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Motherhood Notes from a Kenyan Mom in the Diaspora: 2014 Was a Year of Great Achievements

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Nabubwaya Chambers is a Kenyan mom raising her family in Lubbock, Texas. She lives with her husband and their one year old son Lema. Today, she gives us a summary of how the year has been for her and her family.

What a year! It started on a very high note. Our son Lema was just two months old, and we were still pretty much excited at the experience of being new parents.

I also went back to work at the hospital on a full time basis as a Patient Care Assistant & Phlebotomist. I have worked before, but being a working mother was quite a unique and intense experience.

On his part, Baba Lema was grappling with the reality of deadlines and numerous editing as he toiled day and night towards defending his dissertation. He was studying for a PhD in Fine Arts. As I watched him further his education, I entertained thoughts of going back to school, and I purposed to do so after Lema became more independent. My return to school is driven by my desire to secure a promising present and future for my family.

Indeed, 2014 has had its ups and downs, but thankfully, they have mostly been ups. One of my highlights of the year was in April when my dear mummy came visiting from Kenya. We had the most amazing time with her as she got to hold her latest grandson in her arms (she has four other grandsons who are all older than Lema). Mummy stayed with us for two weeks and we took her on tours around Lubbock. She also helped take care of Lema when we were away at work, which was such a welcome relief for us. It was lovely seeing Lema bond with his kukhu.

We also paid a visit to Lema’s grandparents who live far away from us but still within the US. Lema got to meet his paternal cousins. We hope that he will be able to meet his maternal family in Kenya in the near future, God willing.

Then, I finally made it back to graduate school in the Fall!! I’m studying Public Health, and I am happy that the Epidemiology course that I took this semester was very successful. I scored an A after long days and nights of research, statistics, reports, assignments, weekly quizzes, and exams. After gaining a wealth of information, I am certainly more interested in pursuing Public Health now more than ever.

In November, Lema turned 1 and is now walking yaaay!

Baba Lema also managed to successfully defend his dissertation and graduated just a few weeks ago after toiling for a few years. I remember the extensive days and nights of research, conference presentations, classes, exams, editing, and tons of writing. Zillions of diaper changes, night and day feedings, very few hours of sleep, writing and more writing were the order of the day for Baba Lema. Parenting checked in while Baba Lema continued to fervently burn the midnight oil.

In all these events, he managed to maintain his cool and get his work done. We are incredibly proud of him for accomplishing his achievements.

Now that December is upon us, I stop and look back to count my blessings. Needless to say, I am increasingly longing to see my Kenyan family. It seems like a decade since I last saw all of them. I miss them with every passing day. They are always in my heart and mind. How do I deal with homesickness? I watch African movies and music videos. I sing along and dance to African music. I look at photos of my family and all things Africa that I can find. I speak in Swahili and cook Kenyan food.

Also, I communicate with my loved ones in Kenya. As much as they are physically far away, they continue to remind me of a place I once called home. I am at home whenever I speak with them. I still call it home and know that a big part of me will always thirst for it.

Merry Christmas to you all from the Chambers family.

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