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Why am I in Development? (Sabine)

March 10, 2010

Sat on the developed-undeveloped fence... dancing

I got into development because I was frustrated. It wasn’t until I started going back and forth, between the developed and developing world that I realized that I was frustrated. Frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy the same commodities between the two worlds; frustrated to hear people telling my parents they shouldn’t waste their money on my education for I was simply good for marriage; frustrated to be told I couldn’t do this in Cameroon because I was a girl, but that abroad it was fine; and frustrated to have people unconsciously pitying me because I come from somewhere in Africa, and my being abroad must mean I escaped starvation or must have been royalty.

Although I wish I could eradicate poverty and inequalities all together, I know that I cannot. I do, however, know that development will start with me and the decisions I make in my daily life. I know that I can tell people a story in which Africa is not a country but a continent; a story in which Africans are not poor because they supposedly chose to be; or a story which looks beyond the stereotypes of Africa – conflicts, diseases, soccer, and safaris. Most importantly, I know that Africa can thrive with the help of individuals that do not tell us what we can or cannot do, but respect our pride, dignity, values and opinions.

I got into development because I had a story to tell – a middle ground between the developed and developing worlds. So that people would know that development isn’t just about institutions and infrastructures, it is also a way of thinking. I wanted to tell a story, the story of realities that will always be part of me as I take steps towards making a difference.

p.s: Malte, did I mention that Development Management rocks??

Sabine Nguini (Msc Development Management)

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