Africa

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father’s Tribe

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Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father’s Tribe
I am Luo. My mother decided I would be. Kenya is a country of over 40 distinct ethnic groups. This is a blessing and a curse. At it's best, it makes for a fascinating country with a rich and diverse history. Different tribes have brought different strengths to the country. It has led to a multicultural, multilingual society with a greater understanding of the way in which different people live. However, at its worst it has led to horrific clashes, scores of people killed or internally displaced. There have been numerous injustices: from casual discrimination to systematic persecution.  Read more »

No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing

The first time I went to an English wedding as we stood on the steps outside the church I thought to myself,“Where are The Aunties?” In Kenyan weddings this is where the celebration begins.  Read more »

Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums

We live in times that are increasingly out of synch with natural rhythms.  Read more »

How African Societies Protect the Innocence and Magic of Childhood

There is a new boy in my daughter’s class. He told her a thing or three that resulted in us having to have ‘the chat’ at bedtime last night.  Read more »

Why Most African Kids are Multilingual

The average Kenyan child speaks three languages. This figure is even higher amongst children in urban deprived areas who regularly speak five languages. This is no mean feat considering many children growing up in these areas do not have indoor plumbing or easy access to basic education. What they do have however is a high density of people from different ethnic communities living cheek by jowl all with a huge impulse to communicate.  Read more »

Why I Love Raising My Children in Kenya

Three years ago, my husband and I moved to Western Kenya to work at an anti-poverty research organization. We did it with a spirit of do-gooder idealism, a sense of adventure, and a toddler in tow. A lot of people who move to a culture vastly different from their own do so in their youth. We shook up our foundations at exactly the time our friends and neighbors were buying houses, saving for retirement and joining their local PTAs.  Read more »

My First Ramadan in the Sudan

My introduction to Ramadan started early. I was 12 and my mother and Sudanese stepfather had moved us to Khartoum, Sudan. Apart from feeling a sense of displacement and missing the relatives I had left behind in ex-Yugoslavia, I also had to adjust and familiarize myself with my stepfather’s Muslim family and the country’s prevalent Muslim populace.  Read more »

Quick Gluten-Free Pizza with an Ethiopian Twist

Most days, dinner prep is a rushed affair around our house happening in the 30 minutes between arrival and ruined appetites (if I exceed 30 minutes then the kids bombard the kitchen to eat snacks instead of dinner behind my back). I am usually rushing to prepare something healthy before they shove some snack food into their mouths before I notice.  Read more »

Speak Up for the Animals, Mama! A Vegetarian in Africa

It is an argument used by parents of picky eaters the world over: think of the starving children in Africa. But in Kenya where those starving children can be found on your doorstep, such admonishment applies to nearly anyone with a self-imposed dietary restriction. For instance when I tell people that I am a vegetarian they assume it must be for medical reasons.  Read more »

How African Moms Can Teach You To Be a Better Parent

Most American moms can probably relate to these scenarios: You tell your child it's time to go home and he runs the other direction. Or he collapses in a heap telling you his "legs don't work" when you're trying to get out the door. Or after much coaxing, he finally agrees to chew a piece of the disagreeable dinner you've slaved over, and then defiantly pushes the chewed up morsel out of his mouth, which lands squarely on his plate, a disgusting masticated symbol of the end result of your best intentions.  Read more »

Why Being a Working Mother is Better

In Nairobi, working mothers are the norm, regardless of social background.  I have met many women the world over who like me are working mothers in their thirties who tell me that they are the first women in their family to hold down two jobs (that of being a mother as well as paid employment).  I find it hard to fathom because I am a fourth generation working mother.  Read more »

How I Raise My Kids to Respect Their Elders, Nigerian Style

I came to the United States 13 years ago, as an adult from Nigeria. Despite being well traveled as a former airline employee, I had very little understanding of other cultures beyond my own.   In Nigeria, we believe in showing the utmost respect for your elders--elders meaning parents and their peers, grandparents, older friends and teachers.  Read more »

The African Children’s Fire: Why There is No “Child-Friendly” in Kenya

The children's fire was a reminder of the promise: “No law, no action of any kind, shall be taken that will harm the children.”   At a Resurgence Readers Ecological Camp a couple of years ago, I only caught the end of an inspiring talk by a man called Mac.  Mac runs Embercombe, a social enterprise in the U.K. In his talk he mentioned the Native American concept of the children’s fire.  Read more »

Celebrating the Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia

A Day of Delight: A Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia by Maxine Rose Schur and illustrated by Brian Pinkney shows the way of life of an Ethiopian Jewish community.   The book opens with a mother cooking breakfast of injera and coffee for her family inside their village hut. We follow the eldest son, Menelik, as he goes about his workday as a blacksmith with his father, crafting sickles used to cut down teff grass, which they will sell.  Read more »

Ethiopian New Year Recipe: Doro Wat

Doro wat is a popular Ethiopian dish that is eaten year round and traditionally made on Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year. Search the spice rack to create this perfect recipe for the whole family, with basic

Ingredients and a low-prep time. Go ahead, make something new tonight!

I

 Read more »

Ethiopian-Inspired Craft: Geometric Stamps

Geometric shapes in Ethiopian art trace back to 14th century Christian art, with geometric patterns found on crosses. The use of geometric patterns continues today appearing in popular forms like basket weaving. This craft takes inspiration from Ethiopian geometric patterns and encourages kids to make their own geometric art. Materials: Fruits or veggies like apples, limes, oranges, potatoes that can be cut into triangles Any other household objects that have a geometric pattern (bottom of egg cartons, pencil tops, beads, cheerios, etc.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in Ghana: Twi, Ga and English

Welcome Kaela and Fred! Where are you from? Kaela: Philadelphia, U.S. Fred: Larteh, Ghana Where do you currently live? Accra, Ghana How did you meet? Kaela: We met in a Philosophy of Culture course at the University of Ghana. I was there through an exchange program and he was in his last year. I did a semester at the University here during my last year of university.  Read more »

Why African Babies Don’t Cry

I was born and grew up in Kenya and Cote d'Ivoire. From the age of 15 I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman, with two university degrees, and a fourth generation working woman, but when it comes to children, I am typically African.  Read more »

Four Generations of Multicultural

I am fourth generation multicultural. On my father's side of the family there is a long history of people marrying outside of their tribe. Africa is so often referred to as "Africa" that the rich diversity of tribes and cultures within it can be overlooked. Tribes can be as different in their language, culture and customs as an English person can be from a Hungarian.  Read more »
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