FLORIDA, USA: Interview with Sophia from Tanzania
Hello everyone! My name is Sophia. I hope to be reading many blogs from people around the world. We have so much to share: factual, fiction, personal realities, etc…. and the internet has definitely eased our ability to share our differences and similarities.
Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I live in Florida, USA. I am not originally from here. In fact I am not from the US of A. at all! I come from Tanzania and have lived in the US for a little over 14 years. Time has definitely flown by fast, but you know what they say about time flying…it only does when you’re having fun!
What language(s) do you speak?
When people ask me what languages I speak and I say I speak English, Kiswahili, and Italian, they often look at me quizically, so I will share the story behind it!
I was born in Tanzania but relocated to Italy as an infant. Well, you know, my mom and ’em packed me up and took me with them; thankfully! Thus it is that I speak Italian. This romantic language was my one and only lingua until we moved back to Tanzania. As we arrived in Tanzania I only knew a few words in English and fewer in Kiswahili. I realized that I had to learn quickly if I wanted to make friends and do well in school. Luckily my mother already spoke both languages and I met a girl who spoke English and Spanish. Although Spanish and Italian aren’t the same, they are similar enough for us to exchange short sentences. I would memorize what she said (if I didn’t understand it), run to my mom to ask her what it meant, get a translation of my response (in English), run back to my friend and continue the conversation in this manner. Fun times!
I learned more English and Kiswahili in primary school, and by talking with people all around me.
When did you first become a mother?
I first gave birth in December 2001, but I would say I first became a mother when carrying my baby as of March 2001. I know some cultures count the age of the child from when it is in-utero, and I think being a mother starts then as well. Beginning the first few months of pregnancy, we have to be conscious of our actions, food and drink intake, thoughts, emotions, speech…. and we are protective of our ‘belly’ as if the baby was bundled on the outside of our belly!
My second baby was born in December 2012! Yes, 12 years (and two days) apart! I think the oldest had a conversation with the baby and said ‘Hey, I will love you and all, but I tell you, it will be much better if we are born on different days! Trust me on this!’
Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you do other work inside or outside the home?
I just recently went from working part-time from home, being a stay-at-home mom, and running my photography business whenever possible, to working full-time outside of the home, being a liaison for Tanzania-US relations, and working my photography business whenever possible (Smile).
I have been a photographer for almost nine years, having started in Los Angeles, CA. I LOVE photography and if I could earn my living from it alone, I most certainly would. However, I haven’t taken this business ‘on’ as consistently as I know I should & could…so for now I also work for another really awesome company. I work at night so that my husband and I can keep our baby out of child-care. I feel blessed to have this arrangement! There are way too many child-care related horror stories out there these days.
Why do you blog/write?
I blog because I enjoy writing. I blog because I am one voice, and one plus one makes seven billion. I may not have the most important thing to say, but what if another person needs to read something specific, and she/he comes across my blog and finds exactly what she/he needed at that moment? What if she needed to feel empowered; to feel like she isn’t alone in her thinking, or fears, or want for change, or her strangeness/quirkiness; what if she needed to feel encouraged to speak up, or be herself; to feel impassioned to make a difference; or simply to cook a new and exciting dish? I blog because I like exchanging ideas and I don’t always have time or chance for a long face-to-face conversation.
How would you say that you are different from other mothers?
How am I different from other moms? I am aware to not take myself too seriously as a parent. I know I make mistakes and that it’s healthy to let my kids know so, and to apologize to them. I also value my kids’ point of view and suggestions they have. I implement their suggestions as courses of action whenever I can. I mostly do this with my 12 year old, but plan to do so with the baby when she can give me some suggestions (smile).
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
I think the number one challenge is the absence of the parents from the home, as they seek to better provide for their families. The parents work long hours and often drive long distances to and from work. The children are around babysitters (including the television), and there typically aren’t family members around to help raise the children. This question requires its own series of blogs as an answer.
How did you find World Moms Blog?
I found World Moms Blog through a person who is close to me, Nancy Sumari. She has shown to be a person of action, working toward the education of girls, and the betterment of the community as a whole. I figured if she is a part of such a group of women, it must be a pretty terrific group and I would love to be a part of it as well! Thank you for reading, and I look forward to some amazing conversations!
Sophia is our newest contributor in North America. You can find her blogging at Think Say Be and on twitter @ThinkSayBeSNJ.
Photo credit to Susan Jeffers Photography.