Stories of MB Families Enrich 8th Grade’s Study of Africa

Eighth grade history students had the great fortune of visiting with several Moses Brown parents as part of their recent study of Africa.

“Our history class’ study of Africa intersects with the stories of MB families from the regions we are studying,” said teacher Jon Gold. “Learning about other people’s experiences is the great gift of Global Thinking; seeing the world through someone else’s eyes is an incredible act of perspective-broadening and empathy.”

For the students, learning that members of our MB community have biographies that overlap with the material they study in history class was eye-opening.

The first guest was Dr. Omar Siddiqi, MB Class of ‘91, parent of 8th grader Zain, and founder of Neurology Z, Zambia’s first neurology clinic. Dr. Saddiqi shared about his experiences helping bring modern healthcare to Zambia as well as living abroad, including his son Zain’s childhood in Zambia. Dr. Saddiqi’s presentation helped students understand the unique challenges and opportunities for modernizing and improving healthcare in developing nations like Zambia. He also encouraged students to look more openly at the rest of the globe.

Omar selfie with students

During a second visit, three other parents, Nina Kizekai, N’jai Jalloh, and Angela Jalloh, discussed their paths to the United States from various parts of west Africa: Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. All three shared gripping stories of escaping civil war and maintaining their own connections to their homelands even amid an era of post-colonial conflict.

For students, hearing these stories brought home the reality of the material they had just been studying in history class. Another overarching theme was encouraging students to broaden their perspectives and their understanding of Africa. “Africa is not just the land of suffering and wild animals.” said N’jai Jalloh. “Keep an open mind,” he urged, and be careful of your perceptions and what you absorb through social media.”