Welcome to Blovebirds, a blog dedicated to parenting global citizens.
My name is Wakanyi but my immediate family calls me Waks. My really close friends call me Waks too. If you think we are really close, you too can call me Waks, because I find it endearing and because even the lady I last spoke to at the check-out counter at our local grocery store this morning? I just Friend-ed her on Facebook and I asked her to feel free to call me Waks too.
I make friends easily, which is a good thing because I live like a nomad, expatriating around the globe, one country after another. So far I have hauled excess baggage, pregnant belly and toddlers in and out of six countries. Once a friend described me as a life-sized social butterfly because no sooner have we met, than I am off to another faraway land, setting up temporary camp in this globetrotting lifestyle that my family thrives on.
I am the mother to four children, a wife, a trained journalist, a certified children’s writer with an MA in Global Education and a life-long learner (free online edX classes are my favourite pass time).
However, being a mother is what defines me best, although I can’t quite claim to have risen through the ranks of Motherhood because quite frankly, my children are too clever for me. They seem to know so much and I know so little and they seem to know that too. While I work on being the authoritative matriarch, I am content with feeling like their teenage baby sitter. Big sis is 11, big bro is 8, little (big) sis is 6 and lil’ bro is 3 years old. But unofficially they are 21, 18, 16 and the baby looks like an old man (he even walks like one, with hands clasped behind him).
However, what I lack for in authoritative parenting, I more than make up for in creative parenting. Over the years, I’ve noticed a pattern. Children are genuinely attracted to me and I to them. I love telling them stories but most of all enjoy listening to their stories. I enjoy learning any expert’s documented work about the science of a child’s imagination. I have quite possibly attended all the freebie workshops on raising mini global citizens at all the various international schools that my children have attended. Once my oldest daughter suggested that I get a job at her school. What she didn’t know was that I secretly wished I could attend school with her because I suspect that these days they are learning a lot more creatively than we did.
If I had to list a professional title against my name, then it would be ‘writer’, one who is determined to create a world where all children will have as a natural right, the ability to read and write and retell their stories, regardless of their race, nationality, gender or socio-economic standing. I believe it is a total disgrace to be living in a world where many children cannot access story books and even more cannot express themselves creatively.
In a random moment of philosophical wisdom, these words came naturally to me:
“There is no shortage of storybooks in the world; only a shortage of storytellers willing to tell our children the stories that connect us all.”
I am a writer with a vision to retell my own childhood stories, linking them to the world where my children currently live, to help retell their stories and those of the children that they connect with around the world. Despite the drastic cultural differences, we all tell the same stories.
As a child, I was always fascinated by folk tales. Our African stories are passed down orally, often by grandmothers who possess superhuman memories. These grandmothers remember everything and they take pride in passing their heritage down to the younger ones. I would like to preserve those stories in books for generations to come.
As an adult and a mother of four, I find myself often creating characters for my children’s bedtime stories that would reflect the values that I would like them to uphold. They are usually fictitious characters, some so otherworldly that my children giggle and laugh at their incredulous personalities. But secretly, those characters represent real events in my childhood. I recreate a little Africa in a fantasy world and they buy it, often times concluding the stories themselves.
I would like to connect with you on this personal blog because having lived in six different countries, I think I’m onto something about global parenting. I truly believe that all children are born equal. Yes, including the handsome Prince George and his gorgeous little Princess-sister, even if pushed in a golden pram. Some of our children meander off unpleasant directions not because they lack the special genetic code for fame and fortune but because they lack an audience to voice their stories.
All parents around the world will agree that children are full of stories. Yet in more than 80% of the world’s inhabited areas, our enthusiastic storytellers are voiceless. I like to imagine a world where children could be children and they could tell us their stories too, for I do believe their stories would reveal a greater connected human race than the feeble differences that seem to divide us.
This blog will be filled with stories that touch on life lessons. Stories of parenting around the globe. Stories that bring that diminishing intercultural connection, which is so essentially human.
It is my absolute pleasure to share my stories with you.