Let the international student voice be heard

Whenever Africa is mentioned, the first thing that comes to the minds of many is exotic animals, poverty and war, but for Alex Nyagah, there are deeper aspects to consider.

Coming to UVU from Kenya, Nyagah, who is majoring in Technology Management, feels the image of Africa is distorted by the media.

“While it is true that we face these challenges, there is another side to the story, a story of  the beauty of the people, the richness of the culture and its growth from colonization, slavery and dictatorship. Africa is coming out strong,” he said.

Kenya is a country in East Africa bordered by Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. The country has 42 tribes with English and Swahili as the official languages.

“Its most beautiful assets are its people, who are friendly, eloquent and resilient,” said Nyagah of  the dynamic Kenyan culture.

He feels Kenya has much to offer those seeking adventure. The Sahara Desert bears many intoxicating natural beauties and exhilarating experiences are to be had throughout the country.

“Kenya hosts the Great Rift Valley, Mount Kenya  (which are the highest peaks in Africa), many rain forests, savannas, wild life such as lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, cheetahs and hippopotamuses and the opportunity to explore how humans evolved.”

Nyagah strongly believes that  anyone who visits Kenya will fall in love with Africa so much they won’t want to come back.

“Kenyans are very warm and welcoming people, and it is the best place for a honeymoon,” said Maureen Lilachi. a public health freshman who is also from Kenya and has been in the United States for a year.

He encourages everyone to try a famous Kenyan food called Mukimo that is made with potatoes, corn and ripe bananas. It is eaten with Nyama Choma (roasted goat meat).

“This is my grandma’s delicacy, and when Americans consume it they think it is delicious,” Nyagah said.

Having been in America for 18 months now, Nyagah said he has faced challenges varying from religion, missing family, the weather and the different way of life in the U.S. However, he has been able to adjust while maintaining his culture by staying in contact with his family, being part of the African club and the African dance group (VOCA) and also by sharing his culture with others.

“Dealing with these challenges is a process of understanding and appreciating differences. Sharing my culture with others has helped me not only to conserve my culture, but I have also been able to explore and understand it to a greater level,”  Nyagah said.

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