Friday, July 30, 2021

My New Book, "Chickens in the Bus"

Today I have reason to rejoice. I published a new book, Chickens in the Bus: More Thoughts on Cultural Differences.Ever since I published Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, readers have been asking me whether I was thinking about writing a sequel.

I had been thinking about that, and for the past fifteen years had been writing short articles intending to compile them into a book. Today, that dream came true.

I feel that Chickens in the Bus adequately complements my earlier book. I am relieved and I can now focus on other writing projects.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Beyond the Faribault International Festival

On July 10, 2021, I participated in the International Festival Faribault as an educator and author, as I have done over the years. One of my most memorable experiences was visiting the booth of the Czech Heritage Club. In our conversation, I expressed my interest in the folklore and cultures of the world, and they told me that there was an exhibition of the Czech heritage at the Heritage Center in Montgomery. This is a town in southeastern Minnesota, which I had visited some years ago. I was excited to hear about this exhibition and promised to go see it.

On July 17, I went to Montgomery and saw the exhibition. It was rich and enlightening, covering the history of Czechoslovakia and various aspects of Czech culture in its homeland and in the Czech diaspora here in Midwest USA. It was quite a delight to see books of Czech folktales--that is the folklorist in me speaking--and a display on the famous composer Antonin Dvorak, about whom I knew during my youth in Tanzania. I took many photos and hope to share some of them in the days ahead. My immediate plan is to incorporate Czech folklore in my Folklore course at St. Olaf College, so inspired am I by all these experiences, made possible by the Faribault Diversity Coalition and the Czech Heritage Club. I convey my deep gratitude to them.http://

Monday, July 5, 2021

My Neighbour, My Reader

Here is my neighbour Merrilyn McElderry, in the middle, and her granddaughter. I took this selfie two days ago, June 3, in Edina, Minnesota. A retired teacher, Merrilyn is an avid reader of my works. She adores my writings and eagerly follows my storytelling and other presentations. When she read my book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, she wrote stimulating notes comparing African culture with Native American culture. She could do this easily, having worked in a Chippewa reservation for 15 years. What a blessing it is to have people like her in my corner.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Different Cultures, Different Perspectives, Different Conversations

On January 8, 2021, I conducted a faculty seminar here at St. Olaf College titled Different Cultures, Different Perspectives, Different Conversations. This was part of my contribution towards creating a more dynamic, diverse, and inclusive community on campus and beyond. The seminar was based on my book Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences.
 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Patrick Hemingway's Birthday

Today, June 28, is Patrick Hemingway's birthday. He was born on June 28, 1928. What a coincidence of numbers. 

I called him and he answered the phone right away. Despite his advanced age, he has no problem remembering me and my voice. I had hardly greeted him when I said Happy Birthday. He sounded more lively than he has been for many months.

I thanked him for all he has done to help me in my study of Ernest Hemingway. We went on to chat about Ernest Hemingway, of course, and we focused in particular on the mystique of Hemingway and how Hemingway himself delighted in not just letting it flourish but also stoking it with his own imaginary tales which he passed off as true. Patrick mentioned Hemingway's alleged affair with Mata Hari story and I mentioned Hemingway's tale of a love affair and marriage with Debba, the Kamba woman in Under Kilimanjaro.

Patrick has always expressed his support and admiration for my efforts to articulate an African perspective on Hemingway. I am touched also, by how he likes my book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, which he calls "a tool of survival" for Americans. He lived in my country for twenty five years and knows what he is talking about.

I am happy to have talked with Patrick on this special day.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Tool of Survival

This is the most touching photo of my book Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences that I have ever seen. Abraham Thomas, a member of the Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Program in northern Tanzania, posted this photo on Facebookk, describing the book as a valuable resource for tour guides. That it is so battered amply proves the point.

I am grateful to have written this book the way I wrote it, and always touched by what readers say. Ernest Hemingway's son Patrick, who lived in Tanzania for twenty five years, called the book "a tool of survival" for Americans in Africa.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Final Session of the Trade with Africa Business Summit 2021

This is a video of the concluding session of the Trade With Africa Business Summit 2021, which was held from May 31 to June 4. It was an enriching and stimulating five day experience. Summit organizer Toyin Umesiri, had requested me to talk about my book Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences.

I cannot express enough how grateful Summit participants were to Toyin for all the work she had done of organizing and running the Summit. I cannot express enough how much we all learned from the Summit and how valuable it was as a networking opportunity.

On a personal note, I was touched by how Toyin and other Summit participants received my presentation. The video exemplifies this, especially at the very end, when Vera Moore, CEO of Vera Moore Cosmetics,displays my book, telling everybody that she had just bought it. The videos of all the summit presentations, a veritable treasure trove, are available here.