My Dear Luisa,
I can remember very vividly when your mother was expectant, the whole family looked forward to your birth because you were going to be the very first grandchild to a home of five truly bonded siblings. We accompanied her often to shop as we eagerly awaited your coming. And yes, you did come. You were this cute little girl with a broad smile and the joy you brought was exceeding. Your dad was a happy man seeing you resemble him.
Yes, I remember very well that we were not allowed to carry you unless we had cleaned our hands, so I will always prefer to just come around and watch you smile so I could gain time to go play.
Seeing you grow up from babyhood was thrilling as you were the only child directly born after me. You were the reason why I graduated from being called “last-born”. Thanks for that, I needed to graduate from this status so badly.
I remember your first day at school, yes I do. I also remember how you rehearsed the speech you had to present during your graduation from nursery school. Despite the fact that you couldn’t read by then, yet your brain was so sharp in memorizing your speech. I can recall seeing you hold the speech up site down during the ceremony and yet delivering your speech word verbatim. This was a great day and big brother Henry was the one who gladly handed you a bouquet on behalf of the family.
Brilliantly you thrived through primary school and we were all so proud of you. As loving as your mum can be, she eagerly dedicated a great portion of her earnings to send you to one of the outstanding secondary schools in the region. As exciting as this was for you and for all of us, sadly you had to leave home. Living in a boarding school, you braved the odds of making new friends and you made it to Form Five and made through the final exams.
You shared with us how much you were interested in reading sciences in high school and you were setting out for that. But what happened? Your school was now at the very heart of the ongoing conflict in our part of the country. I have seen the extent to which this crisis has affected your studies and I truly wish you didn’t have to go through this.
As a result of the value that the family accords to education, we were ready to brave the odds and ensure that you do not miss out on any other academic year.
I emember so clearly, Saturday the 8th of September 2018, I had to accompany you to Douala where we were sure you will have a calm environment to study. You were very excited and so was I. But what happened? Traveling by night, just an hour into our journey, we were intercepted by the armed boys. Despite my experiences, since I started practicing medicine amidst the crisis, this was the most dreadful experience of my life. Lying down in the mud under the rain for so many hours not knowing what will happen next, I was scared of the unknown.
I could not bear the thoughts of anything happening to you. Paralyzed with fear, I was surprised to see you so strong. I remember you advising me to keep my ID card safe because you were aware that with my numerous travels, losing my ID will be a big issue for me. While I was worried about your safety, you were rather looking out on my career. Words cannot fully describe what we went through that night, but I do still remember that our motivation to continue the journey immediately the road was opened in our wet and mud-soaked clothes the next morning was strong.
A few months ago, I was celebrating your success in 4 papers at the GCE Advanced Levels. Now here you are, a few moments away from starting your undergraduate studies!! Amidst the uncertainties and insecurities, I have seen in you a brave woman who is ready to go to any lengths for the sake of her education. I’m sure you have fears, worries, and doubts, but I want you to remember that you have come a long way already. Know this, whatever you have desired to become, you surely will! The question I have for you is this? What is it that you see in all of these mixed experiences? Who do you see yourself as 5 years from now? Who do you see yourself as 25 years from now?
Well, I will tell you what I see. I see an irresistible thought leader, who is rising to the top of her world. Yes, you have to, because the young little women in our family have their eyes fixed on you and above all because your stories are now a part of who you are! All that you need is here, but can you see it? Make all your mistakes with boldness, be daring. Do not relent, do not doubt your capabilities because you are a powerhouse and the world is waiting for you!! See you at the top of your world and happy International Day of the Girl Child.