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Past struggles, new hope (part 1)

Posted by | January 06, 2014 | Alieu Fofanah, Personal | One Comment

One of the things I wanted from this journey was to discover a continent I only knew through the eyes of the media and discover its potential for myself.

I had originally planned to discover Africa by visiting 5 countries, of which Rwanda was not on the list. Through sheer coincidence I kept meeting and speaking to people who insisted I should come to Rwanda. Plans were already set in motion, finances were tight and I couldn’t see where I was going to fit in the time to visit Rwanda.

I didn’t know discovering Rwanda would spark such a deep sense of power, resilience, motivation and energy.

In late September I discovered that the Transform Africa summit was going to happen in Rwanda. Reading around what the event planned to cover made me want to attend, but I couldn’t envisage how I would be able to fit it into my schedule. I needed to find a return flight which was no more than £100, get free accommodation and also free entry to the summit.

Fortunately for me, the summit was scheduled to take place whilst I was still in Kenya, which is a short flight away from Rwanda. I found a flight which would take me from Kenya to Rwanda, Rwanda back to Kenya and then later to Ghana for £385. I booked my flight not knowing if I would secure free accommodation and entry to the summit. But at that point, I didn’t care, I felt like I needed to be at the summit, so nothing was stopping me and I was hopeful that everything would work itself out.

I posted on Facebook, Twitter and told all my close friends and family I was going to Rwanda, but needed a place to stay ASAP. Sean replied back to me, we met in 2010, when we both featured as a future leader in the magazine published by Power Media. He introduced me to the Trade and Investment Assistant Miss Brenda Nyakia, who works for Rwanda High Commission UK office. That’s when I found out the summit was free! I also told her I was looking for accommodation in Rwanda. Long story short, Brenda found me somewhere free to stay. Talk about great customer service.

I arrived in Rwanda and was picked up by Roland Rumumuria and Aimè Abizera (the two legends!)

Alieu and Roland

Alieu and Roland

The world works in a funny way; Paulo Coelho famously said “when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I had preconceived ideas of what Rwanda would be like, but that all changed. The city was really clean. I noticed every bike man had a helmet and a spare one for passengers and everyone obeyed the traffic lights. Driving around the smooth roads, seeing the beautiful landscape in the distance, it felt so surreal.



During the course of the summit I started seeing the world crystal clear. The smell of green, fresh oxygen filled my lungs and I heard the joyous sound of drums and marching feet. I had sweet anxiety and an uncontrollable edge to take action… I was inspired!

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Rwanda had truly inspired me. Inspired me to do what, you may ask?

Hear more on my next blog post.

On this note I would like to give a huge shout out to Roland Rumumuria and Aimè Abizera, my time in Rwanda couldn’t have been what it was if it wasn’t for you both. Thank you for everything!

Alieu Fofanah

About Alieu Fofanah

An Associate Chartered Accountant who in 2010 was invited to the House of Lords by Lord Adebowale, to feature as a Future Leader in the Magazine published by Powerful Media. Previously worked as a debt restructuring and business recovery specialist at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Alieu’s vision for GoGetters to act as a channel for entrepreneurs to build creative solutions, which transform the world.

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