Senior M’bayi Aben still embraces her African culture after multiple moves


Photo By: Kiela Ramos

Moving from school to school can be difficult. Moving from city to city may be even worse. For Senior Mbayi Aben it was unexplainable having to go through both. Moving states over three times in under a three year period, Aben has had to adjust multiple times to a new life.

Aben was originally born in Boston after her parents fled the West African country of Cameroon to give her a better life.

Aben was given an unique name which means, “our mother” or “mother of all” in Batibul. Her name has made somewhat of a big transition on her life growing up.

With her parents being from West Africa, moving to America proved to be tough as she tried to take use it all.

“Every place that I have lived, the society was different. It was hard for me to adjust,” Aben said.

Abden found herself moving very frequently from places such as Gurwitt, Georgia and Alabama, all within very short periods of time.

“Georgia was a little more civilized, Aben said. “However Alabama was an entirely different environment, filled with racism and poverty.”

After living in Alabama for just a year, she found herself moving yet again. However, this finally trip to Texas would change her life for the better.

“[In Texas] there is a mix of all races and people here. It’s more relatable and more knowledgeable for the fact that they’re from all over the state,” Aben said.

When Aben was a sophomore, she was involved in a car accident, fracturing her neck. She believed that she was alive because of God. From that experience, she took that as a wakeup call that she could leave this Earth at any moment in time.

“I believe that God saved my life and due to that I am here for a particular reason and my destiny is very powerful,” Aben said.

Being African has taken a toll on her emotionally. She believes that when people think of Africans, they have this stereotype in their mind of “poor” or “worthless,” and there is so much more to it than that.

“It makes me sad because it shows the ignorance upon our generation,” Aben said.

For Aben, being African means power, strength and to never give in. She takes pride in her culture, solely due to the fact that she knows where she comes from.

IMG_1983“It humbles me to know everything that my grandparents fought for, a better life for the generation to come,” Aben said.

For Aben, a big part of her life of being African is taking pride in her culture and learning more about where she came from. From the music that runs deep throughout her veins to the food that is placed on her dining room table, Aben will always love where she comes from.

“I will continue to take pride in my culture because I know what runs through my blood,” Aben concluded.