The Woman Who Couldn’t Cook

I am African. I am Ugandan. This is what it says on my passport.

I am a woman. This is what it says on my birth certificate.

But no one buys it.

I am buying vegetables outside a supermarket in Mukono, central Uganda, and a woman from my clan, the Bazigaba, finds me choosing green peppers. You can cook? She asks. I have been back in Uganda for 7 years and two weeks. I still cannot cook, but I can feed myself. I have learned that these are two different things.

Read the whole piece at The Forager 

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Which African language do you speak?

My story with Africa started with rejection. I still ask myself why her? She is not really my mother, sister, or friend. We have very little in common and only blood has tethered me to this woman who, I often imagine, disregards my being.

My mother tells me I was an easy birth and a quiet baby. I think, even then I did not want to be a bother and from then my story was a search for belonging. But you already know my story because it is that of so many Africans who migrated and lost themselves along the way. The difference is details.

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Bring us Icarus

Bring us Icarus.

 

Lazarus won’t do

for the rest of us

resurrected in spite of us.

 

Bring us the fallen

those with misdeeds.

 

Match our misdemeanors

our simply broken demeanors.

 

Bring us Daedalus.

 

Abraham won’t do

for the rest of us;

he fathered righteous sons.

 

Bring us the forgotten

broken fathers, feathers.

 

Find us fitting brothers

who’ve taken selfish measures.

 

Bring us brothers,

bring us fathers,

 

broken-hearted families

feather-weight vanities.

 

Mismatched histories.