My father tells the story of how at the tender age of 11, he left his widowed mother in a small village in East Africa to go into town in search of a job.

He had never gone to school, had no money, and to many he was just another destitute child with no future. At the time, all my father knew was that he had to find some money to buy his mother food.

My father, a strong ambitious African man with the most amazing laugh you will ever hear, looks at nothing in particular when he tells this story and adds, “I had no idea what was going to happen. I had no plan – I didn’t even know if anyone would give me a job but I knew that it was the right thing to do. I knew that I did not belong at home in the village.”

Last Friday, I quit my job because I didn’t belong there.

Joan Erakit, Okay Africa, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | Dan Worku

Joan Erakit, Okay Africa, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Joan Erakit, Okay Africa, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


Joan Erakit is a Kenyan-Ugandan born writer based in New York City. Her work has been published by Cool Hunting, The Huffington Post, The World Post, and Marie Claire among others. She is currently shopping her first book, Meet Me In The Village, a collection of non-fiction short stories about reproductive health and family planning. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram or her website: joanerakit.com (Joan Erakit).


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.