An American Odyssey

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US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis

I arrived the United States of America recently and visited Minneapolis for a week before moving to New York. Since then I have had interesting encounters with the American people, their culture and lifestyle. The America I saw in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a compassionate America. Minneapolis is a beautiful city of wealth and a compassionate spirit. I saw the gentleness and understanding of bus drivers, the charity shown the cities less privileged and the large African community there, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians, is a testament of the accommodating nature of the city. I was overwhelmed when I visited the US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings NFL team and the venue of Super Bowl LII. I have never seen such an edifice that accommodates almost 80,000 people built with such minimal use of space. I hear it cost 1.6 billion dollars.

Since arriving New York I have lived in three different parts of Brooklyn; Flatbush, East New York and Bushwick. In these three neighborhoods I saw distinctively different communities. Flatbush has a lot of people of Caribbean heritage, East New York has a lot of African-Americans and Bushwick is decidedly Latino.

This got me thinking about the diversity of America. My arrival in New York coincided with the July 4th celebrations and I saw families and friends celebrate with barbeques, parties and fireworks in almost every household on the street I stayed on. Yet a few days later I ran into a huge carnival in Linden Boulevard Park where people from Belize were celebrating their national day. In Bushwick several homes were adorned with the Puerto Rican flag. I gathered that the huge Puerto Rican community in New York celebrated their national day on June 9th, a few weeks before I arrived the city.

So America is a country of immigrants who celebrate their being Americans and also their heritage.  Human beings are creatures of identity, and as Shakespeare noted, “birds of the same feather flock together”. The benefits inherent in commonality of culture, language and historical experiences may be the reason these diverse peoples stay close to one another in neighborhoods and work collectively to contribute to the greatness of America. Seeing all these different American communities inspired me to start this blog and indeed this website. In the Laundromats and Family Dollar shops I visited in New York I kept seeing free copies of Caribbean or Latino focused community newspapers. And being a former journalist and community newspaper publisher I just thought of the native-born African community in America.  I came up with the idea of this website for every native born African in America to tell their American story. This platform is for every native-born Kenyan, South African, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Egyptian and all from Africa’s fifty four sovereign countries who are living in America to tell the story of their successes, celebrations, failures, encounters, challenges, pains and experience.

I saw a lot that I yearned to record in the past month. I had new experiences like been bedazzled in Times Square or entering a Food Bazaar Supermarket and being blown away by the overwhelming variety of food stuff and produce. This blog is one month late, but better late than never.

I will post updates regularly on my experience in America and look forward to hearing from everyone who also has  stories to tell about their American odyssey.

Ebimo Amungo

 

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