The importance of Culture

The importance of Culture

They say it takes a village to raise a child, well that's not the case when you are an African in Diaspora. As a Nigerian mother who is raising her child in the states, I realized how much harder it is to instill our "culture" in my child.

DSC_0567-2You see, this is much deeper than the food we eat or the clothes we wear. Let's be honest, its easy for him to eat gbegiri and amala instead of Mac n' Cheese for dinner when he has no choice since I'm the one cooking it. Someone might say, its hard for an "Americana" to learn how to cook real iginle authentic Naija food and you are right. But then again we have all these aunties on youtube who are making it their lives mission to get views by teaching us how to cook. Please do not knock it till you try it, I for one learned how to make ayamase from them. It's one thing to teach him the importance of saying hello to Aunty Funmilayo by porstrating or making sure you hand Uncle Busuyi the remote with your right hand. But its another thing for him to understand the importance of respecting your elders.

DSC_0581When it comes to teaching my son our language, that one is another wahala on its own. Even me myself, speaking yoruba is hard for me and I was born in Nigeria. But since I moved here, its difficult to consistently speak the language except with your parents or when you go to Nigerian functions. And you know what they say, if you don't use it, you lose it. So now talkless of that, you want me to start teaching my little child, how to speak a language I can barely speak myself. People back home always seem to think that when Nigerians move to America, we want to become akata and start speaking with "our nose." This is not always the case, it is hard to keep your culture alive when you live in states like Ohio, Iowa, Utah, Nebraska, Alaska, etc where people say things like, "Oh you're Nigerian, I met an African 3 years ago who's from Uganda, do you know her?" And then there are places like Texas, Atlanta, New York, DMV where you can smell Iru and Crayfish from down the street. In those places, you'll see people roll down their window and speak yoruba in traffic. Its like being at home, except you are in the states. Unfortunately, not all of us are fortunate enough to experience this and raise our children at home away from home.

DSC_0573As parents, we can only do so much. All we can do is teach them what we know and be consistent. Our parents bombarded us with stories about the village and I know I am not the only one who can truly say those are the kind of stories that touched and stuck. When you show your children how proud you are of where you are from, they will naturally gravitate towards it. There is the beauty in our culture that even a blind person can see.

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