On May 8th, 2010, I married the love of my life, Ilea Dorsey. Naturally the assumption is that we would change her last name to mine, Miller. However, it’s a rare occasion that we roll with the status quo. When we first started talking about marriage, I tossed out the idea of changing both of our last names when we got married. And Ilea was totally open to it (because she’s the coolest).
We know it sounds crazy, but…does it really? Why not? We can change our name if we want to. And we can make it something that reflects who we are, how we live our lives, what we believe in; something we will pass down to our children with pride.
We spoke to my parents about the concept as soon as we started entertaining the idea for real. My father’s words were “I certainly hope we leave a bigger legacy behind us than our last name (Miller). We believe in what you’re doing and you have our complete support.” I don’t think I could have wished for a better reply than that.
We’ve been researching names for a year now. From the beginning I was committed to a Swahili name because I love the culture and have followed it since I was a child. So I enlisted my good friend Bachu Anwar, a Swahili Rasta, born in Kenya. He’s a close friend and knows me well. His mother is an iconic Swahili woman and a historian of their culture. They agreed to walk us through the naming process.
Many friends have shared their thoughts on what the name should represent. Our good friend Greg Skye (Skye Chiropractic) said, “It should be something that speaks to you spreading light into other’s lives”. We put a lot of value on Dr. Skye’s intuition, so we took that to heart.
After much debate, a lot of thought and a lot of prayer, we have come to a conclusion. Starting January 1st, we will be known as Jared & Ilea Angaza.
verb | Swahili origin
1 enlighten, instruct, throw light on [figurative]
2 shine, illuminate, be the light, give light, irradiate
It is beautiful, exotic and a solid reflection of our ethos. We are honored to take on this name and culture. In February we will travel to Kampala, Uganda to experience the naming ceremony, conducted by Bachu and his mother. This is truly an honor. We are in the midst of filing all of the legal work in the US and hope to have all of our documents (Social Security, Passports, License, IRS, etc.) switched over within the next six months.
Yep, it’s a little crazy and out of the norm, but that’s par for the course for us. We’re ready to start our family, with a name we have deliberately chosen, as a proclamation of who we are.
Much love and Many Blessings,
Jared & Ilea Angaza
This is so freakin’ cool!!! I just ran across the Keza website and later this blog. I have never heard of any couple doing this before and I think it is so incredibly beautiful! I’m getting ready to email you with a formal introduction but just didn’t want to leave this without acknowledging this truly meaningful story. Congratulations and thanks for sharing!
[…] they chose Angaza – Swahili for enlighten and illuminate. You can read the whole story here, but it represents them […]
Thanks so much Nina!
Beautifully written. Africa stole my heart two years ago and ever since I’ve longed to go back. I love the idea of a couple banding together to forge a new path based on their deep desire to live for change and make an impact. Inspiring and a fantastic idea.