Stories of Diversity: Vera Hoffman

WHAT MATTERS FOR A MULTICULTURAL KID.

International Cultural Day at UWC ISAK Japan! A day to remember.

In my two years at ISAK I had never felt that close with the African community. I am a child of mixed heritage- half Kenyan (Afrrodescendant) and half American (Caucasian). In previous years, there weren’t a lot of us from Africa, so it was hard to connect as a community.

But this year was different. There were so many of us, and we had plans to create the best food booth for International Cultural Day.

Rediscovering Heritage Through Shared Dishes

One thing we noticed was that we all had similar dishes from our countries. Namibia, Kenya, and Congo all had different fried dough desserts, and Sudan and Cameroon had delicious chicken dishes! We couldn’t wait to see what we created.

I was a little bit nervous, I didn’t have any cultural clothing, and I had never tried making any dishes from my home country for others. But I wanted to become closer to my Kenyan heritage, and I was determined to make everything work. I called my mom who reassured me that I could do it, as I had watched her countless times kneading the mandazi dough and helped her many times with the frying process.

Mandazi moments

I spent the evening before International Cultural Day singing and dancing with the African community as I made my Mandazi (Kenyan donut) dough. It rose beautifully overnight, and I spent 3 hours frying over 200 of these delicious little cakes the next day. My friend from Namibia lent me a gorgeous long skirt made of traditional printed fabric, which I was so thankful for.

The mandazi snacks were a big hit, and our booth was (dare I say it) the most successful!! I was so happy to get in touch with this part of my heritage, and I got a lot closer to the African community because of this.


The Power of African Storytelling

What is your story?

Our personal stories are a powerful tool. It’s why we dedicated an entire panel session to the topic at Bokobokids. That is  why we invited people to explore their own journeys around African culture. In sharing our experiences, we can inspire and activate others.

#BKBStoriesofDiversity movement #CelebrateDiversity #AfricanNarratives #InclusionMatters #PreserveAncestralWisdom

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