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Elsa’s Juggle: How a Visit to Kenya Changed Me, and My Daughter

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“$20? I want $100!” It was my daughter Ajuna’s 7th birthday party. My sister had graciously given her cash, and here my daughter was, in front of our friends and family, requesting more. I was embarrassed, but more than that, I was concerned about who my daughter was becoming. In my desire to give her an amazing childhood, had I spoiled her?

My own childhood had been very different from the life my daughter knew.  My parents had immigrated from Kenya over 35 years ago and had worked overtime to become comfortably middle class. I still have early memories of leaving our city apartment for the suburbs, and the joy of getting my own room. My daughter had always had her own room in a big house. Could a trip to our roots in Kenya make her realize how lucky she was?

After vacuuming up the confetti from the party, I began my search for flights. Two weeks later, Ajuna and I were on a plane to Kenya.

To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the December 2019 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy below.

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About Author

Muyoka Mwarabu lives in Vancouver with her daughter, Ajuna. She works in B2B sales and writes after bedtime. Elsa Khayanga lives in Nairobi, Kenya with her daughter, Sifa. She works in B2B Sales and enjoys traveling to the countryside.

Comments (2)

  1. The Universe is Always Expanding. Resources are always increasing. If scarcity, discomfort, pain and suffering did not have their uses in the survival and thriving of life, nature would have, of necessity eliminated them. I have learned that when raising children, one must find a happy medium between comfort and discomfort, removing all wants eliminates aspirations and makes life empty. Sheltering children makes them unable to deal with the many curve balls that life will throw at them while breeding a sense of entitlement and narcissism. Whether one thinks that they are successful because of or despite of the pain, suffering, discomforts, scarcities and wants they had in their formative years, completely eliminating these from their children will not duplicate their successes. People are living organisms, one cannot completely change the environment and expect to produce the same organism! Consider that rich countries have lonely aging declining populations, while poor countries have socially connected young increasing populations.

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