Both summers I’ve been in EDD (Enfants de Dieu, an organization which helps Street Kids in Rwanda) I saw this common pattern of how kids were obsessed about going to the US. It’s a great goal, but it’s a bit limiting. The world is changing, Africa is changing, and there are many countries where there are wonderful things happening. Many of them are much closer home, that’s why it is very important to widen our scope and our minds.
We always want to learn more, but we need to start with ourselves, with our community, our city and our country. When you know yourself better, when you are proud of yourself and the people you care about. You are prepared to engage with the rest of the world in a much more meaningful way and start building relationships, not in unfairly, but equal terms.
We never see all the engineers, doctors or many of the common hardworking people when it comes to portray Africa, specially sub-saharan Africa in the media.
The truth is that today Africa is a place of hope. It is the youngest continent, the one which is growing, and will grow the most in the near future and the one were probably there will be the greatest amount of opportunities.
Besides there have been great African leaders not only in sports (Abebe Bikila, first Olympic medal running a marathon with no shoes), but also in astronomy (Thede Medupe, an astrophysicist who created Astronomy Africa), Medicine (Akilu Lemma, discovered how to prevent bilharzia, after malaria one of the most dangerous diseases in tropical countries) environment (Wangari Maathai, who protected millions of acres of forest, inspired rural women to plant trees and reversed a catastrophic trend of deforestation) and politics (Nelson Mandela, took a giant step in combating racism and empowered millions of South Africans of all races to vote in the first fully democratic elections in South Africa in 1994) which people all around the world still look up to.
As I started sharing these facts with with the kids in my last visit to Rwanda. They taught me a lot through their questions and their reactions to the different topics I presented to them. I wanted to find out more, they pushed me to learn more.
Today it’s not me presenting country cards to them, but them to me. Can't wait to learn more things about Rwanda, Africa and Les Enfants de Dieu.