Family Autobiography Project #1: Edith

I (over?)think a lot about storytelling. Especially the stories we tell about ourselves. In the age of social media, generally speaking, most people have more tools than ever for narrating their own lives to an audience. I hate introducing people to each other. I love putting people in a room together and making those connections, but I don’t like being the one to put words to identify a friend. I’d rather hear it all in the first person.

I’ve especially struggled thinking about how to represent the people close to me in the village. And I think part of my issue is that a lot of the people I might want to tell you about don’t currently have access to their own space on the internet where they can tell their own version of the story.

So I told my family a while ago that I would love if they can find a way to introduce themselves to my friends all over the world and anyone who is interested in the kinds of stories I have on my pages online. Since everyone in my family has some writing skills at least in Tonga, we’ve agreed that they can all write them on their own time and then whenever I will post their writing here along with a photo of them doing whatever they want. (They give me guidance on taking the photos and then pick their favorite.)

baMama Edith is the first to finish.

Here she is in one of her maize fields:

edith.jpg

Her writing in Tonga (hopefully you can download her audio here):

edith text.jpg

My translation of her words into English:

20th October 2017

Edith Muchindu

I was born in the year of 1974 on August 12 in [my village]. I started going to school in grade 1 in 1982. In 1991 I wrote my grade 9 exam and I failed. I stopped school and started selling items in a shop for 2 years. Then I stopped selling in the year of 1996 when I got married to ba Stern K Mazuba. I started to work with him farming maize and other crops and growing a garden, where we find some money to send the children to school and for family use. I am Edith Muchindu.

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