Reflections: Makeda Kamara

Makeda Kamara CNM, MPH, M.ED is a certified nurse midwife. She witnessed her first physiologic birth while living on the slopes of the Kilimanjaro Mt while teaching at a local secondary school and was called to the midwifery profession as a result. She moved to Uganda at the end of her contract to work in a project designed to combat the endemic kwashiorkor malnutrition in the region with complementary soy based foods made locally. Upon completing her professional education, Ms. Kamara became part of The Cambridge Midwives and a founding Mother of The Cambridge Birth Center. She is the proud midwife to well over a thousand babies in hospitals, birth center and home. She has had the opportunity to work with women from war torn El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia who have relocated to the Boston area. Ms. Kamara received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Brandeis, University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Harvard University. Her proudest achievement she claims is the birth, nurturing and attachment parenting of her gifts—her two children.

Dec. 23, 2009
Greetings and Blessed Love:

I’m sleepy but I had to write this. I had an excellent day today:  emotional but wonderful. I got out of the hustle and bustle of being in the middle of town and went to visit with a friend of friend in another section of town. How peaceful it was. Such a joy. He lives wth his entire family in a compound with a communal area with each sibling having his or her own apt. based on size of family. We ate talked, talked, laughed, danced, sang. Finally, we got around to talking about Africans, continental and Diasporic. I explained the emotions of my last time with feet on the ground as a returned descendant in 1972 and the circle completion with the birth of my daughter in Benin with a traditional midwife with whom I could not even speak. At last my Idren couldn’t really overstand the intensity of my emotions as I began to cry and convulse in pain. Finally my friend who’s a friend of a friend explained why I felt the way that I do. I further expounded on the pain that I feel when I’m treated like just another tourist and not a return sister or brother. The elders in the group hugged me and said that they did not know. They say that many do not know the extent of our travails or the linkages or history. I told them that that is the design. I further explained the emotions felt of uncovering family to whom we had been separated from for 125+ years who are now in Cuba, nicaragua, antigua, jamaica, barbados and cayman.

That thanks to the internet and the curiosity of many of stories told by elders, old passports and identity or working cards we are slowly  bringing it all together. I mentioned standing by my great grandfather and great grandmother’s burial site along with many other family members in the Trowers yard in Clarendon. I mentioned my family from Cuba who came looking for my maternal grandparents with pictures. They cried too….they did not know. I told of lynchings and present day racism and our continual fight to assert who we are. I said that we need each other. I mentioned the need to process the mistrust that exists between us due to complicity wittingly or unwittingly in our forced migration West. I spoke of the power of unity that we could become with our gifts that we bring to the table. I spoke of forgiveness, reconciliation and love to create a better humanity and a return to our history as a people without tribal or ethnic wars. A lot was learned by all; I have new friends and we are on the journey to greater overstanding on when and where we enter—la luta continua—the dream of a United Africa is a must and we must continue to chant it.

Remember Joshua shook the walls of Jericho and they came tumbling down…we just have to believe and work to make it a reality.

I was invited to eat tomorrow; one of my favorite dishes—soupe Kandjie (sp). I can’t wait. off to the Gambian consulate for my visa then to lunch then to Sabar dance class….how good and pleasant it is to sit with my Idren….Jah bless and guide….

Oops I also spoke about a need to return to a humanistic birth. I spoke of souls being born with their spirit intact with no violence around but just pure love. This will be the start of a new Afreekah….love only knows love which only knows love. How simple a word; how often misused. My Moms always said the simplest and most common sense things were not as common despite their simplicity….how wise for a woman with only a 3rd grade education. I miss her so much…we didn’t have enough time together…

See you soon. Bring long sleeve sweaters, a blazer or two. It’s not cold but it does get cool. It is the winter here. The weather is nice but how I wish I’d brought more long sleeve stuff and a few blazers or jean jackets.

Makeda Kamara, Preceptor