My "Shuka"

In Attire
My "shuka" that my mom gave me
My "shuka" that my mom gave me

My Shuka, which is like a thin blanket that is used to wrap yourself with, was given to me by my mother when I hit puberty. I am not sure of the full background on it, but I know that women, in my tribe, are the ones who primarily wear them and are worn for different things. For example, back in Kenya, women usually use their Shukas to wrap the baby around their backs. I tried it once with my baby nephew when I went back to Kenya and it was not as painful as I thought it would be. The Shuka is also used as the dowry gift that the men's side of the family gives to the women's side of the family to thank them for sharing their daughter with them. Both my parents came from Kenya, however, my mom had a more financially stable family. So when my father wanted to marry my mother, my grandfather was against due to my father’s background, he found him unfit. But my father did not give up, he would give gifts to my mother and grandmother. He would also spend as much time with my mom’s father to make a good impression so he can separate himself from his siblings' behavior. When my grandfather finally caved in, my father’s side of the family gave my mother's side of the family lots of Shukas. They then had their traditional wedding ceremony followed by their church wedding. Years later, when my mother had me and my siblings and my dad raised enough money in America, he was able to take all of us to live with him in Lowell, Massachusetts. I find it touching that my father never gave up on my mother and I hope to continue the Shuka-giving tradition with my future partner.  

Place(s): Kenya
Year: 2010

– AT.

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child