Humans of Blair: Balancing change in one country and tradition in the other

Dec. 3, 2013, 1:23 p.m. | By Aidan Keys | 10 years, 6 months ago

"Humans of Blair" inspired by the blog Humans of New York , is a weekly blog that features Blazers and their stories. Come back next Monday for the next edition of "Humans of Blair."

"I stayed for about year or a couple of months without a name."

Junior Eunice Muchemi immigrated to the United States from Kenya in December 2010. Muchemi holds a strong tie with her Bantu culture, where children receive their grandparent's names. After Muchemi's older sister was born, her parents decided to break tradition and choose their own names for her and her brother. When Muchemi was born, her parents had lists of names, but couldn't decide; hence their year-long indecision. Eventually, Muchemi's grandmother decided that Muchemi's parents would have to give in and give their daughter her name. It's a story that shows the importance of tradition in Muchemi's culture.

But this tradition becomes difficult to maneuver around when faced with issues other than baby names. This is especially trying for Muchemi, who advocates for human rights issues such as LGBT rights. While these issues aren't taboo in the United States they are more sensitive in her culture. "It's hard where I come from, to just go out there and tell people, 'These are people who have these kinds of rights and they're humans too,'" Muchemi explains. In contrast, the United States, she says, is a much more open place that allows for people to stand up for causes and question norms. "We're not prone to judging. We accept other people's opinions and other people's views of life, and we try our best- not everyone- but we mostly try to be unique in our own way," she says. She hopes to return to Kenya and utilize what she's learned from the United States, to advocate, and change dynamics in her country. "I wanna go back there and see how it is, now that I've actually come here and have known- I just know how to stand up for what's right."

Tags: Eunice Muchemi

Aidan Keys. Aidan writes feature stories and has a beautiful mane of wild hair. She has a cat named Cleo and enjoys learning Portuguese and Spanish for fun. Usually is listening to music, but sometimes she plays it on her violin or her cello. More »

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