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Interview With Egline Cherono

First I interviewed my mother: Egline Cherono. She was born in Pemwai, Kenya, but currently lives in Georgia. Her favorite childhood memory was having plenty of time (between an 1 to 2 hours) for recess as a child, which is different from America because children have recess from elementary school to high school. She got to play many different games with her friends such as skip and jump (hop-scotch) and jump rope in elementary school.

In high school she participated in volleyball and cross-country in Eldoret up to proficient level (which is similar to national competitions in the United States; she remembered coming home after with her team singing so loud the bus ride home, that the students at the school could hear them coming home from a mile away. The most memorable advice that her parents gave her was to “focus on your education, work hard, set goals, and don’t quit”.

The most memorable childhood experience was being selected after finishing 8th grade to go to a national high school for scoring the highest in her grade; this was considered an amazing milestone since many high schools in Kenya are not public, are boarding schools, and require a tuition. This relates to her educational experience as a child since oftentimes she did not have a lot of money for tuition; she recollected the time her principal, Ms.

Rachel Odongo, payed for her school supplies she couldn’t buy (soap, clothes, textbooks, tuition) because her family was currently low on funds. When her father heard of the principal’s grace, he gave her the little money he had to pay the principal back; the principal refused to take the money and replied, “In the future when I am old and you see me in Kisumu in sandals, buy me beautiful shoes with the money you will earn after you graduate. ” Principal Odongo was very fond of her and told the students that she was the most dedicated girl there who was devoted to education.

Egline finally finished her educational journey in 2014 with her masters in teaching specialty and curriculum instruction/design. She is currently working on getting her doctorate. My mother met my father at a church Youth Conference in Baringo, within the Rift Valley, and when she was teaching at Pemwai Girl’s High School when she was sixteen and my dad was a sophomore in college. My mother always loved teaching and wanted to do it for her career, also her hobbies include caring for her children, cooking, and traveling in general.

Her favorite part about raising children is watching them grow up and go to school, which relates to moment in her life that she was truly happy and at peace was when she gave birth to her first child, my oldest sister, Jennifer. The most difficult obstacle when it came to moving to the US was not making enough money to comfortably raise kids while living as an immigrant in America. Her ideology she tries to live by is “Live for Christ, rejoice for Christ” and her life goal is to “live to the fullest and to raise a healthy, obedient, successful family”.

Relating to Kenya’s shift to from a one-party state to a multiple party state in the 1980’s, she was very supportive, since she believed that the country needed a change to meet the global needs of democracy and since the current system was not meeting the citizen’s needs. When asked about Kenya’s 2007 election, she quickly responded, “Kibaki rigged that election” The 2007 election was a heavily disputed election since it was the first corrupted election in Kenya which led to the formation of laws to prevent corruption. Next, I interviewed my father: Paul Cherono who was born in Kabarnet, Kenya, and currently lives in Georgia.

His most memorable childhood memory was when he would travel in the forest, climb trees and just watch and observe nature since he loved the natural world. The advice he remember that most from his parents was “Never drink liquor in your life, never attend a disco (a club), and do not steal” My father had many interesting experiences as a child since he would spend a lot of time outdoors and did rough-and-tumble activities: when my dad was nine my dad really wanted a horse, so one time, while tending the cattle, he decided to climb onto the back of a cow and the cow let him.

However, cows are forgetful animals, so after 10 minutes the cow forgot that my dad was on its back; when my dad shifted on the cow, it got startled and bucked him into the tallest tree where he almost permanently broke his spinal cord. Looking back on it, he laughs about how dumb he was, and how he learned his lesson. At first, my father only loved school because it allowed him to interact with other children around his age without a parent’s restraint; this was because at home my dad felt lonely since at home all he did was do his homework, tend the farm, eat, then go to sleep.

He enjoyed getting to play soccer and voilibol and used to tease people to gage their reaction, which laid the foundation for his interest in psychology. This May he will graduate with his masters in psychology and clinical counseling, although, when asked when he will finish his education, he said he strongly believes that you never finish your education because you’re always learning within your life. His favorite job was when he got to help and teach children in city slums and seedy rural areas.

