My Life // Babacar Diallo

I moved to the United States from Africa in 2008 when I was 12 years old from Senegal, Africa. Since then I have been living in Oakland, Ca and my life has been going pretty well. I had the privilege to learn English which is my third language after Wolof (native language) and French. I also adapted myself to the Californian’s life mostly the Oakland’s life. I remember back in middle school when I first moved to the U.S., my friends from school used to call me African’s boy which separated me from the Oakland people (Oaklanders) and there was also the language. But now people Oakland boy because I represented Oakland all the time with the sport teams such as the Warriors (NBA) and the Raiders (NFL). Even my style is the Oakland’s style and the music I listened. Sometimes I feel like I am from Oakland or more so I was born in Oakland because the city helped me grown to be a man I am today. But I am not from Oakland, I am from Senegal.

I was born and raised in a town called Thies, the third largest city in Senegal. I was raised by my grandmother paternal and I was fortunate enough to have to live the life I did back in Senegal. I lived in a high class neighbor, and lived the life of many high class African kids. I played soccer in the streets with boots when most of my friends played barefoot, attended private school when most of them attended Koranic schools and consumed good food. My culture rely on rice which is part of the traditional dish from Senegal in the regular basis in the average Senegalese family. When it came down to me, I was fortunate to eat other food rather than rice every day. I was a carnivore and meat was my favor food.

America, chicken has a large variety that I never though about or even tasted such as chicken nugget, chicken tender and much more. But I had the chance to try all of them on my first week in America, and believe me they all delicious. I am not even talking about the beef steak or cheep that I enjoy eating as well. My carnivore nature started way back before I moved here. You could never catch me eating salad or most type of vegetables because they do not I moved in the United States of Africa in 2008 when I was 12 years old from Senegal, Africa. Since then I have been living in Oakland, Ca and my life has been going pretty well. I had the privilege to learn English which is my third language after Wolof (native language) and French. I also adapted myself to the Californian’s life mostly the Oakland’s life. I remember back in middle school when I first moved to the U.S., my friends from school used to call me African’s boy which separated me from the Oakland people (Oaklanders) and there was also the language. But now people Oakland boy because I represented Oakland all the time with the sport teams such as the Warriors (NBA) and the Raiders (NFL). Even my style is the Oakland’s style and the music I listened. Sometimes I feel like I am from Oakland or more so I was born in Oakland because the city helped me grown to be a man I am today. But I am not from Oakland, I am from Senegal.

I was born and raised in a town called Thies, the third largest city in Senegal. I was raised by my grandmother paternal and I was fortunate enough to have to live the life I did back in Senegal. I lived in a high class neighbor, and lived the life of many high class African kids. I played soccer in the streets with boots when most of my friends played barefoot, attended private school when most of them attended Koranic schools and consumed good food. My culture rely on rice which is part of the traditional dish from Senegal in the regular basis in the average Senegalese family. When it came down to me, I was fortunate to eat other food rather than rice every day. I was a carnivore and meat was my favor food. taste nothing like my meat. Like my cousin used to say back in Senegal, “herbs are for the animals in the farms, therefore, I will never eat salad and most vegetable.” One might argue that she said that because our family was fortunate enough to afford. I always stand behind this statement, and it made pure sense to me as it did to her.

The first time I heard vegetarian, it did not mean nothing to me because I did not know English at that tim. Therefore, it did not bother me at all and I did not ask what it is but when I saw some of my friends were not eating meat and they kept saying, “I am a vegetarian”. I was shocked when I first saw my friends rejecting meat like it was some dog food. In my mind I was like if it was in Africa, you would witness kids jumping from left to right like karate kids for that meat. Then I though they were just some spoilled kids who wanted attentions, but they kept repeating the same phrase, “I am a vegetarian”. I came to a conclusion that vegetarian was a big thing and it must be related to their religion without asking people. When I finally asked and knew what vegetarian is, I was so lost because in my mind there was no way that some body choose to eat plants rather than meat. Things changed when I started  attending college.

