threads of our fabric

Reflections on navigating between two cultures and understanding the self-awareness process

He said what?!?…The other side weighs in! January 29, 2011

If you search in facebook African Girl Development you will land on the page I have been managing since the beginning of 2011 – African Girl Development in the U.S. Everyday I pose thought provoking questions geared towards one of the following themes:  the African woman’s identity, engaging the youth in African Affairs, and my current initiatives to empower young African ladies.

One of the discussion topics in my kitchen was “Definition of an African Woman”. Who is an African Woman? What comes to mind when you hear these words?

Here is the response from an African brother:

“What comes to mind is a very hardworking woman, with a very powerful caring gentle spirit for the family. My mind sees a woman who sacrifices much for her family and the society, unfortunately with very little say in the happenings of her environment, almost totally controlled by reasonable and sometimes unreasonable men. Despite their work, courage, intuitive common sense, some African cultures still prevent them from going to universities, sell and force them into marriages, and do not acknowledge any reasoning and opinions from females about family and societal development.

What comes to mind is a strong woman with little to no say in world issues.”

What is your response? Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience? Have we acquiesced with this popular definition or is  it changing?

Who am I?

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The Not so Little voice within January 28, 2011

Filed under: Leadership,Reflections — Sharon Asonganyi @ 11:34 pm
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When the world sets its eyes on Africa…Will she be ready? How are we equipping our youth both in the Diaspora and Africa to understand the issues of our continent. How do we teach them to always be innovative as they seek solutions?…these are just a few of many daily haunting questions. As I think about my talents and take inventory, the purpose is always ‘how best to use them for the greater good’. I beseech you to do the same and identify areas in which you can engage. For as the saying goes “Tomorrow waits for no (wo)man”. The question is not ‘What can you do?’, but ‘What will you do within your sphere of influence?’…

 

Frontline Assignment – Immigration January 26, 2011

My second assignment as part of  the Voices of Our Future: Web 2.0, Citizen Journalism and Empowerment Training Program was to write a frontline article. My topic of choice???…Immigration. Please read, share if you enjoy, and join the movement if you are inspired.

World Pulse Article

 

Sounds from another hybrid soul January 24, 2011

Working on this project has been the an incredible journey! One of self-discovery, excitement, and humility. I would like to introduce you to Sally Nyolo – another hybrid like me who left Cameroon at the age of 13 for Paris, France.  An amazing African artist with an eccletic rhytmic blend of her dual cultural heritage and different languages. After experiencing international acclaim and success, she extended the same opportunity to fellow up and coming Cameroonian artists by opening up a recording studio in Yaounde (Mont Febe). Enjoy the beats from the motherland!

 

Resiliency January 22, 2011

Filed under: Community — Sharon Asonganyi @ 11:19 pm
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Our cultural values and traditions will always permeate our lives, regardless of location. It gives us a sense of community, ethnic pride, purpose, and grounding.

 

The Girl Effect – Global Development Movement January 21, 2011

Filed under: Community,Inspiration — Sharon Asonganyi @ 10:57 pm
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The Girl Effect videos  truly capture the urgency of NOW when talking about the future of girls globally. Meeting basic needs such as food, health, and education CAN change a life. I am fortunate that life’s circumstances have favored me. Along my journey there have been countless adopted mothers and big sisters, who have invested their time, energies, talents, and resources because they believed in the Who I was becoming…Can you imagine what would happen if women made a personal commitment to support 1 or 2 young ladies outside of their family or friend circles? I dont think it takes  much to make a difference. Sure money is always nice and has great utility – but the most valuable investment one can ever make is that of relationship. Be a mentor and role-model. A postive word has a powerful life giving force, restoring hope and strength when all else fades.

Reflection: Dont underestimate the power of that which seems so simple…

 

The vision behind my mission for African Girls January 20, 2011

So by now you have probably read my few posts and are asking yourself: “Where is she headed?”… Excellent question, so glad you asked!!!

As you are aware from my earlier posts, I am currently in the very early crafting phase of a development and integration program for African young ladies ages 15-24yrs. The vision is to provide a safe supported environment and opportunity where these young ladies can address important issues that come up during the transition process into America. Issues such as identity development, self-awareness, ethnic pride, cultural values and traditions etc. As I continue to review responses to the Threads of Our Fabric project survey that I had implemented in July 2010, most of the main issues identified in almost all of the surveys focused on the lack of information and a support network after entering the United States, and the rude awakening from pre-migration ideation.

I have always been fascinated by the latter. Let’s briefly talk about that migration fantasy that oftentimes morphs into a grotesque obsession, well for some of us who were lucky enough to have had time before taking the big flight. I had 48hrs from the moment I found out that I was leaving my first home to when I stepped on a plane headed for America. I like to call it my very own mini-operation “shock and awe”… But from what I have heard, the usual pre-migration story goes something like this…YAY! I am finally approved for a visa, but have to prepare big time before leaving. I have to go shopping for some necessities, there are school transcripts to gather, some personal properties to be redistributed, hearts to break and promises to be made during my extensive goodbyes. Oh America!…that land where I will make beaucoup money than I will know what to do with…I will return rich and successful!

Fast forward a few months, maybe years later to having taken the big flight…slowly reality drifts in…

You know…The “Is this the Promised Land?”…”What happened to the “Beamers, Benz, and Bentleys”, or the “Party Everyday”, that was guaranteed by expats when they came back with pockets full of money. The major, if not sole point of reference for preparing to migrate to America aside from popular western-world media. Sometimes it is the “I want to continue my schooling but the College Board’s evaluation report shows that my current academic credentials are not sufficient”

Constantly feeling as if you are stuck on a treadmill, running full speed ahead but in reality you are not really going anywhere… still in the same spot… Or do you find yourself using all your resources and strength scaling mountainous obstacles only to look-up once you reach the top into the horizon to see nothing but other mountain peaks in front of you? Feel free to insert your own “what happened to…” experience here. I know you have one…

Such scenarios are just a small portion of the number of challenges associated with immigration that can overwhelm anyone! The development and integration program is a personal commitment to invest resources towards the long-term welfare of recently immigrated young African ladies (15-24). Helping them explore this new world, understand the impact of the immigration process on their developmental processes, and successfully establishing themselves in America. I am looking for a counterpart seeking to implement something similar with young African men.

Personal Mantra: My problems are not my problems, but the perception of my problems.