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!

We all agree that for what we are learning and have experienced during our period in ANLP, we have been well equipped to always remember Rule # 6 and also remember that God is in control.

Today has been an experiential day with Namukolo Covic, Wow! All that we have learnt in leadership, communication, on the spot presentation and leading from where you stand were all expected to be implemented in this experience. We were divided into our professional areas of expertise asked to take a stand in recommending that nutrition should be considered in an agriculture program. We all attached great seriousness, at a particular moment, I had to pinch myself because the discussions looked and felt so real to me. Thank you Namukolo for this hands-on experience you’ve given us. I will always remember your motherly tone and advice.

Five participants have left today to their countries, this ANLP will be remembered by all support team as special and way different from what they are used to. I have chosen to stay till the last day, Friday when I leave. These are the questions I have asked myself, is it that I don’t love my family enough or I don’t love my life? Believe me when I tell you that I have asked myself these questions. I am a woman of faith in the one true God who sent His son to die for me. I choose to learn more and laugh hard, not in pretence but with the knowledge of Psalm 91 and wisdom, I know my family and loved ones are and will be safe.

I will conclude with a quote from Mariah Carey, "life is kinda like being on a roller coaster. If you don't get on the ride, you won't experience the adventure." It is my prayer that Covid 19 will be contained with no more deaths from it, however, the experience we the participants of the 19th ANLP have had is exceptional and a once in a lifetime experience.

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