Thursday, May 27, 2010

African Community Network (ACN)...Making a Difference in VA and Beyond

Become a Facebook friend of the African Community Network (ACN) and get involved to make a difference! ACN is a new, non-profit organization that aims to serve African families and communities in Greater Richmond, VA and beyond in the areas of education, advocacy, economic development, health and social and cultural affairs. Many members are from the diverse countries of Africa, including Senegal, Eritrea, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Sierre Leone, and many more. ACN works to promote diversity and helps bridge the gap between communities in order to develop a better quality of life for all.

Want to get involved? Let's do it! Contact us at africancommunitynetwork@googlegroups.com and help make a difference in your world!

Rebuilding the Cultural Bridge

The personal and educational pursuit of Africans is embedded in the culture and is passed down to children of the Continent. Perseverance. Dedication. Commitment. Hard work. Work ethic. Resilience. Victory. These strong attributes describe and almost define the existence of many African cultures all over the beautiful Continent. According to research, African immigrants, particulary Nigerians, have the highest level of education in the U.S. when it comes to the entire global immigrant population.

Some children who grow up in villages (not all do. many are raised in the cities) in Africa so greatly value their education that they transport their hard, wooden desks and chairs to and from school on the back of their bicycles, riding miles to school under the beaming African sun. Some schools don't have doors, and if their desk, chair and books are left unsecured overnight, there is fear that these educational tools may be gone by morning.

There is a bold and bright concept of education held by an African heritage that many African Americans (children and adults) living in the U.S. are missing. A culture reconnect between Africans, African history and culture and African-Americans could greatly change communities, the world even, and save lives.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Journey to a Cultural Connection

My first trip to Nigeria at the age of 27 was one that has helped to further me along my path of achievement and self actualization. Yes, even at the ripe age of 27. The towering palm trees. The majestic blue sky. The smell of sweet mangos and pears dangling from vines that flanked my grandfather’s compound. On that compund was my grandfather’s “palace” where he sat in a wide, mahogany-rimmed chair for years, decades really, talking to me over the phone and often times through static. The former British colony is filled with several languages and cultural sects. I was fortunate to be informed about my roots at a very early age, thanks to the cultural connection that my father initiated when I was a child. The values. The struggle. The pain. The perseverance. The hope. The future. Instilled in me as an elementary schooler were the codes of life that I would live by. I went to school and studied faithfully because I knew that there were kids in Nigeria who wanted to learn, but because of circumstances could not, or had to do with much more difficulty than I would ever experience. The maturity of life and of the spirit embedded in stories my father shared with me helped develop my mind and perspective on who I was, where I came from, where I am going, and what to do and how to do it along the way.