It kills me everyday that I took my studies for a joke and swam with the flow. I look back everyday regretting my choices of not studying hard for good grades. Come to think of it, “A dreamer with average grades”! I must be crazy to aim for a scholarship. Worse still, being an arts-inclined dreamer, I still had to try in order to be at peace with myself.
I visited Open Dreams, sat for a class and saw my peers speak with great confidence and no atom of fear. This made me anxious because I always let my introvert nature get the best of me when it comes to self-expression in public. Looking at Open Dreams, I didn’t meet up with the criteria for a scholar; my grades were not the best. Nevertheless, I had to try. I studied to take the TOEFL for some weeks. When it pricked me that I wasn’t ready enough, there was no way I would get a scholarship. I left Open Dreams with a “I WILL BE BACK. BE READY FOR ME” James Bond type of feeling, lol, taking away with me to the University of Bamenda were the opportunities I saw - not only scholarships but international exchanges, conferences and trainings to take part in to build self-development and attain skills for community development.
At Open Dreams, I was made to see the dreams. Some of the most priced characteristics were being selfless, highly motivated, the desire to give back to the community, investing that which you have gained from the opportunities in others who are financially wanting as you were. I started volunteering with organizations. I will be getting my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze medal this month, possessing a great deal of experience in grassroots development. I am the Public Relations Officer of a film production house in Bamenda. In high school, I studied theatre-acting and filmmaking. I realized my talents which I explored. I write films to create awareness on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I am an embodiment of talents. Setting priorities right helped me manage them.
A great woman once said, “Only few women possess the ability to multitask successfully and this defines their greatness”. Joggling amongst education, volunteerism and extra-curricular activities hasn’t been easy. We all know how jealous education is; ignore her once and you get GOT. Using my experience, I started applying for international opportunities. Trust me, you will get many rejection emails. At first this will frustrate you, but you will find success in what frustrates you the most!
Early one morning while meditating, I heard a notification and thought it was a whatsapp notification. But it was an email. Oh! What’s the worst that can happen? Boom there it reads;
Congratulations on your acceptance to the Young African Thinkers Convention 2018 ! We are excited to have you on the YATC team. The convention will be taking place from August 15th-18th at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ASHENGO events will be in contact with more information concerning logistics.
Lotty Abasaba, YAT Team
What! Ok, maybe it’s a dream. Oh! But then after all, I am a dreamer. I smiled. Ok, so finally, I was going to enter a plane at the age of 19! This was a miracle. There, I was at the Douala International Airport, off for Addis Ababa. Ethiopia, as one of the three participants selected for the Young Africa Thinkers Convention on airfare scholarship! We got to Addis safely and received the warmest reception ever. Sometimes, I still think Ethiopians are not Africans. The 2018 edition was aimed at brainstorming, creatively fostering the African Union 2063 Agenda for Africa’s development. The most impressive lecture I got was “HAVING A DIGITAL MENTAL SHIFT” as an African. The world is progressing. We don’t want to get left behind. As the popular saying goes, “knowledge is power”. Africa fails to realize and explore the wonders of the digital media. We had a plenary session in the NELSON MANDELA PLENARY HALL, brainstorming on how best to creatively exploit Africa’s Resources, and embrace identity.
Meeting people from all over Africa, Ghana, Lesotho, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Zambia, Gambia, Nigeria, and Ethiopia amazingly changed my mindset. I was open to this beautiful diversity and joined the others in our quest for a better Africa. This enhanced my interpersonal and leadership skills so much, and I had to share from my experience but the time was so little.
I returned home realizing Kenya was far more advanced in the technological world. Where was Cameroon on the map? Is Cameroon going backward or forward? If you scan through the internet where the opportunities lie, you will realize that very few international organization have chosen Cameroon as a host country for any youth-building initiatives as compared to Kenya. Is it bad diplomacy? How often do others also come to Cameroon for an international training, conference and exchange? The one great person they know in Cameroon is Eto’o Fils (Cameroonian Footballer), lol.
Well, Rome was not built in one day. It is important to realize that the youth is the critical agent to nation building. We must embrace the responsibility, get equipped with the right skills and get a proper education. Today my dream is the Chevening Scholarship; yes, an achievable dream.
THE AFRICA I ENVISION!
I open my eyes each day dreaming of a reality, they say, only a whiteman achieves. But then, I think of the possibilities of a wealthily-minded but physically poor African to achieve this same reality. Growing up, we are made to see the chances of believing we can achieve the unimaginable as an African slim to none. The new African generation I envision will believe and embrace her identity and be a more responsible generation groomed to foster sustainable change through digital media literacy, the key to self-development in the most inadequate situations.
I leave this note to my fellow dreamers, “When opportunity meets preparation success in inevitable”
Until next time, with love
Afungfege Evita. Founder, SHE-DIGITAL