Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities....

2012 has certainly been a lesson in opportunities so far! It's only March and I already feel like I've done so much! Far more than I have time to sit and properly document on this my poor, neglected blog....

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunity."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Between the months of January and March I have been faced with and taken several opportunities, each uniquely worth it. I have of course also missed out on some, but that ok! One step at a time...

The CrowdOutAIDS process has been unique and deeply insightful. Connecting with young men and women representing the different regions of the world to put together a strategy for UNAIDS to engage with young people. My first thought of course, who am I to represent West and Central Africa? But that was closely followed by the more wonderful question, who am I not to? Regardless of what I think, I have a chance to be the best representative for the region I call home, and what an experience it has been! Lot's of reading and discussion, massive attempts at critical thinking and exploring solutions, all while trying to learn and get good grades in my MSc course! the process isn't over yet, but I'm grateful for the wonderful contacts I've made and the experience in collaborative authoring (sounds so fancy!).

And then there was the Cambridge Aid for Health Negotiations, a simulation that allowed you to learn the complexities and difficulties of high-level negotiations between country representatives and aid donors, a common occurrence today. I was privileged to represent the National AIDS Commission and wow! What a challenge. Mandated to 'keep the peace and present a united front' with the rest of the government all the while disagreeing strongly with the Minister of Health, fighting my own self-interest and yet striving not to be a 'donor darling'. What a hard balance! I may not have fully agreed with the perspectives of the role I was assigned but what a way to learn a crucial skill. True negotiation rarely happens at the table...and never happens outside of a relationship. Food for thought.

And somehow, I can't seem to get away from writing. Not that I'm running! Recently began contributing to Ventures Africa, awesome start-up magazine. Check out my column, Ventures Woman. It is very easy to hear people's stories and not be inspired, gloss over, brush past...but the more I hear, the more I'm made to stop and listen, the more this idea becomes real to me: the is a bit of God in everyone, a bit of greatness. But I shouldn't be surprised by great and inspiring humans, we don't just have a bit of greatness, we we're created in the very image of greatness. What learning for the small-minded of the earth.

No, no, it's not that there are no opportunities. It's that too often like Mark Twain "I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one."

I'm definitely inspired to be different and loving it.

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