iOS app Android app

Katie Mgongolwa
GET UPDATES FROM Katie Mgongolwa
Katie Mgongolwa is a writer and teacher living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband and her daughter. She holds a Master’s degree in English Education from Boston College and is currently working on a memoir about love, parenthood and Tanzania. You can follow her on Twitter at @MamaGrace1214 or follow her blog

Entries by Katie Mgongolwa

In America in 2015, This Is the Problem That We All Live With

(1) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 12:31 PM

Today at school, we had a lockdown drill. As the alarm sounded, and the ominous voice robotically warned, "This is a lockdown. This is a lockdown," students and teachers locked their classroom doors and found the least deadly place to hide in classrooms. Administrators roamed the halls, testing all the...

Read Post

Being a White Ally During Baltimore's Uprising

(93) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 6:32 PM

You can't escape coverage of the escalating protests in Baltimore this week. Headlines declare it, radios buzz about it, people tweet nonstop on it. The spectrum of opinions on this movement varies greatly, perhaps depending on a number of factors such as age, gender, race, geographical location and job. I...

Read Post

The Chapel Hill Shooting: Why Our Lives Depend on Closing the Global Achievement Gap

(4) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 12:45 PM

Two nights ago, a few miles down the road from my home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, three young students were shot, execution-style. The alleged shooter is a white, middle-aged man who apparently had a history of yelling at neighbors, harassing these particular tenants (who, we all know now, are...

Read Post

How to Solve the Teaching Crisis (Or at Least How to Start)

(2) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 6:02 PM

When I left my first teaching job, it took me a few years to realize why I felt a weight on my shoulders when I thought about the experience. I felt a reluctance that I couldn't name, a hesitancy to commit myself as a teacher again. I know all too...

Read Post

Welcome to the Completely Wonderful and Sometimes Crazy World of Extended Breastfeeding

(1) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 12:19 PM

Before I had a baby, I never thought twice about breastfeeding. Sure, I knew it existed, just as I knew formula existed, but I'd never spent any time thinking about either one. When I was 26, I moved to Tanzania, where, amidst a lot of culture shock, I met my...

Read Post

The Trauma That Followed My Surprise Pregnancy

(3) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 5:10 PM

A few months ago, I wrote about what it was like to discover I was 8 months pregnant while living in Tanzania. I gave birth to a healthy, incredible baby girl two weeks after we discovered I was pregnant. It was lucky, and a blessing, to have everything...

Read Post

Shame, School and Our Girls

(27) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 6:25 PM

During my second year of teaching English to eighth graders in Boston, I found myself in a strange quandary. I was preparing for a meeting with the parents of one of my students; this was more to do with the student's progress and was required by the counselor. The student,...

Read Post

Boston Strong on the Anniversary of the Marathon Bombing

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 11:47 AM

When my family moved to Newton, MA, a suburb on outskirts of Boston, back in 2005, we had no idea that our home on "the carriage lane" (a side road running parallel to the main road) on Commonwealth Avenue was the heart and soul of the Boston marathon. But sure...

Read Post

Why How I Met Your Mother Missed the Mark on Love

(13) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 11:04 PM

Tonight, How I Met Your Mother aired its series finale. After nine epic (and occasionally not-so-epic) seasons, I was excited to see how it all would end. I was also nervous. A few weeks ago, the show had a few scenes that seemed to hint that The Mother had been...

Read Post

How Teaching Prepared Me For Parenthood

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 6:21 PM

On my first day of student teaching, I showed up and discovered the teacher was not there. No one knew where she was, and the students tried to convince me to just let them leave. Later, when I recounted this to my supervisor, he laughed and said I'd experienced "baptism...

Read Post

It's Time We Loved All of Our Children

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 3:31 PM

Brown boys are not thugs. They are children.

We are living in a country that does not draw that distinction. We have repeated, recent cases where juries and law officials and citizens and judges do not value the lives of brown children. Brown, black, African-American -- however they identify, they...

Read Post

Safari Njema: How to Road Trip Through Tanzania

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 9:13 AM

When I first visited Tanzania in 2010, I brought only a carry-on suitcase and a small backpack. I was intending to be there for just three weeks.

I didn't leave until 2012.

Tanzania has a way of reeling you in. It is at once so challenging and raw, yet...

Read Post

North Carolina is No Fairy Tale -- But Will There Be a Happy Ending?

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 1:05 PM

Once upon a time, in a land called North Carolina, there was a problem. North Carolina was always an exciting land, because it was a swing state and you never knew what to expect. The people of the land had been happy, although perhaps not always wise in their choices,...

Read Post

What Valentine's Day Means When You're a Multinational Couple

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 12:09 PM

My husband and I fell in love essentially at first sight. And although we did not marry until a year and half later, we became engaged within weeks of meeting. To make things even more interesting, he was Tanzanian, I was American, and we had to decide where to live.

Read Post

What Getting a Job Feels Like Once You're a Mother

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 1:21 PM

When my daughter was born, I was unemployed in Tanzania.

At the time, I'd been a volunteer English teacher, and my husband, Frank, was a (paid) geography teacher. We were waiting for his visa, which came in the days proceeding Grace's birth, and meant I could no longer fly...

Read Post

This Is What it Feels Like to Be a Teacher in North Carolina

(12) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 4:41 PM

I am the 14 percent.

I am one of many teachers in North Carolina considering leaving the profession. I don't want to. It hurts to voice this. But we are entering a time of darkness in education in the Tar Heel state. We are forced to wonder if an administration...

Read Post

How a Surprise Pregnancy in Africa Made Us a Family

(49) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 5:20 PM

When I was 27, I discovered that I was 8 ½ months pregnant.

At the time, I lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I'd been living there for a year with my fiancé, whom I'd met when we were both teaching in a rural village. We fell in love and...

Read Post