I cannot recount my World Pulse Journey without recounting how I found myself here. It was on a January 2016 morning when I logged into Facebook to discover that a sister in whom I am well pleased, who is also a World Pulser and whom we share a passion for good food and creative writing, Precious Meshi Nkeih had sent me a link to register for the Voices of The Future Digital Online Program. I clicked on the link, read through it and was excited. One thing caught my attention and interest – there was no age limit. Age limit has been a stumbling block on most of the online applications I have been interested in and so, this really got to me. I found the outline exciting. However, that excitement died when I read that one of the criteria was to be able to participate in online calls. I told Precious my concerns and she advised I write to World Pulse and see what happens before I give up. I explained that I already did it and waiting for a feedback because I really wanted to participate. I was glad she had a similar thought instead of ‘leave it you’ some would have said.
A few days later, a reply came with the assurance that my hearing difficulties would not be a problem and these words that came with the email weeks after to notify me of my selection for the program has remained true to my world pulse journey… “We are delighted to offer you a spot as a Leader in the Voices of Our Future Training Program!… Congratulations on your achievement. You were part of a very competitive process along with other incredible leaders from around the world. We believe in your vision for change, we believe in your leadership, and we believe in you. We are so pleased to be with you as you take the next step in your journey, and pleased that you’ve chosen to dedicate your time and passion to this intensive training program. We know that it’s going to be an incredible experience!”
I have experienced that believe in me. I have experienced that believe in my vision. I have had that incredible experience which comes with being a World Pulser.
Talking about believe in me, when I read stories of women across the globe on the Pulse, with their passions and dedication to change, I felt that as women, we are all the same in many ways despite the racial and boarder divide. The challenges that come with womanhood were not limited to one corner of the globe. Yet, I still felt reluctant to talk about my journey because I didn’t see any posts related to my experience. However, I was overwhelmed when my first post on my sickle cell journey received so much positive comments and encouraging words. I was overwhelmed when some sisters after reading my story here, reached out to connect with me also on Facebook and what an incredible experience it has been having these sisters cheering and encouraging everywhere. I was more than overwhelmed when my story was amongst the first to receive the Story Awards and being picked up by TIMES.com. That was a great boost in amplifying my voice, solidifying that believe in me.
I was also moved when Marie-Claire Nabila kuja invited me as a key speaker for her Millennium Empowerment Conference in August 2016 where I had the privilege to meet not only her but also other World Pulse sisters for the first time. That indeed was an experience and what I termed my ‘baptism into public speaking’ as seen on the excerpt of the post I made after that speaking experience… “I shared my story, talking about how I am turning my health challenges into opportunities. How I am looking past those dark clouds to see silver linings. I must admit, my heart went jimjim as I stood before the crowd ready to receive my "baptism" into public speaking, Aug. 2016.”
I launched my “Break The Silence… Be A Sickle Cell Voice” online campaign ahead of planned year because I was given an understanding and compassionate mentor, Debra Engle who saw more than I could see in myself and gentle pushed me to flex my wings and fly. This Campaign has been running on since June 2016 and each year, I get more and more people join me to paint Social Media Red/Black for sickle cell, and equally, have many warriors join me in breaking the slience by speaking out. It has been simply amazing and I am hopeful and looking forward to an even bigger and more impacting season 4 come June 2019. This has all been possible because World Pulse believed in my vision of changing the narrative around sickle cell. I had a vision and plan and just maybe, reached the target I set for myself in my advocacy journey with time; but World Pulse provided the platform which served as a much needed fuel to move faster and make things happen.
I continue to experience this believe in my vision when I recieved my first badge as a vocal contributor, a badge as a digital change maker and Made a Change Maker , an Encourager and again, a second time story awardee with the potential of reaching policy makers with my story. It has truly been an incredible journey. The participations on zoom calls and the readiness with which everyone is willing to help me get the most out of it has been heartwarming. I am always happy to be in these calls whenever possible and always so moved especially with Corine Milano’s commitment to ensure I am fully engaged, transcripting every thing said. The love I have received, the timely encouraging comments I get each time I share a part of my journey here have equally been huge boosters and because of this, I have encouraged many to join and let their voices be heard.
It is not every day one gets featured as a story awardee. Getting my stories featured twice has been humbling but equally empowering in ways I cannot fully explain. World Pulse has given me a platform where the quiet and observant me uses my keyboard to make my voice thunder and the impact like lightening, swift but lasting. It has given me a sisterhood which all the silver and gold of this world cannot buy and it has molded me to confidently navigate the cyber and real world with my head up and as I press forward in the next big challenges of my impact journey as a change maker, I am always assured that World Pulse is that safe space where no matter how high I fly, I can always come back to rest and flex my wings before flying again.
It is a privilege to belong, to feel the pulse and to share the love of global sisterhood.