Monday, March 31, 2008

Third Culture Kids

I learned a new term to describe myself this week. Third Culture Kids (TCKs).

I've been reading a book called Third Culture Kids by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken. If you're like me and grew up in two or more different countries or you're a parent of a child like me, then I highly recommend this book.

One description that I read on a Facebook group called Third Culture Kids Everywhere, was this:
"My teacher took a glass of lemonade and cranberry juice and mixed them. Then she asked if anyone wanted to try to separate the two flavors."

That describes it pretty well. You can't try to figure out what "nationality" we are. We're blended together from all the places we've lived. For me it's the U.S. (or The States as we TCKers say), Cameroon, and Nigeria.

One of the things that gets discussed endlessly by TCKs is the question, "Where are you from?" For most, that seems like a normal question to ask with a fairly normal answer. The reason we discuss it so much is because for us, it's often long and always complicated. "From" implies a place to which you are tied and where all your roots (relationships, emotional connections, experiences) are at.

Most TCKs have a response that would be similar in structure to mine, although different in details:
I was born in the US but we moved to Africa when I was 5. We lived in Cameroon for 4 years and Nigeria for 2 years. However, I went to boarding school in Nigeria for 3 of those 6 years. We moved back to the US when I was 13.

Some would look at that and say, "You were born in the US so that makes you an American." However, in response to that I would ask you to revisit the lemonade/cranberry juice illustration I mentioned above. My life is a mix of the US and Africa, two completely different places and cultures. I am a mix of both of these places and so, strictly speaking, I am "from" both.

So, to make life less complicated my response is usually something along the lines of, "I currently live in...." Most people are satisfied with that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Save a Life for $10

Malaria kills more kids in Africa than AIDS and it's 100% preventable.
Biteback Video

"There’s no excuse for not stopping malaria right now. Poor parents have so much to worry about—how to feed their children and try to get them an education and keep them safe…This is one thing we can take off the list. We can get them nets so their children can sleep safe at night. We can do that. We can bite back." –Jordan

Beaded Yarn

I learned how to add beads to my spinning at a local spinning group about a month and a half ago.

Too much work to do very often, but I think it turned out well.

Right now I'm turning it into art. I'll post the pictures when I'm done.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What do you do...

...when your dreams are about to come true after a lot of hard work... and then they're yanked out from under you?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Make a Difference...Can I?

If you've ever doubted that you could make a difference in this world, check this out. My Biggest Fear

Poverty and Biofuel Requires Some Creativity On Our Part

The poor pay the price if we don't do green creatively and responsibily. Everything we do affects the whole world. Read this article by the BBC about the cost of food going up in the poorest countries because of biofuel.

While biofuel has been labeled as a green alternative to the gasoline we have used for decades, many have not properly thought out the impact it makes on the poorest of the poor.

Imagine going to the grocery store this month and spending $100 for a week of groceries. Then imagine going to the grocery store next month to find that you have to spend $200 to $300 for the same thing. That's what's happening in countries like Burkina Faso, Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, and Haiti.

So while I like to complain about the cost of gasoline when I go to fill my tank, I need to remember that the solution needs to be good for the whole world; environment, animals, and yes...people.

One creative way that you can help the poorest in the world is to sponsor a child. A really great organization to do this through is Compassion International. They are making a difference and not only will your sponsorship change the life of the child you sponsor, it changes the lives of their family and, most especially, you. One of the things I find wonderful and amazing is that when the children who are sponsored through Compassion grow up, they give back by helping other children who are in the same circumstances that they were.

We just received a letter from our sponsored child who lives in Uganda. He told us what he had done with our Christmas and birthday gift to him. He bought chickens for eating (meat is a luxury) and a new suit. He's 12 and growing fast, so I imagine the new clothes were badly needed. He even sent a photograph of himself in his new clothes, eating his Christmas dinner. I'm glad we can make a difference in his life and stop the cycle of poverty by giving him the resources to do that as well as hope for his future. Because we care about what happens to him, he can dream about what he will do when he grows up instead of just surviving.