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  • ICCN Co-Directors

Family of Origin

Emerite Masala Kiloba FHM

The first time I had a look on the ICN Program, it sounded quiet interesting for

me, however this particular topic on the Family of Origin aroused a sense of

curiosity and question: “Learning about my African family of origin in America

which has a different way of family living?” Luckily, (fortunately) for me I did not

conclude that it will be beneficial only to some people. Because the reality

proved that, the workshop was appropriate to every one coming from any part of

the world; in the fact that each of us could place himself / herself either in Socio-centric or Ego-centric family. It was an opportunity for me as an African, being inAmerica, living with my sisters from different part of the world, to learn the otherway of family living. And I feel an invitation to be open to different interpretation of things ; for instance the sense of power, the meaning of silence, etc. are not the same in socio-centric and in Ego-centric family.

The aspect of extended family in Socio-Centric family, is very important and is

called in African Culture “UBUNTU” which encompasses the interdependence of

humans on another and the acknowledgment of one's responsibility to their fellow humans and the world around them. It is a philosophy that supports collectivism over individualism. That is why a child is not only his parents’ child, but also the whole extended family ‘child. And he may be taken care of, trained, and be

punished by anybody. The person I am today and what I bring in the community

was shaped not only by my loving parents but also by my tender aunty and my

autocratic uncle. All that influence my relationship with others. It was very interesting to listen to one another, for each of us had a sacred story to tell. We did not have perfect families, because they do not exist, our parents did what they could. May God bless them.

Coincidently, we ended our workshop on the All Souls Day. The Dominican

Sisters prepared a good prayer and a place where we put leaves under the

Cross of Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Those leaves represented all

our beloved ones who have gone before us. It was an opportunity for us to thank our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins who marked our lives by their examples. May their souls rest in peace.

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