Realating to Kenya, he believes that the westernization of Kenya has had some negative affects because by coping a developed nation completely, it blinds Kenya from their personal goal’s as a country and causes the people’s culture to deteriorate. The hardest thing for him transitioning to America from Kenya is trying to pursue an education in America; he explained that it was the most stressful time in his life since he had to go a minimum wage job with my mother (since they only had their visas), pay for college tuition with a small amount of money, while still trying to make ends meet to raise kids.

If he could change anything about his current life, my dad would only change his income bracket, so that we as a family can live more comfortably, since as an immigrant you have to keep working and working, starting from lower class, to climb the economic ladder. The best advice my father can give is to make good decisions: decisions are the key to life. My oldest sister, Jennifer is 23 and was born in Kenya, and currently lives in Georgia.

Her favorite childhood memory as a child was climbing up a small mountain with our grandfather, on his back, when she was five then eating avocados and passion fruit when they reached the summit they talked and looked out at the scenery. The advice she remembers most from our parents is “Reach for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. She described her educational life as “AWESOME! since she goes to UGA with a double major in microbiology and molecular biological chemistry and a minor in public health; she is part of Engineers Without Borders, Impact, Global Awareness club, and WIT (“Whatever It Takes” which reaches out to refugee children).

She plans to graduate in May with her undergraduate’s degree and plans to go to medical school. Her first job was at a IT help desk, but her favorite job is what she does currently: research at Complex Carbohydrates Center at UGA. Her hobbies include: playing the guitar, piano, and violin, volleyball, soccer, volunteering, and hanging out with her friends.

Her life goal is to create an establishment that helps women’s health (a clinic to empower women in developing areas). The people who impacted her the most was our parents since they had so much endurance and willingness to put education above everything. Moving to America from Kenya was especially difficult for my sister since she was six at the time, ESL was extremely demeaning, and had to learn the culture through TV and the few friends she had; it was also difficult since she and my older brother would often have to switch schools and leave behind their friends.

Her ideology is the Five Constructs: faith, family health, education, and social life. Although she would change nothing about her life, Jennifer’s advice to others is to “Heed your parent’s advice, but also do what makes you happy in accordance to the Five Constructs. Finally, I interviewed my two grandmothers, Kobillo and Martha, who were together during the phone interview. Both of them were born in Kenya, however Martha was born in Pemwai and Kobillo was born in Kabarnet and they currently get to live in the same cities they were born.

Martha’s favorite childhood memory was getting to take part in the children’s choir as girl and Kobillo’s favorite childhood memory was romping around the jungle with her brothers. Both of them were not clear on the advice they remember from their parents, but they remembered being taught lessons and advice through Kenyan folklore and proverbs like “A staring toad does prohibit the elephant from drinking at the watering hole” which means that do not let judgement stop you from accomplishing your goals.

Education was very different when my grandparents were alive, they both agreed that education was sparse since Kenya was under British rule and it was rare for children to go to school, however most children learned math, history reading, and writing from their parents. Additionally, both Kobillo and Martha both enjoy working on farms since they enjoy the “fruits of their labor” (pun intended) and being surrounded by nature.

Kobillo also commented playfully that she also enjoys taking the harvest to the market to sell at a fair price depending on how rainy, wet season was or how arid, dry season was. Their shared ideology is to live for Christ and rejoice in Him. When asked about their views on Britain (before and after independence) Kobillo spoke up and discussed how she loathed the time Britain had control over Kenya, since the British would mistreat the people, excessively hunt wildlife, and pushed people off of their fertile farm lands into to arid lands that could not grow crops.

She remembered how the British would force the people to not wear their native clothes and made them wear navy blue shirts and khaki shorts (which is why wearing shorts in Kenya is a taboo, since it reminds everyone of British imperial rule). Currently, she still cannot forget the cruelty Britain did to Kenya, but she is willing to forgive them since this is a new age and she believes that if God the Father can forgive the world for its sin than she can forgive and appreciate Britain now.

Martha says she does not really remember a lot from Britain’s rule over Kenya, but heard from a lot of her friends about the horrors of British tyranny over Kenya. She currently feels indifferent about Britain and happy that Kenya is independent. After independence, they both agreed that Kenya had a rocky start forming a new government, and although they love Jomo Kenyatta, they did not like the unitary government and were greatly relieved when Kenya moved to a multiple party state in the 1980’s with President Daniel Arap Moi.

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