I woke up so excited because it was the day my dream was about to turn into reality, a dream that was once a fantasy as a child was being fulfilled today. I struggled with what I was going to wear but planned to look as formal as I could be, and finally I decided I was going to wear my grey suit and a black shirt. On my way to the White House I sent my mum a text telling her I was going to the White House with other Atlas corps fellows to meet Ben Rhodes the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for U.S. President Barack Obama so she could share my joy, and she replied with a number of text messages telling me how both and my dad and her were very proud of me.
There was a lot of security at the White House and we had to go through a number of check points, and as we lined up at the final checkpoint, my friend from Nigeria who was about to go in excitedly yelled to us “I’m going in guys, greet pass my regards to my mother!” we all laughed as we too couldn’t contain our excitement.
After the final security checkpoint, we waited at what seemed like the reception for a White House staff to take us to the room we were supposed to have our meeting. There was a police officer at the reception and big posters of President Obama and his Vice President Joe Biden. We couldn’t help but take pictures while the officer watched us smiling the whole time.
As I walked into the White House, I could hardly believe that I was actually walking in the White House, stepping on floors that President Obama walks on and other great Presidents.
We then met Ben Rhodes. Ben at 38 holds one of the most important positions in the White House. He advises the President on key decisions and through his job, he also works with people that are older than him. He inspired me and many of the fellows, showing us that young people also have the potential to hold key positions. Starting off as an inspiring novelist in New York to where he is now, is sure evidence that dreaming big and working hard can surely get you far in life. Clearly learning from Ben Rhodes, I am sure every government would need a young brain to help with decision making especially that most of the decisions that governments make actually do affect the youths. Young people do have the passion to lead and need encouragement to be involved. This leadership passion is also seen from my fellow Atlas Corps fellows, as two fellows representing the fellows talked on behalf of the other fellows about the fellowship, their leadership aspirations and their future plans.
As a Lusaka girl that walked into the White House, it wasn’t just about the joy and excitement of being there, but I also left highly motivated and inspired by Ben Rhodes and assured of the possibility and potentials that young people have, and hopefully we can see a generation where young people take up leading roles in positions where they are able to add their voices to issues that affect us and the coming generations.