Saturday, May 29, 2010

Michelle Obama Comes to Wayne State!

Summer is in full effect and  with it, many busy plans and a short, less-than exciting class. So this past Wednesday, May 26 when Michelle Obama came to my school and was due to speak during the time I have class, what do you think I did? Boring class......Michelle Obama.....Boring class....Michelle Obama.......I think you know which one won. Hahahaha..... If it makes it any better, the class was four hours long and I went to the second part of it. Anyways.....

The First Lady was in town for a rally to encourage mentoring. Of course, she was wonderful and inspiring. I expected nothing less. My favorite part of her speech was when she told young people that their job was to focus on their education, not playing video games or dropping beats. Hahahha, had me cracking up! Someone must have told her of the epidemic of young wanna-be rappers in Detroit. She said there's a time and place for everything, but that education should be the first focus.

At the rally were also Magic Johnson, Spike Lee, Kimberly Locke and local Detroit business owners and politicians. They all talked a little about how they got where they were and the people that had made a difference in their lives. It was quite a star-studded event at little old Wayne State.  I didn't have a good camera with me, but the Detroit Free Press had some pretty awesome pictures. Here's my favorite.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Vision: A New Model for Change

Though sad, the recent news of President Yar'Adua's death in Nigeria didn't surprise me. He'd been sick for quite a while and with no appearances or statements from him for such a long time, it was clear that his sickness was severe. His passing will no doubt be sorrowful for his wife and entire family, as the passing of any human being is. But it got me thinking.......

In Nigeria, Africa and many parts of the world, presidents come and presidents go. Promises made for an improved life for their constituents go unfulfilled. For many leaders, the office is seen as a means of personal gain and they fill their pockets and hidden bank accounts as their country's infrastructure, economic and educational systems continue to crumble. People wait in desperation for the change that is needed to take place, but it comes slowly, if at all. Often the change is for worse instead of better.

The changes that are required for the betterment of life of people in Nigeria and all over Africa require major financial investments. Generally, in the civilized world, the government would be the ones to make these investments, realizing that it is for the eventual good of the whole country. As we can see, that is not happening. But what if there was a new model for change? What if, instead of waiting for the government to make the major changes needed for survival and advancement, another sector made a commitment to help their country?

I have a vision. And in it, the country's wealthy: musicians and movie stars; businessmen and CEOs; athletes and all else with the means to do so take it upon themselves to do something. But not just to do something: to change their country in a big way.

What's really required is a change of heart. Those with the means must care so much for the well-being of their fellow human beings that they are willing to give of their abundance of wealth. For most of these people, much of their wealth is due to the patronage and support of the average citizen. In a sense, those who get involved will be "giving back." But it will require a lot more than speaking to kids about the importance of education and supplying food for the homeless, though those could very well be components of the plan. But what I envision is bigger than that. I'm talking about hospitals and schools. Community development centers to educate whole villages in everything from common health care to skilled trades. Companies employing people in cutting-edge fields like sustainable energy. My vision includes all of this and more.

The task is too daunting to target a few celebrities and charge them with the responsibility of change for the better. It is one that will require the hundreds and thousands of a country's wealthy to commit to the change.

It is my dream to one day start an organization that facilitates this kind of change. Organize the wealthy of a nation and get their long-term commitment to help their country. City by city and state by state, the nation can change. I would of course want to start with Nigeria, but my vision is really for all of Africa.

Waiting for government to bring change is futile; those who know the work that needs to be done should just do it. In time, one hopes, the government will follow and do what it should. But change cannot wait until then. It must begin now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Naija American Girl goes to Haiti!

 Haiti, 2009 (courtesy Ebere Azumah)

Hello my people! It certainly has been a long time....I've definitely been slacking on my blogging game, mostly because I was trying to finish the semester of school and plenty of running-arounds with my African group on and off campus, not to mention graduation parties and what not. Anyways...

One of the biggest things I've been working on this semester was the possibility of following a group, Africans in Medicine, to Haiti on a medical missions trip.  The group went last year and already planned on going back before this year's devastating earthquake. My goal is to follow them and cover their trip as a reporter, taking lots notes and pictures to show what people there are going through and what a few medical students from Detroit were doing to help. It would be the ultimate experience for a journalism student preparing to graduate this December. When I got the invitation, I was so excited and knew I couldn't turn it down. But I faced some major problems: Getting there and buying a high-quality camera and laptop for the best journalistic reporting would require lots of money. Money that, as a college student, I didn't have. I applied for an Undergraduate Research Grant at my school, and all thanks to God, I GOT IT!!!! So I'm going to Haiti y'all!!!

This trip will no doubt be life-changing. I know I'm probably going to see some things that will make me want to cry; but I am truly grateful for this opportunity. And I really pray that AIM is able to do some good work for the better health of the people in Haiti. That's the most important thing.  I will be SURE to keep you guys updated during my trip, from June 13 to June 20. If you would like to help AIM raise money for the trip for supplies and medicine, you can visit the website here and contact Ebere Azumah at Also check out our group on Facebook here.

Some AIM students with children in Haiti (courtesy Ebere Azumah)