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Ikania Kaale’s Journey From Tanzania To Fargo

Habari Gani

I hope this article finds you excited about the looming Summer solstice!

This month I wanted to chat with a dear friend of mine who paved the way for me before I came to the FM area: Sir Ikania Kaale. In life, it is important to always recognize those that came before you who make a new home a better place for you.

Ikania is one of the people who welcomed me to Fargo as a brethren from East Africa and encouraged me to thrive in the FM area.

For those who do not know Ikania, he may appear as an introvert, but he is a social butterfly once you get to know him. He also loves spending time with his loved ones. Ikania grew up in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) but he spent a significant part of his life away from home in boarding school and the USA.

Ikania enjoys time with family and friends plus the outdoors keeping active through running and biking. What’s more, Ikania loves reading books, listening to audiobooks, traveling and meeting new people.

Next time if you see Ikania, ask him why he loves Fargo! Until we meet:
Stay Healthy!
– Cyusa

Where do you call home?

They say that home is where the heart is. Over the years there have been many places I called home. From the southern highlands of Tanzania where I went to boarding school to the beautiful coastal city in Tanzania where I grew up and where my parents, my siblings and my extended family reside with their families. The slopes of Kilimanjaro are where my family originates from. Growing up I spent most of my Christmas holidays at my grandparent’s homestead on the slopes of the Kilimanjaro. One of my earliest memories that has been etched in my brain is from the homestead. I remember brushing my teeth in the backyard while looking at the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. To date that has got to be some of the most beautiful scenery, I have ever had the privilege of experiencing, and to call that place home is the icing on the cake.

My journey in the USA started out in Hamden and New Haven, Connecticut, and eventually led me to Fargo, North Dakota, where I have lived for 19 years now. Despite the brutal winters my time in Fargo has been a great pleasure and privilege of a lifetime. I have met countless individuals who have made a lasting mark in my life. That said, where I call home is where my heart has felt the most affection which is all the aforementioned places.

The story of your passion for traveling and how did you land in Fargo?

I have always had an adventurous spirit and a passion to venture into the unknown, so much so that as a young boy my dream was to become an airline pilot. My very first solo travel adventure came when I was at the ripe age of 14 heading to my boarding school about 10 hours from home by bus. I can still see my nervous self on that day when I close my eyes. The anxiety of moving to a new place very far from home and meeting new people was both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. That same spirit of adventure ended up landing me all way from Tanzania to Fargo, North Dakota.

What are your favorite activities in Fargo during each season?

Although on paper Fargo is said to have four seasons, after the many years of living in Fargo I can speak for a lot of people. I know that Fargo has two seasons namely: “Nice” and “Nasty”. When the weather is “Nice” I like to spend as much time as I can outside. If I am not running or biking, then I am hanging out with some friends and family in the outdoors. There are bonfires, balcony impromptu get- togethers, road trips around the Midwest and camping trips just to name a few. When the weather is “Nasty” I spend a lot of time nursing my sore muscles from countless shoveling and snow pushing. I also try to make it to the ski resorts in the area despite my novice status in skiing. In recent years, prior to the pandemic, my family and I started a tradition of frequenting family-friendly concerts in the area, mostly Christian music concerts. We enjoy them very much and we are looking forward to the post-pandemic time when we can go back to attending concerts again.

Why should people care about life outside the Midwest?

As a young boy, it was very intriguing to see how frequently my dad watched and listened to the international news. In fact, sometimes it was kind of annoying cause he would interrupt my scheduled Tuesday evening broadcasting of MTV Rap Music Videos. Nowadays my kids get to enjoy listening to the news with me whenever they jump into my car to go places. With the technological advancements today, information is literally at our fingertips.

We should all be very grateful because there was a time people had to go the extra mile to get updated on world issues and current affairs. All people from all walks of life are more the same than they are different. By learning other people’s experiences, we all learn to appreciate what we already have and strive to improve what needs to be improved in our communities and the communities outside ours.

What are clichés and misconceptions of the African continent or Tanzania do you hear often? How do you debunk them?

The biggest misconception of the African continent that I have heard quite a bit is that of war, hunger, diseases and deaths. Unfortunately, most of the news from Africa that makes the news cycles in the international news media is that of war, hunger, diseases and deaths. Do not get me wrong, there are some war-torn countries and areas in Africa that are battle-scarred with ruin, hunger, diseases and deaths. But not all places are like that. Growing up in Tanzania, I was fortunate not to experience any wars. In fact, I grew up in a busy and bustling city of about 6 million people. For the most part life over there is no different from life in any big city.

What do you like about having a family in the FM area? What is your favorite family activity in the FM area?

The FM area is very family-friendly. No matter where you go you are more likely to meet a familiar friendly smile. The community offers a lot of activities for kids most of which are through Fargo Parks and Recreation. It is amazing for us parents to see the kids make connections and grow together through all the activities they go to. One of our favorite family activities is to go watch my son play in a rock band at concerts held by Elevate Rock School twice a year. We also enjoy watching the kids competing in soccer games through TriCity United, Baseball through Fargo Parks, go jump around at the Sky Zone and sledding on many mini hills around town that also double as dikes keeping the Red River in check during the flood season.

What is your vision 2030? Where will you be and why?

The ultimate dream is to eventually make my way back to Dar es Salaam where it all began. The timeline is a little fuzzy at the moment, but the dream is still alive.

Alexandre Cyusa

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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