From the little girl whose grandmother taught her to be an Explorer

Thank you to all of you for all of the wonderful birthday wishes! Today as I embark on a journey back to my Beloved continent (this time Rwanda) on the precise day of my birth (I was born this same Monday a few decades ago), my heart is full with gratitude for all the messages you are sending me. They remind me that the journey is worth it. I am very grateful to my grandmother who raised me with a tremendous feeling of confidence and boundless opportunity.  Her words and example inspire me when I want to give up.  When I am upset at so many in the world for thinking that Africa is permanently the land of tribes and rural villagers (how charming!), I remember her confidence in me and I vow not to give up. She used to tell me that I was special, that I came to this world with "something" special,but I had to discover that "something" for myself she said. And I believed her! So much that I started to explore life, to find my "something". she used to tell me she could see the Universe and the stars in my eyes. It is true that I reside in my dreams :)

Often I get asked why I did not take the "easy route."  Entrepreneurship is very hard work with tremendous uncertainty.  It took me a while to understand that the "easy route" is the conventional route.  At some point, I had to accept the fact that my life will never be easy, because I refuse to settle for conventional. You can't reach the stars if you settle for Earth, after all. Behind all the glitters and the glam, there has been (and continue to be) a lot of sacrifices, hurts, losses, doubts, fears that I cannot begin to express here. Just trust that they are here. Some days are good, some days are challenging, but I have learned that my job is to show up, everyday, relentlessly. I still complain more than I would like, but I am getting better at being more courageous. I do what I do because of my love for Humanity. In my culture we say, "Nit Nitey Garabam", meaning "Man is the cure for Man"as in "Humanity is the cure for Humanity". Thank you to each and all of you for being my cure and balm along the journey I have chosen.

Much love,

 

Magatte

Happy Birthday Wishes!

First of all, thanks to all of you who have reached out and wished me a happy birthday.  I have always tried to keep my birthday as low profile as possible, and yet it is still gratifying to receive greetings from so many friends.

This is especially true as I continue to undergo a transformation in which there is some discontinuity between my past and my present.  I feel as if I was a caterpillar who is now in a cocoon on my way to being a butterfly, and not all of those who loved me in my caterpillar stage love me in my cocoon stage, and not all of those who loved me in my caterpillar stage will love me in my butterfly stage.  So a special thanks to those of you who are staying in touch with me while I am cocooning.

The metaphor of transforming myself from a caterpillar to a butterfly may seem an odd one for me in particular; in some ways in my former life I was a social butterfly par excellence, and many people loved me most of all for being the life of the party (and giving them a glamorous existence to live vicariously).  Now I am more quiet and thoughtful, and engaged more deeply in my life's work.  I still enjoy parties, and still enjoy laughing and having fun, but my mind and my spirit are now more deeply engaged in achieving something meaningful with my years.

And I have realized that as exciting and stimulating as it was to be the life of the party, and a social butterfly par excellence, it is even more beautiful, and even more stimulating, to create meaning with the gifts that God has given me.

Blessings and love to all of you,

Magatte