As you may or may not know, one DoD Founder is on maternity leave and the other Founder is on international leave. I'm Dr. Joy, the one who is in Zanzibar! Shout out to Dr. Nenna though who is mastering breastfeeding while I'm teaching ultrasound. As apart of Social Media Summer Camp, we are blogging! One Doc Blog and one Teen Blog to keep things intergenerational!
First, I want to introduce you to this amazing place called Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is in East Africa and is definitely apart of the African Diaspora. The national language is Swahili, basically all of the words used in Kwanzaa come from Swahili. I'm living on a small island called Pemba, which is apart of Zanzibar. It's roughly a 99% Muslim island, so while living here most women are expected to dress conservatively. The American doctor who was here before me had to cover her hair for Ramadan, or month of fasting. I usually never show my arms or legs when I am in public places.
Every weekday I drive around the island to different hospitals to teach doctors, midwives and other clinical workers on how to perform ultrasound on pregnant women. It's difficult to teach ultrasound in general, but what makes this experience unique is that I teach a majority of the time in Swahili. As a black woman who is not Tanzanian and coming back to volunteer to teach, the doctors and midwives are very receptive. Speaking Swahili is also a bonus for them. It’s a way for me to give back to the diaspora, as a daughter of the diaspora.
Did you know that Dr. Nenna and I both speak African languages? We were the first students ever awarded Language Certificates in an African Language at Harvard College. Dr. Nenna speaks Igbo, the language of her parents, which she learned completely at Harvard. When we started Daughters of the Diaspora, we were actually on vacation in Zanzibar together five years ago. This trip is like a homecoming for us and for Daughters of the Diaspora, Inc. So glad we can take you on the ride. Stay tuned for more adventures in Zanzibar next Wednesday!