By Christine

As I sent Jill emails almost everyday of the program, I was very excited about our meeting. It was finally Friday and the meeting planned for two weeks was in the evening.

After signing out, we met outside Saybooke College where we were staying. Jill took me to a Japanese restaurant. I, not being familiar with Japanese cuisine, was fortunate to have gone to the restaurant with her as she explained to me all that was in the menu. She went a step further to teach me how to use chopsticks. I was enjoying ever bit of it!

She told me about herself and that she had just gone to visit her family. I was very shocked at the fact that she had been friends with Dr. Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg for at least 20 years! I thought to myself, “These are the kind of friends I want to have”. I felt honored to share a meal with one of the founders of Akili Dada (Jill was there when Wanjiru was planning and supported her), and still being an Assistant Professor of Yale’s French Department.

I told her about Akili Dada’s activities beginning from the scholarships to high school students, the mentorship of young women, their great impact in terms of changing people’s lives, their work in girl-child empowerment, and how they work with their fellows to create change. She was happy and pleased about Akili Dada’s work.

Time went so fast, It was time to go back and a storm was approaching. She escorted me back to the office to sign in, and then took her bike to her house. Having had a wonderful day then dinner with an incredibly awesome person, I considered myself the luckiest person. At least I had a photo of Jill and I that I could always look at and remember that day.

As I left home for Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS), I was very excited about it. I arrived at the campus after two days of travel. On arrival, I was received by a group of very enthusiastic instructors. I met some people who I knew from Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS). I felt less anxious.

The YYGS-SDSE program was an amazing time. I got to learn a lot about matters that affect the community and how to bring change. We learnt of matters such as: climate change, Development and Economics of Poverty Alleviation, Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship, Mental Health in relation to Economic Growth, among other things that are of great importance in today’s life.

In a span of 2 weeks, I had gained knowledge of matters not taught at school. The 2 weeks felt as if I had been in class for a year or so. All that I learnt I plan to put into practice in my everyday life and to give back to my community. I hope that I will get a chance to study at Yale so that I can gain more experience that will equip me for what is ahead and help me make my dreams come true.

YYGS was simply unforgettable. I made friends I never thought I would meet and learnt lessons I will never forget.