My object is called a kikoi. Kikois can come in many different sizes and shades. They are all made in various countries throughout East Africa. They are most commonly used as either garment of clothing or to keep warm. My kikoi was originally given to my mother by her parents. She kept it with her through all the places she would later venture out to in life. In fact, she had several from her childhood that she still keep to this day. She’s from Meru, a city in Kenya. My mom passed down one of her kikoi’s to me in 2005 when I was two years old. At first, I didn’t look at the object as much, but as I grew older I started to appreciate the object a lot more. This object was the first piece of exposure I had to Kenya, which was a big part of my heritage. It made me feel a connection to a side of my culture, which I didn’t really know about yet. The object helped me think of what Kenya was like through something other than pictures. Smelling it gave me ideas of the aromas around where my mom grew up. It had a very strong grassy smell which was expected because of all the fields in Kenya. Overall, this object represents a part of me. It represents how I live in America but there’s another side to my life story.
– Tumai Chaiban