I’ve always been not so good at sharing aspects of my life. I’m one of those people who would talk and laugh with you all day without really opening up about my life or my upbringing. It’s partly to do with the fact that most people would rather talk about themselves anyway but also partly to do with the very private upbringing I had. However, I’ve been thinking that since I come out here to rant during some of my worst moments, I should be willing to share a few happy moments too. Surprisingly, I have two. So……
During the semester, I had the opportunity to volunteer with GhScientific, a STEM-supporting organisation, whose flagship project, the SHAPE PROJECT, brought together students from a number of schools with great ideas about using STEM to help tackle some environmental issues. My brief was to supervise a group of students from a coalition of schools who dubbed themselves “Young Environmental Activists” on a project to repel mosquitoes by fusing flowers with mosquito repellents. I had a wonderful time working with them. They had some wonderful ideas and I was often left with the uncomfortable job of vetoing some ideas which were equally wonderful but greater than our capacity at the time. They were eager, passionate and innovative. I often came out from our meetings feeling incredibly overwhelmed. This was all the more remarkable when you consider some of the challenges they face. Their schools lack some of the basic equipment found in some of the larger schools, their community is a relatively older and less educated community compared to other parts of Accra (Ghana’s capital) and some of the kids walk long distances to school.
Well, at the SHAPE PROJECT finals on Friday, they won an award, taking home the prize for the best presentation. I was excited when I found out. I can still remember how they developed from stuttering shy kids to best presentation winners in the past few weeks and I am so proud of them at their achievement. I wasn’t at the program to see them win – I had lectures and meetings on the day of the event – and I may never see those kids again now that the competition is over but I hope that this upward trajectory they are on never wanes.
The other piece of good news is more personal. On Monday, I received a text message that my scholarship renewal application had been approved. I was fairly confident of its approval since I had exceeded the minimum requirement for renewal but one can never be too sure of things like this. The message has elicited some mixed emotions however. While I am certainly relieved that my fees for this academic year have been fully covered, I can’t help but mull on the fact that this is the last time, I will be getting that message. It’s another of bringing home to me the uncertainty of life after school and it is as if another blanket of dependence has been ripped from me. That is probably why I have still not gone for my scholarship renewal letter. I feel like if I can delay going for it long enough, I can give myself time to come to terms with yet another reminder that my time in school is drawing quickly to a close.
In the meantime I am going to call the Young Environmental Activists and congratulate them and then deal with my recurrent sore throat issues. It’s always a sure reminder for me not to get too excited about anything……..