The year is 2013 and I have just gotten to Belgium to do an LLM in International Law with International Relations. I am a good 34 years old but I have never used a smart phone. Now, I don’t even know how to google much because back home we were used to going to a cyber and paying for people to do those ‘techy’ stuffs for us. So, imagine finding yourself in a country where it seems all is done with a smart phone or laptop, even to go to somewhere you need to know when the bus is passing and it is not posted anywhere as easily. I was simply put lost. The weather, the way of life, the cold, the rain and snow once in a while, oh how I wish I had learned more of all this ‘techy’ stuff back home.
I start to slumber into a real depression, I have no friends and here people don’t talk to ‘strangers’. Everyone is on their smart phones with their ear phones plugged firmly into place. If you even get a nod good for you. Everyone in school is busy and it’s an international school where I am the only one from my country that year. I can’t even fit in because I have a hearing impairment and I don’t have a smart phone. Thank goodness I can go to the library and use the computers. I start spending all my spare time there infront of any available computer. I can imagine I looked like a real ‘Mary Just Come’ – a local slang for a villager. I live with an angel from East Africa who lives in a village 2 hours by bus from Brussels and where a dialect called Flemish is spoken. More depression.
One day after crying out more buckets full of miserable tears, I decide to go on a dating site to look for a companion. I say a prayer and the first person who reacts to my profile and strikes a conversation with me is the one I still call today my super super hero or SSH. I mean there can be miracles when you believe. Two weeks later we meet up in Brussels and oh my, a week later he invites me to move in with him – guess his profession – Linus consultant. This means in a nutshell that apartments breathes ‘techy’. There is a printer, scanner, computers, unlimited internet, books, was I thrilled oh my. For Christmas, my SSH got me a smart phone and taught me all there was to know. That seemed to be the real Masters program I went there for. I even slept with that smart phone under my pillow. It was my gateway to the world.
I needed more and I started to dare more. I took up blogging, and although my SSH didn’t have the time to teach me how to create or run a blog, he encouraged me to learn and keep at it. We celebrated every progress I made. When I saw his website, and I had by they built a presence with my blog, I nagged for more. He encouraged me once more and directed me to sites where I could learn how to build a website. I didn’t mind fumbling because I knew what I wanted. Joomla he encouraged was the better platform at the time for websites. I spent nights learning basic coding, plugins and so much ‘techy’ stuffs. I was blogging almost daily and also using other social media like Facebook and even twitter to reach more and more people the world over. I started being contacted to join organizations and blogging platforms, and I could find my way around.
I really wish today I still I had that website running, but nope I have progressed to Word Press and self hosting. Only my blog is still wordpress hosted. My SSH encouraged me and I share my story to encourage other girls all over the world. I even listed my business on Businesslist.co.cm and I have gotten a lot of traffic and even calls from there. My social media presence cuts across several platforms too raging from LinkedIn via tumblr to Instagram and my blog has close to 900 followers today. I belong to a few organizations’ courtesy of ‘techy’ visibility and opportunities this has brought me; I mean I first stumbled on World Pulse in that same 2013. Below are the links to the different sites I built and manage myself up to date:
And so dear young girl or any woman reading this, let nothing hold you back from embracing STEM subjects or ‘techy’ stuffs. If I could do it and be where I am today, working hard each day to be the best version of myself out there, so can you. I applaud centers being built to champion such causes and mum recently concluded a one-month coaching program to encourage girls to dream and thrive in their implementation of their dreams. I drilled them on using social media effectively and why not build their own website I concluded.