proverb of the month
“Those who are absent are always wrong”
african culture ambassador (ACA)
The need for African Culture Ambassadors
Africans and African Americans have been disconnected from the wisdom of their cultural heritage caused by the trauma of colonialism and slavery. As a result of deliberate belittling, distraction and disruption of African culture, both Africans on the continent and in the diaspora experience a disconnect, a displacement and a way of life at odds with who they are. As such they’re trapped in a perpetual struggle to defend one’s Africanness or dilution of one’s Africanness to conform. For these reasons there remains a pressing need to heal and reconnect with one’s true self. The African Culture Ambassador seeks to increase the appreciation, significance and presence of African Culture and Heritage among Africans and non-Africans.
connecting the dots
A look back…….now….and maybe forward
When my family and I set out to visit our FOA family in Samburu, we didn’t know what to expect. Taking the trip was a challenging undertaking.
We took a matatu from the mostly chaotic but organized ‘bus station’, Nyamakima. The business of minibuses, bodabodas, pedestrians, cyclists, street vendors and more was definitely overwhelming. With everyone and everything in such close proximity, I was amazed at how well everything was running AND we were not all destructively running into each other.
Our matatu left on time.
Next connection was in Nyahururu; home to the beautiful Thomson falls, a beautiful scenic waterfall on the Ewaso Ng’iro river; beauty that is barely taken in by the natives - a question of access, class and everything in between. Like many beautiful spaces in Africa, Thomson, was selfishly named after Joseph Thomson, the “first” European to reach Thomson Falls. A huge piece in this ‘puzzle’ of disenfranchisement.
We reached “mwisho wa rami” at Ramuruti; this would be the start of a very bumpy ride. Someone must have forgotten that there were humans living beyond this point; citizens who paid taxes that were meant for that road that “abruptly” ended.
From mwisho wa rami, all the way to Maralal, every one of our muscles felt the roughness of the road. This neglected part of our country, although beautiful, seemed to be cut off from the rest. And each time there was unrest, we questioned the same humanity that we consciously and unconsciously dehumanized.
From time to time we would spot a mansion enclosed in a big acreage protected by an electric fence. I questioned the moral compass of the country’s leadership and that of those that flew in and out for mostly personal gain. I’m not sure I would have turned down a helicopter ride myself at this point but still I judged those that flew in.
Despite it all, our aches and pain from the brutal ride melted away in the warmth of our hosts’ welcome. Everyone was happy to see us and we were happy to see them.
We often get into these spaces and make the plans to move people out of their beautiful “humble beginnings” ignoring all the elements that make them beautifully unique as we guide them to adopt a standardized way of thinking.
In this space I’m learning to listen.