It’s Friday May 31, 2019 and I notice my name on the ‘Article Writing Schedule’. I am due to submit a blog by June 3, 2019; my last as a staff serving World Youth Alliance Africa. I realise I have a lot to write about as this to me is really a parting shot. The English language has multiple writing tools and I choose to use the one in the title as mine to speak on my more than 3-year tenure at World Youth Alliance Africa. 2015 now seems like yesterday but in retrospect it has been a long while and of course back then it did not seem like 2019 would ever get here. I vividly recall writing my personal 3 year plan in World Youth Alliance Africa when I begun as Regional Director and it just seemed like this big task lay ahead, yet I was ready to take it up, willing to impact the lives of young people and learn as much as I possibly can in the process.
2015 through to 2016 served as a great time of learning, really like just getting into the water and beginning to swim, from undertaking the regional and international internship to starting to lead the regional internship, to planning for Programme Activities to meeting partners and getting new members. It is all worth writing home about. I grew so much during this period and gained the confidence I needed to carry the great mission of WYA. In this same period, I learnt like the phoenix to rise out of the ashes when we lost Vanessa, the Regional Director of Operations with whom we had formed an indomitable bond and a great work relationship.
2017 saw me experience more than I expected, I agree that life is like a rose with both the beauty and the thorns, it’s a package they come together. New opportunities came that I never imagined, I recall one that today remains etched in my mind as pure providence when we reached and surpassed our fundraising goal thanks to an angel donor. We also had the Global President visit the Africa region, enabling us to engage more members and enter into new and stronger collaborations with some of the institutions we worked with. For me it was also the year I realised the value of a work life balance. Having hit the floor running and working on the go, I learnt to delegate and to train others as well as to seek sound advice. WYA has a great wealth of knowledge from our Steering Committee and Advisory Board and they proved truly valuable during this time.
2018 is the year I call mellow, a time to reap the fruits of hard labour, a time to execute with ease because I had learnt the ropes. I knew where the landmines were and of course I knew how to pick my battles and wars, skills that enabled me to do better. I think this year is one where many things worked out because also maybe it knew I was entering my final league in WYA and it needed to be good to me. I truly can attest to this, of course there were still lessons to be learnt but even the way that I received the lessons was profoundly different. In may ways the criteria for how each day plays out will never be fully understood in our human nature, yet our transcendent connection allows us to know that everything and everyone is very intricately connected. The truth of our value as human persons remains a core of why we exist and guides us in achieving the purpose for which we were created.
Finally 2019, short and sweet, a time to bring many things to an end, a time to re-evaluate not to beat myself up but to pick up my bags and head for the next assignment, knowing that I have given what I could do this one, trusting that this has been the best that I could have given and where not looking to do better in life as I move ahead. It’s never easy to write a ‘see you soon’ message as the French say it’s an ‘aurevior’. It’s my moment to say a big thank you to WYA, I cannot write enough how much better of a person I have become from meeting you and how much better I will continue to be. One thing remains: your influence in my life has left a mark, one that will always be remembered.
Written by Patricia Gwambo, Africa Regional Intern alumna, International Intern alumna, former WYA Africa Director Operations, Outgoing WYA Africa Regional Director (2016 – 2019)