Finally I know what I want to be when I grow up

Wow, it really is time to say goodbye to Africa. I have been delaying this blog for the last week as I haven’t wanted to officially acknowledge that my wonderful experience as part of the PULSE programme has come to an end.

Very much like how I felt when I arrived in Sierra Leone over six months ago, this week I have experienced very conflicting emotions and have also felt quite numb at times. Having arrived back in the cold, cold UK this week I have been feeling both incredibly excited to see everyone but also almost mournful of what I am leaving behind. What can I say, the last six months have been absolutely incredible.

Working on the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s two powerful objectives has been incredibly motivating and compelling for me. Trying to combat one of the world’s biggest killers as well as promote peaceful and open minded coexistence has been truly inspirational and it has had such a personal impact on me that I am now putting steps in place to try to change direction professionally within GSK as a result of my experience working in this area. GSK has as ever been supportive of this and I truly hope that at some point in the future I will be able to continue working towards these amazing goals.

The final month in Tanzania had its ups and downs, and I would say for me personally Dar es Salaam doesn’t compare to the natural warmth and friendliness of Accra or Freetown, despite having many good things about it. Although I was extremely fortunate to be able to continue my assignment in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania as well as learn and contribute a great deal, my heart always remained with the country and the people I met in Freetown, Sierra Leone. It breaks my heart to see how ebola has taken such a stronghold in a country that was finally recovering from such a difficult past and with such a weak health infrastructure. I have such admiration for the people that were able to continue their work there or for the health workers that have since been flown out to support from all over the World. I think the day I was pulled out and flown home (my birthday) was the day that I knew what I wanted my future to look like career wise and it was very powerful.

Anyhow, this was always going to be a short blog to finish and all that remains is to say a huge thank you to GSK, the PULSE team, TBFF, my home team for the support in allowing me the time away, my friends and family at home for being the reason I was excited to return and the friends I made in all four countries. The final thank you is to ‘Africa’ for its warmth, craziness and challenges and most importantly for changing the way I see the world and for validating the things I knew were important in life.

Kwaheri Afrika na kila la heri. Nime furaha kukutana na wewe na tutaonana badaye.
Goodbye Africa and my best wishes to you. I’m happy to have met you and we’ll see each other again.

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