On the 26th of August 2020, we had a mentoring orientation call. After that call, I was excited to see who I would be paired with. You can imagine my excitement and joy, when I was told Stella Paul would be my mentor! I have for some reason even I cannot fully explain, always admired this dear sister since I started my World Pulse experience. There's a certain warm and comfortable air around her I find appealing. So as you can see, I was super excited to be paired with her.
Now, I had to reach out as a mentee which I did on the 4th of September 2020. There was a certain well, I dunno how to put this. But there was a momentary confusion how to address my first official 'contact mail' out of anything World Pulse related to her. Every connection we have had was on a pulse platform. My mind raced. How do I send this mail? Dear Ma'am? Ms? Stella? Then I heard my dad's tiny voice somewhere in the sub conscious mind ' Do not call anyone you are addressing by their name if they have not told you so'. The African Child in me won. So I started my mail with a 'Dear Ms Stella ;). Being the warm and friendly person she is, she replied and said : 'First things first : Call me Stella. I am your sister and Friend...'
That was the first ice breaker.
She told me she's busy with covering a children's project which could be running until the 11th and we could set our first official meet on the 12th, 5pm my time. Yeah, she did the time calculations and gave me the time as in Cameroon. I was like thank God for that! Nothing confuses me more than converting time differences! That was fine with me. We agreed on that. There was a little mix up on the dates and 12th was to be Sunday not Saturday lol.
Finally, Sunday 5pm my time. I stepped out briefly and left my phone home to come meet a missed video call. I was like oops! Thankfully, I wasn't gone for too long so we had our first real meet.
After the hellos and all, we got to knowing ourselves better. I learnt that in our respective families, we are almost on the same 'baby of the family' level. We spoke about our early child hoods and I got to discover we indeed share similarities in many instances. For e.g, we both carry scars we were at first ashamed of but which, looking at the scars in perspective, we started seeing them as our cherished trophies which remind us of our different battles for survival and so, we started seeing the scars as something to be proud of.
Stella is a journalist with a vast experience. I am the daughter of one of the first Anglophone journalists. So, there's something journalistic in our lives another shared similarities. We both love something about our various countries. I look forward to being draped in a Sari and eating Indian Food while she looks forward to being served Cameroonian Food prepared by me and of course, we have Lena, a sister we both love very much. I learnt about her Kenyan 'heritage' as well as her love for Africa. In fact, there was so much we shared.
I also learnt about her mentoring journey and I was thrilled when she said she was equally excited to be my mentor and I would say, I got to feel that warmth and care I have always found appealing. Voicing out my concerns about some challenges I face with mentoring others, I was reassured by her thoughtful words of encouragement that I am on the right track of the mentoring journey.Having a mentor is great. Having one who is empathetic, loving and encouraging is super!
This was the second and final ice breaker.
Our first meet was great. I am so excited about this 6 months and I hope I would be able to give as much as I receive as we embark on this journey. It is my wish that at the end of this 6 months, we build a strong, lasting relationship beyond the 6 months of being mentored.
I am grateful and thankful to Jill who first told me about this program and encouraged me to apply. I am equally grateful to Dawn, Manasa and the entire World Pulse team for the beautiful job done to see this program succeed. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a mentee and my wish is this experience will also help me hone my mentoring skills for the future.
Thank you dear Sis Stella for agreeing to be my mentor despite the busy life and schedule you have and for making it easier for me to get into the flow. So looking forward to our next and future meets.
NB: The rains were singing lullabies in India that day making network erratic so, we couldn't switch on videos for a good pic, hopefully, next time ;).