Growing up, my parents and many other families, could not afford to send their children to school. My parents would heat leftover food for us before they left for their work in the fields and markets leaving us older kids to fend for ourselves in different ways. Often times, my friends and I would spend our time drumming and dancing.
Looking back, my connection to drumming and dancing was the best thing for me. It kept me off the streets and from making choices that could have harmed myself, family, and community.
Being connected to my culture brings me peace and grounds me in what matters most. For me, it is the best kind of therapy. It is what our ancestors used to have faith, hope, and peace during tough times and in times of celebration. It is all about community and supporting one another.
Knowing who I am, where I come from, what my heritage is, and how we are all connected has led me to where I am today. This is the reason why I started the M’bangba Cultural School, now called Tiyumba Youth Development & Cultural Center to give the opportunity for cultural connection to others.