When I stepped a foot to my first my Critical Thinking Writing (CTW) in Santa Clara University, I did not know what to expect and what this class is going to be. Truth is I never liked English classes with its writing and reading, do not even get me started with essays. My worst nightmare is English classes. After my first class of the year, I wanted to dropped CTW but sadly it was a core class. You couldn’t imagined how angry I was after I heard that I need to take CTW for two quarters as a requirement. But I was so fortunate to have a good professor, Nick Leither, who taught this class about food, culture and self. Even though I did not like English classes, I liked the topics. In this class the topic food meant vegetarianism. I had prepared myself to learn about what being vegetarian really means but it was clear in my head that I will not be a vegetarian or eat salad or any kind of herbs by the end of the year. By looking back to CTW 1 and 2, I learned a lot about being a vegetarian and what it means to people. I must admitted that now I am one of the biggest consumer of salad or any type of herbs. It is part of my diet but I am not a vegetarian. Meat is part of my lifestyle and as an athlete I need my protein from meat in daily basis.

When we started reading a book called Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I started to think about diet and how it is heavily affected by eating meat. The book denounced the violence in the factory farms that animals undergo every day to satisfy the greedy consumers included myself. I denied the words of the book and refused to believe the horrible facts of the factory farming like this quote “the Animals are bled, skinned, and dismembered while conscious. It happens all the time, and the industry and the government know it. Several plants cited for bleeding or skinning or dismembering live animals have defended their actions as common in the industry and asked, perhaps rightly, why they were being singled out.” (Foer 230).I used to see animals (chickens, cheeps, beef…) getting slaughter mostly in a Muslim holidays which a sacrifice of a animal. I must said that we killed animals in a nicer way I would say but not like what the book said from the factory farms. The system of the factory farms is just wrong, I believe that animals should never go through this painful acts before being slaughtered. Their whole life is in the paint with the antibiotics that the farmers give them so they can grow a fast rate rather than let them grow at their normal pace. This do not hurt the animals only but us the consumers as well because most of the antibiotics leave diseases on the meat and we consume them without knowing.

As I watched Food Inc, I saw a brave farmer named Carole Morison (Purdue Grower) who believed that the animals are being tortured and she denounced companies responsible for this acts unlike other farms who refused to comment on their farms because they are scared on what the companies would do to them.  Even though Carole owned a chicken farm, she believed that it is not farming but just a mass production like assembling line and a factory. She had no choice but to continue her farming since she was under contract with a company and she had to watch the violence of the chicken from her own farm. This movie opened my eyes on the meat that I consume every day and I feel like I give strength every day to the companies that control the factory farms that used violence toward its animals. One of the biggest upsetting fact that I learned from my research was the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) that failed to do its job concerning about my health and the health of the American people. As the organization failed on controlling farms over the antibiotics used on animals, scared me on the meats that are located on the supermarket.

Why should the consumers be worried? We should be worried because the antibiotics used in factory farms can easily travel from our food we consumer to us.

The last book I read in CTW was called Columbine by Dave Cullen, this book open my eyes on the violence that is committed by young kids. Even though violence reign around my city Oakland, I never read something like Columbine. The violence that happened in the book, can be related to the violence in the factory farms since they both mass murder and blame games.

I learned lots of things in this CTW class that gave me the opportunity to think about my actions concerning my life, health and diet. As a California resident, I believe that Californians are exposed to many cheap food that can destroy our diet and health. We do not care about the consequences as long as we can afford it and refill our empty stomachs. This class helped me understand that eating meat every day is not good for my health and also the animals are being violently raised to satisfy us. Vegetarian is sometime the way to go but I am still far from being a vegetarian. Thanks to this class, I have learned that there is room to grow in the future and change to be made in our planet.

Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.

Duggar, Celia. “Overfarming African Land Is Worsening Hunger Crisis.” NY Times. N.p., 31 Mar. 2006. Web. 09 June 2015.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.

Reichl, Ruth. “The F.D.A.’s Blatant Failure on Food.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 July 2014. Web. 9 June 2015.

“TheTruth About Your Food with FOOD, INC. Filmmaker Robert Kenner.”YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 9 June 2015.

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