Connecting the dots and inventing the future
I always say that I am legacy-minded. Any task I take on and any project I initiate—I always begin with the end in mind. This is because I believe that even if something doesn’t come to an end, the role that I play in it will. Therefore I approach all things being very conscious of the lessons I want to learn, the value I want to add and the gifts I want to leave behind. When I imagine my life and Sierra Leone’s future I see one that is drastically different from the difficult past out of which we have come. I see a future where Sierra Leoneans know that we are a great people and support one another in making great contributions to the development of our country and world. I see a future where all Sierra Leoneans are legacy-minded, approaching our lives and work with a vision of what great gifts we can leave behind.
However, I know that not everyone shares this same hope and the resulting lack of vision or dejected view has the power to crush the greatest talent and snuff out the brightest light. As a country we cannot afford this anymore. We cannot afford to hold ourselves to anything less than the highest standards and expectations. Sierra Leoneans need to start expecting great things from other Sierra Leoneans and trusting the words and creations of our fellow countrymen. Furthermore we need to always have before us powerful examples of how other Sierra Leoneans are succeeding in bettering their lives and that of our country. I want to be part of this work. I want to contribute by expanding the spaces where Sierra Leoneans and other Africans come to draw inspiration from one another because of the great work we are already doing.
In my community I am a connector. I connect people to people, people to ideas and people to resources. The big picture vision I always keep in mind is that a connected community that communicates and shares its gifts from within will strengthen its own members and inspire them to great things. The manifestation of this vision of mine has been a monthly gathering of African women who spend a couple of hours getting to know one another in an informal setting where they can connect with like-minded women. These gatherings have been taking place for more than a year and I have watched many friendships blossom and grow. I have also watched these ladies go on to support each other in their various projects, jobs and lives. I am very proud of them and for the spaces that I am creating where these powerful connections take place. I think that many people underestimate and undervalue the power of women’s relationships in a society and how it is often the fuel for great movements and dynamic change. I choose to contribute to Sierra Leone and the African continent’s great future by creating physical spaces for Africans—especially African women—to share ideas, resources and themselves towards a shared vision of a prosperous future.
I want to be a Voices of Our Future Correspondent because in addition to being a connector who creates physical spaces for inspiration, I am an “aspirational” writer. By aspirational I mean that I use my words to create verbal and mental spaces that cast a vision of an alternative future. In these written spaces I encourage women I know to imagine themselves living different lives and making different contributions from the ones we’ve read in books. I believe that being part of the Voices community and having access to dedicated mentors will help me to grow as an aspirational writer and will be a space where I can also leave my gifts.
Even if our world has designated African women to a small space, bound by the labels , “oppressed”, “poor”, “uneducated” and “disempowered”, we will make space for ourselves and force change in a resistant world. To this end I am no longer waiting for permission to create a new world. I am inventing the future I want to see with my words and through the connected spaces I create. This is my legacy.