Sunday, February 1, 2015

Back To High School !

Remember in my lastarticle I talked about my reluctance for public speaking. I also mentioned the means I am using to get out of my comfort zone despite all my fears. Then guess what? I made a huge step (it’s huge for me) in that way. So here is the story. A week ago I received an email from an international advisor saying that the director of the International Student & Scholar Services needed an African girl to speak at her daughter’s High School. I was like “Can I do this?” and then I thought “Why not?” This was a great opportunity to improve my oral communication and presentation skills. After thinking about it for few seconds, I decided to get into the train. 

The first thing I can say after that day is that I love my country. Yes I already knew that but it was like discovering it again. I was supposed to speak to two seventh grade social studies classes about my country. There was also a graduate student from Niger who accepted to be a speaker on the occasion. I did not really know what I could speak about so I decided to take few facts I like about Cote d'Ivoire. The students of Griffin Middle School were enthusiastic and eager to learn more about Africa. I would like to share with you what I actually showed to my young audience. And additionally give you some facts I learned from my co-speaker presentation.

1-     The food is actually what I love and miss the most from Cote d’Ivoire. Alloco and attieke are definitely the best dishes in the world. 

2-     I was shocked when I saw Americans eating peanut butter with bread. We rather use it to cook a sauce and eat with rice. 

3-     Each time you eat chocolate there is at least 34.5% chance that it was made from cocoa produced in Cote d’Ivoire. 

4-     There are more than 60 tribes in Cote d’Ivoire contributing to the cultural diversity. 

5-     Michael Jackson is not only the king of the pop, he is also a prince from Krinjabo Kingdom located in…Ivory Coast of course J

6-     Even if loincloths and bazin fabric are considered as African fabrics, they are actually from other countries like Holland (wax) and Great Britain (bazin). But we still have our own local fabric like you can see on the picture. 

My brother trying to weave and some dresses made from African fabrics

7-     We recently inaugurated the third bridge of Abidjan, the economical capital but we also have a lot of Liana Bridges in the country. They are handmade and only few initiated people know how to make them. 

8-     We have the biggest religious building in the world: La Basilique Notre Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro. Yes, even bigger than St Peter’s basilica in Vatican.  

9-     We have a mix of both tradition and modernity but unfortunately, modernity tends to overshadow all these traditions we are supposed to be proud of. 

10- Although they gave us a lot of heartbreak when playing together, our soccer team called “The Elephants” had and has some of the greatest players in the world. 

Here are few things I learned about Niger…Thank you Bachir

1-     It is not uncommon to see a man riding a camel in the cities. There was even a  picture where we could see a camel in a Taxi. See it by yourself. 

2-     The Fulani, one tribe of Niger, claims to have the most beautiful girls of the country. I can’t blame them for that because the Fulani women are actually gorgeous. 

3-     There is a ceremony during which the Fulani men try to apply the best make up on their face in order to get the women’s attention. 

4-     It is considered an insult to refuse the tea from a Touareg (another tribe of the country). 

5-     There are so much sand in Niger that they do ski on sand. Yes you read it correctly, SAND SKI!

Although I had a great experience, I was sad to notice that there are so many things about Cote d’Ivoire that I don’t know. The most important thing I need to do is to be able to speak my hometown language before I die in chaa Allah. Then I wish I will discover more of the folklore that the country has to offer. Finally I am so glad I took part in this journey and again, getting out of your comfort zone is always rewarding!!!

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