How will you impact Africa in the next 20 years ?


Since I arrived in Nairobi (Kenya, Africa)  in August of 2011 it has been a great journey. One of my greatest adventures has been the one with my younger sister.

I am finally getting a chance to see and watch her grow into an incredible woman. Part and parcel of being an older sister is that you often have to sit and listen to her ramblings (when she decides she wants to talk); my father says I have some what of a positive influence on her *beams*. One of those things she has been going on and on about is attending the African Leadership Academy in South Africa for her A levels in 2012 on a full scholarship. I had not heard of ALA before then, now I can tell you I am fully educated (I guess you learn from younger people too).

In the midst of her application, I have sat with her to fill in forms, to learn more about the school and to convince our parents that it will be a great stepping stone for her before she attends either Witwatersand or UTC for her university degree and then go on to Colombia for her law degree. As you can see she is a determined one and seems to have everything in play. Far from me the idea of crushing her dreams, but rather, I look to allow her to dream until they become true.

So you can imagine my pride as an older sister when 3 weeks ago, she got the letter announcing that she was a finalist in the ALA application. It is a 2 round application process. The finalist weekend is organised here in Nairobi, as a 2 day event where they meet the coordinators, do tests and prove their skills as leaders of tomorrow.

This morning I was on the verge of tears as i saw her off . Tears and emotional for 2 reasons, one being that she was one step closer to her dreams and the other being that May 5th is always a whirlwind for me. Today will mark 5 years since my older brother and lawyer PC passed on.

I like to think that it is some sort of cosmic coincidence that today is the day she goes in for that interview and that as always he will be shinning down on her with Peace and Calm as she challenges all the other finalists to the top.

I would like to share with you something she wrote for her application (hoping that she doesn’t mind) – I think it might give you insight into the brilliant 15 year old that she is. As she prepares for her O level examinations, I can only wish success!

When asked how she will impact Africa in the next 20 years, she had this to say:  In twenty years’time, I want to show people the real Africa. Right now it is hidden behind a veneer of poverty, hunger and death. It is hidden under corruption and greed. I don’t want to give hand-outs. I’d rather teach the men how to fish and not just give them fish.

I will do this by investing in a firm that will help in the development of Africa, starting with my country Cameroon. Building roads, houses, 5 star hotels and ensuring it is a perfect tourist attraction. In the long run it will enable for job openings for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. It will also bring back Africans to their homes. I believe that there is no use getting a degree in a European or American nation and not being able to put it to use because you cannot find a job there. So my goal will be to create jobs and provide a better lifestyle for African’s

When asked to write what would appear on page 217 of her biography had she written it today, she had this to say: “As I sat on the porch, on the 5th of May 2012, exactly 5 years after his death, I saw a cobweb unwind and as it did so did my thoughts. I looked back to the times when he would carry me in the garden and we would laugh and dance around with no care in the world. Yes, he had been the one, the one to motivate my dreams of becoming a lawyer and on this very day I was graduating from high school and I would pursue that dream.

Now I know I am just 15 years old but there is so much I have accomplished and so much I am yet to. The real definition of me is that I am far from what I once was, but not yet what I want to be…

I stand up and head back into the house and this path in my mind signifies the path to my future, I see myself a law graduate in a prestigious school and coming back to Africa to better my continent and my country. I want to be able to say that I was able to emulate two of my role models Pierre-Christian Ouandji and Nelson Mandela and leave something to be remembered.”

I don’t think I need to convince you any further, my father said to me last night; “Nina, this girl is going to be a better writer than you are. Watch out” I certainly have to believe him (reluctantly). *smile*

As has been tradition in our family for years now, we have always decided to celebrate life and celebrate the life of PC; so that his efforts and passions (justice, education & basketball) are never in vain. This year will mark in my hopes and dreams the launch of the PCO Foundation; that seeks to help young kids receive an education in Kenya and Cameroon.

So as you have a thought and prayer for our family today ; I invite you to pray and think of Lydia as well.