Dear Pascalo,

A time for deep reflection

SOLITUDE: a time of deep reflection

I cannot believe it’s been decades since we last got in touch. I see you have grown into a very strong, prominent, and aspiring leader. I’m so proud of you and even believe mummy Sierra Leone is equally proud to own you. Do keep up this great achievement and continue to inspire and be a motivation to other young people.

Going through a glimpse of your milestone, you’ve really demonstrated patience, determination, and perseverance. Years ago in high school, I vibrantly remembered you applying for the African Leadership Academy and when you couldn’t make it, I knew how downcast you were; how devastating you felt. Missing the first class degree in college by just a point made you feel discouraged and you felt like your world had crumbled and shut down. But see how far you’ve come afterwards. Don’t you think you needed those seemingly disappointment and acute failures to redirect your golden path towards the amiable trail you now blaze? Destiny in essence is nothing but a fate.

I know you were struck with all the pains of not getting proper child development because of being born into a decade civil war, and more ruinous experiencing the cruel hands of the Ebola scourge just when you felt your country was rocketing and making positive strides towards achieving the millennium development goals. This not only impeded major development gains of Sierra Leone but warded off inventors from and to the country. Now I know you feel ashamed that other countries in Africa are better positioned in achieving the sustainable development goals while yours needs to garner all the best practices to at least find the way; that is possible though it’s not an overnight work. This is life in its crude and conventional form.

Guess what? With all your growth and professional development, let’s start working on the next generation of leaders- “the youth.” Get to change their mentality to believe that only they can be the change they want to see in their communities and thus must not rely on people to make them better. They must take that little leap in securing their future and be never manipulated by corrupt politicians during elections. I’m sure you are now in a better position to influence and steer your colleagues to find, create, and support programs aimed at empowering people and communities to improve situations of poor health and WASH facilities, malnutrition, illiteracy, livelihood and gender-based violence.

Hearing that you got accepted into the Atlas Corps fellowship made me so glad as I know you will learn as much as possible and please do think of the dire need of your country for good leadership and also the thousands of orphans who lost their parents to the Ebola-leaving them to fend and design their own future all by themselves. You were lucky to have been empowered to transform your condition to a success story today, but for thousands in remote areas this might mean the end of their bright and promising dreams.

Inasmuch as I don’t want to cast the responsibility on your shoulder, I still want to challenge you to do all you can with all the might you can amass and muster to make a change from your own wing. Do you still intend to empower women? I really think you should. Remember the tons of women who are raped and sexually assaulted and violated, and even when these cases are reported they are either compromised or treated with a pinch of salt. That makes me weep in silent as, if we continue with this trend the issue of boy preference will be the new norm as women will prefer aborting their pregnancy as soon as they realize that it’s a girl child since it will be rather peaceful to end the pregnancy right at that moment than spend all their time and resources raising their girl children only to be sexually exploited, traumatized with everlasting effect of fear and low self-esteem, and to a greater effect death. So you see how serious the issue is, and if you are preaching for equal women participation in politics and through all spheres of development that must mean starting from the underlying causes that are hardly ever understood.

Think of your poor family and the rest of your college friends who have not been able to secure any form of employment since completing college four years ago. If only they had known, their college fees could have been handsome start-up capitals for business investments. There is so much you got to do to help make the world a better place; no force but your very little effort can help make a difference.

Please learn as much as you can and think of starting an advocacy organization that will be the voice of the voiceless and a shoulder for the marginalized to lean on. Learn how to efficiently capture and translate the plight of these people and better channel them to the right support. Acquire skills in proposal writing as this is an essential need in the twenty first century; infographic designing is a must since people hardly have time reading worded essays and paragraphs; and be au fait with how to better utilize social media and creating compelling stories to capture and disseminate accurate social impacts.

I am always proud of you so I have no doubt that you will stay true to your values and unwavering interest to ameliorate the conditions of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized. Keep Sierra Leone in mind and please don’t allow the multitude of ethnicities to corrupt you or negatively affect all your dreams; rather use it to your advantage and transform these networks to your net worth. You will never fail me (that I know) so keep working hard and if you feel weak or low in spirit, I’m at your beck and call. If there is one thing I ask of you, be happy. If you don’t know how, learn. Till I hear from you again, best wishes!

Yours true self and better half,

Pascalo.

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