Roller coaster experience

By: Efua Owusu- Ansah (Ghana)

Since this week started, the atmosphere around the meeting places at Elgro River Resort for the 19th ANLP participants changed. We got the news that the borders of most countries are being closed because of Covid 19. The president of South Africa also delivered a nation address on Sunday, 15th of March announcing the total number of cases recorded in the country to be sixty-one (61) as well as measures put in place for control. Some participants of the program had to hurriedly arrange to go home as soon possible. The fear of being affected, the fear of not being allowed to enter your own country, the fear of being quarantined, the fear of being quarantined with people from elsewhere who’s exposure to the disease may have been more than yours…… the fear goes on and on.

After an exciting time on Tuesday with the Mpho and Thabo Putu, in relation to advocacy and lobbying, people started smiling again. These brothers really know their stuff and they showed us why they come from Soweto. They are purposeful in the course for positive change in many areas for the benefit of the vulnerable and marginalized.

By evening time, all hell broke loose again, our Cameroonians sisters couldn’t help but be super concerned that their country is not allowing any aircraft to land. Should we book a flight for 3 am, should we call the ambassador to our country, should we rebook or buy a new ticket? These were the questions we all joined in to help. The uncertainty is the main issue, so much negative stress!

Dear Cory

By Monica Muti (Zimbabwe)

Cory, dear Cory, from whence camest thou? When I think of you, I think of fear, panic and pandemonium. I cough, everyone flees. Some people give me the evil eye. Others suggest I go and be tested. You have created enemies for me. You have even made me an enemy of my own self. I no longer feel comfortable in my own skin.

In my short professional life, I have never seen any disease cause so much discomfort, misinformation, myths and misconceptions. I have seen cholera come and go. I have met typhoid who just decided to cause a little havoc, go into hiding and appear here and there. None of them has caused so much pandemonium as you.

The mountain of hope

By Marlyne Mananga (Cameroon)

Mother Theresa once said: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless”.

Saturday was a stimulating and passionate day for me. It started with a voice relaxation exercise. Then it was the great moment of stress, that is, four minutes of presentation in front of my colleagues and trainers after planning and practising for ten minutes.  Jane wanted to give me a heart attack! The purpose of the exercise was to convince the audience on a specific topic based on an outline that is to be followed by all presenters with the aim of making us good communicators.

The flight that helped me discover myself

By: Sheila Kilonzi (Kenya)

It is a good programme, you will not regret it’ exclaimed my supervisor when I sought his opinion about applying for the African Nutrition Leadership Programme. I applied and I was selected. But there was a problem – where were the funds to attend the programme going to come from? ‘Don’t worry funds will be found – apply wherever you can’ said my supervisor in a relaxed mode. Seeing his determination, to have me attend the programme, the importance of attending dawned on me. Considering this was coming from a person who has walked with me and understands my capabilities, I gave finding the funds the seriousness it deserved. Finally, I managed to pay the training fee and booked a flight ticket.

Leaving my work and a recuperating mother behind, I headed off - destination Elgro River Lodge via Johannesburg. I said to encourage myself ‘God never does anything without a purpose’. In a couple of hours, I landed amidst fears of COVID 19, and in the next day, I found myself staring at the famous Elgro River Lodge. Surrounded by twenty-three other participants from eleven countries, I wondered what the next ten days were going to hold. A big smile and a warm hug from Jane assured me of great things to come. From within, a voice was telling me that I was here for change, so I needed to be prepared to change to become the leader I desire to be.

Sankofa – Go back and take

By: Efua Owusu-Ansah (Ghana)


When my committee nominated me to write the blog for today, I just knew I had to write about this. Sankofa is a Ghanaian word which literally means go back and take, and that is the symbol to depict the word. What am I going back to take? After all I have heard many say this phrase, “Forward ever, backwards never”, “let sleeping dogs lie” and also, “what is done is done”. What is at the back or in history (a minute ago is history) that should I go back and take?

The time came for Averalda to give her presentation on reflection. Boy! or Girl! (smile), did I get the shock of my life when I realised the amount of gold I have thrown away because of the lack of reflection in my life. As a Christian, I have been meditating during my quiet time in the mornings but more than 80% of my meditation, is on what I should do. If, and I say if, I had known how to do reflection as I have been taught, I would have avoided many sleepless nights and pains over the past three decades. Some people do not get the chance that I have to rewrite some of the wrongs and create positive footprints, so I count myself blessed to be part of this 19th ANLP.

Indeed, an unexamined life is not a life worth living. At the end of the day or after an experience, we were taught to ask some really hard questions: What will I continue doing? What will I start doing? What will I stop doing? We are being trained to be our own (amateur as it may be) therapists. To ask the question why, why, why, till we get to the real cause of a feeling or an experience and either be aware of it or deal with it.

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