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Staff Profile: Kay

Taylor Dibbert

Kay works in the Wellness Department. She was born in the Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s most populous city and the erstwhile capital. Now she lives on Maple Avenue in Takoma Park.

She speaks Hindi, Spanish, Swahili, and Arabic in addition to English.

This is her sixth year working at the Co-op. She moved from Tanzania to the U.S. in March 2007.

Kay used to live in Hyattsville and was also attending a trade school for nursing. However, she’s now focusing on communications. Kay is currently attending Montgomery County Community College on a part-time basis. She’s working towards an associate degree and hopes to finish in May 2021. After that, she plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in College Park and go for a bachelor’s degree.

She used to be cashier at Whole Foods in Silver Spring as well but stopped doing that last July. Her current schedule allows her to spend more time with family and friends. “I get more time to do other things,” she says.

For Kay, the best part about working at the Co-op is “the people” and “the community of Takoma Park.” Her co-workers are “so diverse” and Kay enjoys speaking various languages with her colleagues. The culture at the Co-op is “very friendly,” she tells me.

In terms of food, Kay likes quinoa salad “in general because it’s very healthy.”

Regarding local spots to eat, she enjoys dining at Kin Da; her favorite dish is fried rice with shrimp. She also likes Busboys and Poets; there she’ll usually grab Harira Soup (from Morocco)  and Nachos with blue corn chips.

For a Co-op snack, she likes the pita bread. She’s also happy to eat tuna salad.

When thinking more broadly about the Takoma Park area, Kay reiterates that she likes “the community and the people because Takoma Park embraces many cultures from different parts of the world.”

“I lived in so many places [in Prince George’s County] before I got to Takoma Park.” (She arrived in 2013.)

“I read a lot when I have time,” she says. She likes to read books about yoga; she’s also a fan of political thrillers. “Patriot Games” by Tom Clancy is one of her favorite books. “I like suspense.”

She likes African writers like Eric Shigongo and Elvis Musiba too. The best time for her to read is at night before she goes to bed.

And Kay likes Netflix. She’s current watching a family drama called “My Pride.” She tells me that it’s “the best on Arabic culture.”

Kay is learning Turkish. Watching Netflix shows in Turkish is helping her improve her language skills, including her vocabulary. She likes watching shows and films in other languages for similar reasons. “You should watch a lot of Turkish shows on Netflix,” she excitedly tells me.

For her fantasy dinner party, she’d invite Jennifer Aniston. Leo DiCaprio would also be included because “he’s relatable.” Will Smith would get an invite because he’s funny. Lastly, she would like to have Tiraji P. Henson, another successful actress who was actually born and raised in the D.C. area.

In the future Kay plans to travel to Tanzania, Switzerland and Italy. She misses Tanzania, especially her mom (with whom she speaks daily) and her son, Rashid, who attends boarding school there. She talks about both of them with affection and enthusiasm.