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Story Time With Baba Kwasi

Written By: Baba Kwasi, Dec. 2005

The seven principles of Kwanzaa gives basic values that everyone must have in order to achieve a better way of life.  Understanding these principles is as easy as baking a cake.
One Day near the beginning of the school year, a group of 7th graders from a small school in Dallas, Texas decided that they were going to set a goal on going to the Schomburg Center in New York, before the end of the school year.

UMOJA (Unity) It was a small class of twenty students, eight boys and twelve girls.  They had a meeting and selected seven students to create a plan of action on how they could achieve the goal of going to New York before the end of the school year.  Everyone knew they had to work as a team if they were going to succeed.
KUJICHAGULIA (self-determination) The seven member action team came up with the name Project Harambe, a Swahili word which means coming together as one.  Everyone loved the name and was determined to do what they could to succeed. Now they needed a plan to raise money to pay for the trip.
UJIMA (collective work and responsibility) Kiran who was picked to be president of the Project Harambe team came up with the idea of making and selling cakes.  Everyone loved the idea but the question remained how this was going to be done.  Everyone was quiet as they collectively tried to come up with a way to make cakes and start a cake sale. 
Sani shouted out "lets hold everyone responsible for providing everything we need to make, bake and sell the cakes!"  Everyone agreed.  Neal said "we grow wheat on my fathers farm, so I can provide the flower."  Malcolm said "our farm has lots of cows so I can provide the milk and butter."  Jomo said "our family farm has lots of vanilla beans so I can provide the flavoring!"  Zuri, Komari and Kiah said at the same time "we got chicken's and can provide the eggs."  Dezirae and Sani said "we have the biggest sugar cane field in town and can provide the sugar."  Marco said we could use the big ovens at my mother's restaurant after school and she will show us how to make and bake the cakes. Everyone jumped for joy and decided to meet the next day after school at Marco's mothers restaurant and bring their ingredients.
UJAMAA (cooperative economics) The next day everyone that was assigned a task arrived at the restaurant and placed their ingredients on the big table in the kitchen as Marco's mom instructed them on making the cakes.  Soon after, the rest of the class arrived to see how things were going.  After a few hours passed, they had twenty big fluffy cakes.  The class jumped for joy while Kiran remained quiet.  What's wrong Kiran? Marco asked. 
How are we going to sell these cakes? Their too big.  Kenjar walked towards the table and said, "we can cut each cake into ten pieces and sell each slice for $1.00 each.  If we bake twenty cakes twice a week, we can earn $400 dollars a week. With twenty weeks before school ends I figure we can earn $8,000 dollars and have enough money for the trip and pay Marco's mom for the use of her restaurant.
Everyone jumped for joy but Kiran was still quit.  Now what's wrong Kiran?  Well if we're busy baking cakes, who will sell them?  The rest of the class shouted "we'll sell the cakes during lunch brake and give the money to Kenjar being that he's so good with math".  Everyone shouted Harambe!
KUUMBA (creativity) Now that the cakes were baked and sliced they had to figure out a way to package and carry all those slices of cake.  Sani was looking out the window at the neighborhood grocery store and said, "I have an idea",  let's go to the grocery store next door and ask  the manager for their old boxes and see if they would donate plastic rap for our project. 
Sani went next door and talked with the store manager.  She returned with a big smile, plenty of boxes and a big roll of plastic rap.  The rest of the students shouted "we can rap and box while you guys focus on the baking the cakes.

(purpose) For the next twenty weeks everyone work hard preparing ingredients, baking and selling cakes.  It was clear they had a purpose.
IMANI (faith) It was wonderful to see everyone working together.  They believed in each other and had no doubts about reaching their goal of going to the Schomburg Center in New York.


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Story Time With Baba Kwasi