Kisii is a small city in Kenya. It's not where my family is originally from (Mombasa), but in the 70s when my Mom was starting her teaching career, she decided to move there.
To be a young South Asian woman in Kenya in the 1970s provided an identify full of intersections. For my Mom, it meant moving away from her family and friends in a big city to a very remote and rural town in a country divided by politics, racial injustice and gender inequality. It was a bold and brave move.
Full of excitement and fear, she forged ahead, living in a small residence. She taught in a classroom that many would consider ill-equipped for learning in today's digital age. But the kids prevailed and succeeded, they even planned a class field trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Decades later in a new country and at a very different time, I started facing similar decisions to the women before me. What was I going to do with my one wild and precious life? Like my Mom, I am also a teacher with a layered history full of intersecting identities. I'm learning the importance of my past. It was full of risk, sacrifice, optimism and hope. My parents immigrated from Kenya to England and then Canada for a better life.
So kisii represents a starting point. It's a symbol for taking a risk while having a heart full of good intentions.