fact that you may be (impatient that is), because these things take real dedication and a whole lot of time like breaking any bad habit does. But it is so worth it to have one less man lost from the acts of suicide.

Therapists are necessary, even in a completely “normal” situation, it is nice to sit down and talk through the happenings of your life with someone. As the man, learning to accept that not everything is a gab at your ego but a chance to grow is fundamental. Allowing yourself to feel is not weak. Having to put a good face on every day is not necessary for any reason. Even if you feel you have no one, there is always someone ready to walk your journey with you.

Praying peace, healing, and prosperity unto you all.

1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is open 24 hours every day. Please tap in if you even get the slightest itch that you may need a listening ear to sit with you.

Do You Know Your History?

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We all have our own unique “Coming to America” story. This time around, we thought tracing back the majority of Caribbean’s migration process would serve as a, maybe new or maybe old, but definitely pretty interesting family history lesson.
Before many of us picked up from our respective islands and moved to the States, select members of our families inhabited Europe (mostly England). This started to become popular as families grew in size and in age. Heads of the household knew more money was needed to feed mouths, put clothes on backs, shoes on feet and, of course, for school. As a result, in most cases, the father of the home and one or two of his sons would journey to Europe to earn a keep that would be sent back to their island to help their families afford the necessities and accomplish goals set.
The journey of Afro-Caribbean people to the United States started long before then when enslaved Barbadians were taken by their British owners to South Carolina during the seventeenth century. That first involuntary migration was followed by a large wave of people from the British West Indies at the turn of the twentieth century. A third wave of immigrants arrived between 1930 and 1965, and a fourth movement is still going on today.

Times of Enslavement
One estimate puts the ratio of Caribbean to African slaves at three to one between 1715 and 1730; the largest number coming from Jamaica, followed by Africa, Barbados, and Antigua. Caribbean immigration to the United States was relatively small during the early nineteenth century but it grew significantly after the Civil War. The population, which was almost 100% Caribbean in origin, increased from four thousand to more than twenty thousand during the years of 1850 and 1900.

Leaving Our Home
The significant growth of the Caribbean community in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century is easily explained by the increasing economic hardship in the British West Indies and the simultaneous expansion of the U.S. economy due to its newly high wages and growing employment opportunities.
It was this wave that laid the groundwork for the new age of the working Afro-Caribbean life in New York City and throughout the nation. It has been estimated that by the 1930s a third of New York’s black professionals; including doctors, dentists, and lawyers came from the ranks of Caribbean migrants, a figure well in excess of the group’s share of the city’s black population.

Look How Far We Have Come
Today, there are between 2.6 and 3 million Caribbean people (of all races) in the United States, or 1 percent of the total population. More than 72 percent of Afro-Caribbean people are foreign-born, and they represent 4.6 percent of the black population. Entrepreneurs continue to flourish in the community, and the 2000 census shows that the median household income of Afro-Caribbean people is $40,000. From the early days of Caribbean immigration, West Indian music, including soca, calypso, and reggae, has had a profound impact on popular music. Other aspects of Caribbean culture such as food and Carnival have also entered mainstream America.
If you would like to dig deeper, check out this article titled Caribbean Migration. There you will find a play-by-play of the “who, what, when, where, how and why” of our plight.

No Money? No Problem!

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More and more people are working full-time jobs while also working a side hustle. For those who may not know, a side hustle is a job that you can work on top of your full-time job. It is a flexible second job that brings in money, but it is also typically something that you are passionate about, that you don’t get to pursue in your main job. In between jobs? Awaiting citizenship? Are you just not making enough at your current 9-5 so you are in search for ways to make more? Let’s tap into our stereotype (“Caribbean’s constantly have 10+ jobs”), the one and only time it may be okay to do so and get to work.

Here is a list of some (maybe surprising) side hustles that you could try or recommend someone you know to try:

[vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Driving

If you’re free mornings, nights, or weekends, you can earn extra cash driving your fellow citizens around. Sign up with Lyft or Uber to get started.

Both companies offer “Destination Mode”, which basically allows you to earn money on your regular morning and evening commute by telling the app which direction you’re headed and only accepting riders along your route.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Notary Public Service

Notary certification is granted by the state and the cost is generally less than $100.

Once you’re certified, you can charge your own fee to notarize documents.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]

Customer Reviews

Many companies use customer reviews to get feedback on new products.

Respondent is a cool service that facilitates those interviews that take place both in-person and online (you can do this from home; just look for the ones that say “remote”).

The average compensation is $140 an hour![/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Online Surveys

Going hand-in with Respondent, you can also do online surveys. This is an easy way to supplement your income and you can do them in your downtime (waiting in line, watching TV, etc.).

Here are some survey sites to check out:

  • Springboard America
  • Survey Junkie
  • Swagbucks
  • Prize Rebel
  • InboxDollars
  • Opinion Outpost
  • CashCrate

[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Virtual Assistant Service

Virtual assistants (VA) provide administrative support to clients from their home office. If that sounds like a fun side hustle you can set up shop on your own or jump on board with an established VA company like BELAY or Fancy Hands.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Teaching English Online

Teaching English to young students in China via video chat with VIPKid.

If you’re eligible to work in the US or Canada, a bachelor’s degree and a year of educational experience are the only prerequisites.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Airbnb

If you have extra room in your house, you can earn money renting it out to visitors on

With a little bit of traction, you could even cover your entire rent or mortgage by hosting guests on Airbnb.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Baking/Cooking

Start a catering business from home.

You can choose to deliver, have your customers come to you, or set up somewhere for pick up.[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Child Care (Adolescents)/Caregiving (Elderly)

This can be done through word of mouth or you can register on sites like SitterCity to being building a client base.

For the caregiving side hustle, check[/vc_message][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]Cleaning/Detailing Cars and/or Homes

This one is also self-explanatory, bring your supplies to others or set up anywhere desired (for car washing/detailing) and work your gift.[/vc_message]

If anymore side hustles popped up in your head while reading, comment it down below. It could be someone’s passion that they never thought of turning into income.

Also, if you have tried any of these side hustles and want to share your experience with it (positive or negative), please do so.

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