KENYA: Interview with MamaMzungu

KENYA: Interview with MamaMzungu

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

We currently live in Kisumu, located in Western Kenya, Barak Obama’s ancestral homeland. (See here for more on the city). I’m originally from the Chicago-area but have lived in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington D.C. My husband grew up in Southern Africa, as his parents moved around doing development work.

In an eerie coincidence we moved to Kenya when our son was 2, the same age my husband was when his family moved to Kenya. His father had landed a job as a Country Director, same title my husband now has.

What language(s) do you speak?
English, bad French and Swahili that my 3-year-old son sometimes has to correct.

When did you first become a mother?
I first became a mother relatively later in life but quite early in my marriage (2009 if you’re looking for specifics). Because I was a little older we thought we’d get a jump-start on trying, and were a bit surprised (more…)

Mama Mzungu (Kenya)

Originally from Chicago, Kim has dabbled in world travel through her 20s and is finally realizing her dream of living and working in Western Kenya with her husband and two small boys, Caleb and Emmet. She writes about tension of looking at what the family left in the US and feeling like they live a relatively simple life, and then looking at their neighbors and feeling embarrassed by their riches. She writes about clumsily navigating the inevitable cultural differences and learning every day that we share more than we don’t. Come visit her at Mama Mzungu.

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UNITED KINGDOM: A Weekend in Norfolk

We arrived in the dark, our headlights sweeping around the corners of the single-track lane as we drove and illuminating fringes of fields and hedgerows that suggested vast open spaces further beyond.

Snow and ice crackled beneath the tyres. In front, suddenly: a white-faced owl, which rotated its neck magisterially at our approach then slowly flapped up and over us. A little further along a muntjac deer high-stepped cautiously across the road, its retina reflecting night-vision green in the beams of our car.

We had left London three hours ago. In the back seat baby Betty was entertaining herself by playing hide and seek. “One, two, three, comingreadyornot!” she shouted, snugly strapped in to her child seat. “Boo MummyDaddy!” She bubbled with laughter then gently subsided, turning her face up to her window to gaze at the thousands of stars above. No sodium street-lights here. My baby daughter, more used to pointing at the trains that pass along the bottom of our garden, was entranced by the massive constellations over her head.

Tired, broke and frazzled by the constant juggling of work and family, my husband and I had called time on our responsibilities. With our eldest children weekending elsewhere we had thrown two small bags of food and clothes into the car, hoisted Betty aloft and run from our terraced house to a tiny countryside bolthole.

Which we had just found, tucked away in the dark where we might never have seen it but for a friendly (more…)

Sophie Walker (UK)

Writer, mother, runner: Sophie works for an international news agency and has written about economics, politics, trade, war, diplomacy and finance from datelines as diverse as Paris, Washington, Hong Kong, Kabul, Baghdad and Islamabad. She now lives in London with her husband, two daughters and two step-sons. Sophie's elder daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome several years ago. Grace is a bright, artistic girl who nonetheless struggles to fit into a world she often finds hard to understand. Sophie and Grace have come across great kindness but more often been shocked by how little people know and understand about autism and by how difficult it is to get Grace the help she needs. Sophie writes about Grace’s daily challenges, and those of the grueling training regimes she sets herself to run long-distance events in order to raise awareness and funds for Britain’s National Autistic Society so that Grace and children like her can blossom. Her book "Grace Under Pressure: Going The Distance as an Asperger's Mum" was published by Little, Brown (Piatkus) in 2012. Her blog is called Grace Under Pressure.

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