The phrase "lean in" is a buzzword you may have noticed in the news earlier this year, chiefly due to the popularity of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandburg’s book, Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In it, she discusses her own experiences as a working mother and successful businesswoman in the often male-dominated field of business and leadership. She encourages other women to "lean in," in other words, to pursue their goals regardless of what fears and challenges might prevent them from otherwise acting on their ambitions.
One of the best and worst things about living in Africa as an expatriate is the speed at which the unexpected happens. Just going to the shops, out of nowhere I was faced with a tribunal of very young Muslim girls curious about Muzungus (white people). They had lots of the kind of questions that only children have the innocence to ask, such as am I hairy all over and if they rub my skin will it turn theirs white. Occasionally these random riptides in the flow of your day evolve rapidly into what I can only describe as adventures. In the fall, I had one of these adventures that makes Africa for me.
A Boat Ride Into the Congo
At the moment we are deep in the Nairobi Headquarters section of the project; we have almost another month here yet. Our work is an eclectic mix of different aspects of different projects, from having sessions with different people and having the chance to seek out particular activities that we want to work on.
After this brief return to Nairobi, George, Theo, and I were then sent out to the Samburu Heartland (also in Kenya but located north of Nairobi). This held a special interest for me as I visited this area on a short safari six years ago and fell in love with it. In fact, when I returned to England after that first visit was when I started learning basic Swahili (which turned out to be a fairly good move, all things considered).
I'm Theo Way Nana. I was born in the heart of Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with huge and diverse ecological potential. DRC is the country of the mighty river Congo and of prestigious endemic species like the bonobos, okapi , and the Congo peacock. It is in this country that I spent my youth dreaming of a world that ensures intergenerational equity and one where people are the beneficiaries of natural resource use.