Narrative Essay On East African Culture

954 Words4 Pages
My humble home, tucked within our modest suburb, is brimming with East African culture. The scents of freshly fried chapos permeate through my bedroom walls, plastered with cloth paintings from Kenya and South Sudan.The sound of Kiswahili, the fresh chai burning my tongue, these sensations are my comfort. I am an East African, by blood and by heritage. Dark, ebony skin and lean legs that extend for miles mark me as a typical South Sudanese girl. Broad-shouldered, my build and strong will are the trademarks of the Kikuyu, the tribe our family line descends from. Conversely, by birth I am an American. I live in a white suburban town, where Midwest tropes dominate all parts of life. As an act of self-preservation, during my early years, I secluded my African culture from the rest of the world, fearing ridicule from my classmates. I despised wearing traditional dashiki to school since I presumed all the other kids would think it was ugly. I never packed lunches with sukuma wiki and mukimo for all the other kids would say it looked like "throw-up" Hence, in a desperate form of self-defense, I turned on my mzungu, my "American" persona. This alternate version of me, the one that has…show more content…
Here I was, the only contestant of color, surrounded by other girls who had bone straight hair or silky waves, no kinks or curls to be found other than the ones atop my head. The nerves overtook me, cracking my stoic exterior and nearly bringing me to tears. The Western tradition of competing in beauty pageants was completely foreign to me, and despite wearing the beaded dress and sparkly heels, it seemed like I was incongruous with the rest of the contestants. From the judge's panel to the contestants, there was no one who even remotely looked like me, making it even more difficult to feel welcome. Like an invader in my own town, I felt so out of place. I don’t belong here, I told
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