Kenya is a country of over 40 distinct ethnic groups. This is a blessing and a curse. Here is why my mother gave me an identity different from her own.
More and more weddings in Nairobi are not allowing children.
African toddlers do not meltdown like Western ones. Really?
Imagine if an understanding of the innocence of childhood is so deeply embedded into society, it is not even a topic of conversation.
We traded access to great medical care for new exotic sounding diseases. We traded easy walks to a half dozen playgrounds for long walks in search of playmates. Instead of close proximity to grandparents, our son faced being a constant object of curiosity for strangers. As much as we extolled the virtues of our son's emerging global citizenship, we still thought parenting would be a greater challenge for us in Kenya. I now, after three years and another baby, realize the exact opposite is true.
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.
Most days, dinner prep is a rushed affair around our house happening in the 30 minutes between arrival and ruined appetites. Injera pizza is the latest quick dinner creation that was instantly successful and even faster than regular pizza!
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. When I tell people that I am a vegetarian they assume it must be for medical reasons. Why else would an African woman who can afford to eat meat blankly refuse what so many of her compatriots don’t have the luxury to turn down?
In Kenya, moms never seem to lose it with their kids. They are not prone to bouts of irrational rage at their children. They do not joke about drinking wine in sippy cups. They seem calmer and less stressed. Why is that?
Most studies I have read tend to focus on childcare, who is the next-best person to look after the child(ren) in question, how long the mother should be at home with the child before starting work and so on. These are of course all important factors but I think that they forget one critical factor—in Africa at least, women have always worked while having children. The two were intertwined.
In Nigeria, we believe in showing the utmost respect for your elders. In the Yoruba tribe, we have several cultural norms related to how you greet and address elders. Fast forward to raising a child in America. How does one combine “hi mommy” with the “good morning mommy” from home? How do you teach your child what is valuable to you in your culture?
Have our lives become too segmented? Shouldn't everything be child friendly?
Search the spice rack to create this perfect recipe for the whole family, with basic ingredients and a low-prep time.
This craft takes inspiration from Ethiopian geometric patterns and encourages kids to make their own geometric art.
This American mother and Ghanaian father are raising their multilingual son with Twi, Ga, Larteh and English in Ghana.
I am fourth generation multicultural. Although there was a lot of inter-marriage, tribe is inherited through one's father so I consider myself Luo despite having a Samia-Luhya mother and Kisii great-grandmother.