Josephine Baker

It is 5 am and left Nairobi, Kenya, about 10 hours ago and to satisfy my nicotine craving I stand outside the departure of Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting to check in on my next flight to Durham, North Carolina.

The air is cool, like trained soldiers the taxis stop at the curb to let out passengers.
I can hear a bus stop nearby. It talks! Letting me know the schedule and the direction of its next bus. I am here for a few cigarettes, maybe next time I will take a ride.

A black taxi stops and let out a white couple and their children a girl and a boy of about 8 and 13 years old.
A little girl of about 5, with oriental features, bounces out of the vehicle too. The mother unfolds a carriage and scoop up the last child from inside the taxi, a black baby not older than 2 and a contrast to the rest of the family.

The husband pays the cab driver.  The wife sees me and smiles, her eyes tell me “we can all bond”, the baby stares my direction with a “mommy, that man resembles me” look. She proceeds pushing the carriage, husband, luggage and other children in tow, inside the terminal.

I have seen many white singles, couples or families in Nairobi with adopted black children. Their sight from the local population provokes either love or hate reactions.
I admire such people, blindly going against culture, stereotype, deciding to be human, caring, loving and worldly. 

It is the fad among stars to adopt children of various ethnicities, a chic and trendy thing to do.  That’s the way we look at it, forgetting the role played by the heart.

Paris in the 30’s belonged to Josephine Baker, the black American musical artist who gained famed, singing and dancing nude, in the famous entertaining places of the capital.  Also, from France, she heavily got involved in the US civil rights movements of the 50’s.  She had two loves, as she sung, her country and Paris

Josephine Baker and her children

Josephine Baker’s stories are of rags to riches, abuse to love, unknown to fame.  Her grandparents were free slaves; life took her to France and, herself childless, adopted 12 children of eclectic races and origins.
Her rainbow tribe as she called her family was from France, Korea, Japan, Columbia, Finland, Israel, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Venezuela. She heart for her children, even when her fortune dwindled down.

A feeling within me lingers, an uncomfortable feeling that our world is not better.  I am on my way to America and wonder if the moral white majority would leave unnoticed or create a row about a black childless couple adopting a white child.

I know that some Africans have cried out loud to the “injustice” of taking an African child from its roots.
I do not seem or may not want to understand. I cannot see the morality when a child’s priority is a home.

I have a friend in Kenya. He is Swiss, white like snow, and has a mentally challenged son black as charcoal.  His son calls him daddy and daddy refers to him as “my son”.

That’s divine. 




  1. Very sweet way of observing. One day I too will write as well as you do. Brilliant little story.

  2. Kiki, I agree with you. I also like how Patrick-Bernard writes. He has one of the finest way of telling a story. The reader is transfixed and taken up into the scene to become part of it, where he/she is able to listen,smell, feel ,touch and observe every detail of what is taking place.
    There is another blogger on the web, that writes well also. The author of A Black girl on Mars, also has a knack for story telling.

    I believe story tellers are the elites of writers.

    Patrick Bernard:
    I don’t get it when people say that whites are not supposed to adopt black children and vice versa. One of the easiet thing that comes natural to most people ,especially women is to love children. It is much better for an orphan child to have adoptive parents than none at all.
    I have seen Catholic nuns , some of foreign nationalities, raising black and mestizo orphan children with all the care and love.
    During the Christmas holiday, I used to love observing how the nuns would go shopping for the orphan children they were entrusted to take care of in the convent.
    They often would become very aggressive when searching for bargains and would knock anyone over who stands in their way . Folks have gotten so used to seeing them running like crazy on pure maternal love that they would just get out of their way.
    Children only need a stable home with lots of love and nothing else more.


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