This month, my oldest daughter will turn 5. She will have a themed birthday party, receive presents & have the love and support of her family. Her life is glamorous in comparison to many 5-year-olds in South Sudan. July 9, 2016 marks the 5th Anniversary of South Sudan, the world’s youngest country. A country that is plagued by war and conflict. Many five-year-olds in South Sudan depend on the efforts of humanitarian workers, such as CARE workers, to survive.
Life in South Sudan
Let me share with you the story of a five-year-old named Nyahok. Her family doesn’t have enough money to send her to school.
South Sudan has the highest proportion of girls who aren’t in school in any country.
As much as my daughter craves learning and being around her peers, I can’t imagine this life for any five year old. There isn’t enough clean water where Nyahok lives, so she and other kids drink dirty, disease-laden water. We as Americans often take these little blessings for granted.
Children in South Sudan are 13 times more likely to die before their 5th birthday than American children.
Nyahok’s favorite game is mixing dirt with water and pretending she’s cooking food. With no crops or cattle, Nyahok’s mother feeds her a porridge of grains and wild leaves.
Watch this video to learn more.
What Can You Do To Help?
If you are looking to get involved in a humanitarian effort, CARE is the perfect organization for you! The best part about this organization is that 90% of money donated goes directly to program activities and CARE is a top-rated organization with Charity Watch. Donations of any amount will help these girls have a better chance at survival.
$150 can provide full nutritional support for a malnourished child. $70 can provide a family with a crop kit so they begin growing food again. For South Sudan’s 5th birthday, give its children hope for a better future. Our children are our future. The least thing we can do for them is helping them reach their full potential.
Thank you to CARE for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to help South Sudan!
Both of my parents were born and raised in Jamaica, but came to the states as adults. I never really thought about how my Jamaican family was different from others until I was told me no about something that most other parents said yes to. My father was in the Air Force, so many of my friends had parents from different countries, which brought about their cultural norms.
As an adult no longer surrounded by other military families, I have settled with my family in the south. Many people I encounter live close to family, and have for generations. This highlights the stark differences between my Jamaican upbringing and theirs.
Here are a few things I have noticed:
I Love Jamaican Food
There are no international markets near me, so when I want to eat Jamaican food or season my food with Jamaican spices, I have to ask my mother to purchase for me, get it from Atlanta, or my grandmother mails it to me from up north. Sometimes I just have a craving for authentic Jamaican food!
Once when my uncle came to visit from New Jersey, I cried because he ate the last bit of ackee and saltfish (national dish). I didn’t know when we would have a chance to eat it again, and I thought it was unfair because he ate it all the time in New Jersey.
My Daughters Love Jamaican Food
Their favorite Jamaican food is porridge. Americans make fun of me all the time if they happen to hear me mention it.
Believe me, if you had it, you would understand why baby bear was crying when Goldilocks ate all of his!
My southern friends make fun of me for not liking grits; but I blame it on porridge! You don’t have to take my word for it, listen to a few Bob Marley songs and you’ll hear all about his love for cornmeal porridge.
I Love Music
Jamaicans love to sing…all..the..time!
My mother sent me to Jamaica a few times as a toddler, but the first time I remember was in July 2010. All the resort staff was singing, as well as people in the community. I felt such a connection to my roots! Now it made sense to me why I have always done that.
And guess what, my kids make up songs and sing all the time too!
I Have a Need to Keep my Culture Alive
Growing up, I always remembered my parents being friends with other Jamaicans, or people from other islands. Eating Jamaican food & listening to reggae makes me feel at home wherever I am. I want to make sure that my girls take pride in our Jamaican family.
When my husband & I married, it was important to me that he had a love of my culture. I remember him playing Bob Marley on the way to a date & thinking, “This relationship is off to a good start!”
Family is Important
I have a close relationship with my parents. In fact, I talked with my mom about this post last week as I was in the planning phase. I still look to my parents for guidance.
Jamaicans utilize their family resources and look to their elders for guidance.
This is essential for survival-a similar family trait to Asian and Hispanic cultures.
Jamaica’s motto is Out of many one people. No matter the skin color, if you were born in Jamaica, you are a Jamaican. I have met many Jamaicans of different ethnicity, but the culture, the food and the music tie them all together. I hope to instill this in my children.
I hope that as my children grow, I can share my love of Jamaican culture with them. On my first visit as an adult, I felt a strange connection with the land that I can’t explain. Everything that I heard my parents and grandparents talk about as a child, came to life for me the moment I stepped off the plane.
How many of you were raised in a culture besides the American culture? Do you seek to share those cultural pieces with your children? I can’t wait to hear from you!
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Becoming a parent means a major lifestyle change. The days of spending all day or evening at event become quite challenging with kids, especially toddlers under the age of five. Have you ever planned the perfect outing for your kids, only to be disappointed by tears, tantrums & meltdowns? Here’s what I’ve found works for minimizing the meltdowns: