Showing posts from March, 2009

The Beautiful Game

Our children give us plenty to brag about. As immigrant parents from Kenya and Nigeria, we trust that we have distilled the essence of all that is special in our heritage and poured it into their souls. In our household we have always raised questions like: Do you know what Utu is? It is the embodiment of you. It captures where you come from, your intangible source of strength. The God in you. Your Chi (Ibo). We have taught them that their birthplace, America, must not dilute their heritage. I addressed this in my very first post here . Our beautiful ones. A compassionate young lady, a college graduate currently employed as she anticipates graduate school. A handsome hard-working freshman in college. And our kitindamimba [last born], a bright, athletic fourth-grader, who loves the beautiful game. As you can see, he demonstrates incredible pace and skill in this video (he was only 5 here). His father says that this one of the special things he has passed on to him. Labda?? [May
Last night we congregated in our kitchen nook for some tea after dinner. Two families - Gambian and Nigerian/Kenyan and Celestial Seasonings Peppermint. (I have run out of Ketepa ). We, young Africans who have abandoned the poor circumstances of homes in Banjul, Nairobi and Lagos; young Africans who have abandoned the deserts and the countrysides. We who have undertaken journeys in response to availability of opportunity. In our scatterings, we escape the challenge to truly uplift Africa to heights and depths previously unknown. We, young African birds who have built easy, comfortable nests of hay in the Diaspora. Last night during tea, we joked, we laughed, we prayed. We determined what was required. A return to the motherland to face her realities, lest we remain birds that can never land on the ground. Next time we will congregate in their kitchen nook, share cups of sweet attaya and brainstorm on our plans, compromises and sacrifices, because that is what it will take. Wiki n

A Powerful Noise

Last Thursday, I went with two lady friends to view the documentary, A Powerful Noise , an engaging recounting of the lives of three women who overcome hardship to effect change in their communities. Bui Hanh is an HIV-infected widow who starts a self-help group that provides prevention information, support, counseling and health care to HIV/AIDS sufferers in Vietnam. I was surprised to learn that Vietnam has an extremely high rate of HIV infection due to the large numbers of men who use intravenous drugs. In one of the scenes, Bui visits a coal mine to distribute condoms. I found it odd that she had to warn the men “Do not wash. Use only once.” Could this too explain the high infection rate? Jacqueline Dembele fights forced labor and the exploitation of girls who work in the city of Bamako, Mali. She started an organization that provides the girls with a basic education, teaches them how to become seamstresses, and places them in safe jobs. In a male-dominated society where yo

International Women's Day (March 8, 2009)

Vigelegele!! [ululations] Today is International Women's Day 2009 . It is a day that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In countries like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria it is a national holiday. It is true that the new millennium has witnessed a significant change in society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. There are more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased number of women role models in every day life. It is also true that women are still not paid equally as their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men . Progress has been made; we do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. Today is a celebr


Salaam nyingi, I intended to post this earlier today/this week, but the day/the week, has run away from me; yaani speedy. I want to let you know that I am attending CARE's One Night Event - A Powerful Noise, tonight. It is a documentary that takes you inside the lives of three women to witness their daily challenges and their significant victories over poverty and oppression. Hanh is an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam. Nada, a survivor of the Bosnian war. And Jacqueline works the slums of Bamako, Mali. Three very different lives. Three vastly different worlds. But they share something in common: Power. These women are each overcoming gender barriers to rise up and claim a voice in their societies. Through their empowerment and ability to empower others, Hanh, Nada and Jacqueline are sparking remarkable changes. Fighting AIDS. Rebuilding communities. Educating girls. Join us: I'll be back to discuss the film. Baadayes, Mama