Naenda wapi - where am I going?
My name is Bodil. I grew up in Burundi - a small country in the heart of Africa.
Although I was very young when we moved back to Sweden, the years in Burundi came to be very important to me, and the person I am today. Facing two very different worlds at a young age had me question why we so commonly believe one of them is better than the other. The way I see it every encounter with something new or different is an opportunity to learn. None of us beholds all the answers. We are privileged to be different, and we should embrace that as something rich and beautiful.
My school years started with a very different frame of reference compared to my classmates. While they knew all about the latest music, tv series and trendy clothes, I knew the sounds that hyenas, lions and hippos make. All of this made perfect sense to me. There are no lions or hippos in Sweden, and therefore no need for such knowledge. Just as there were no tv's or modern music stores in Burundi in the 80's and 90's. It was very clear to me that both of these worlds have their strengths and their weaknesses, and that we can learn from one another if we keep our minds open enough to see the opportunities. I am truly grateful for my years in Burundi. As a little girl I had no idea what a treasure I was given. It is not really about the place itself, nor the reason my parents were there, but about the experience that allowed me to see that there is more to every story than meets the eye. It made me eager to learn more, and humble enough to know that no matter how much I learn, I will never know it all.
"Naenda wapi" is swahili for "Where am I going" - a question I still do not have the answer to, regarding my own life. Maybe because there is no way to really know our final destination? Maybe because the purpose of living is the journey itself? One of the reasons I ended up as a teacher and a coach, was the opportunity to give others the self confidence and inspiration to challenge themselves to explore more of this remarkable world, and what it has to offer.
So, now I am asking you: Unaenda wapi - Where are you going?