Emmanuela Alimlim transcript
Hi. My name is Emmanuela Alimlim and I’m graduating in November with honour's Bachelor of Arts – major in economics and double minor in environmental studies and environmental geography.
I was born in Kenya, in the northern part of Kenya where it's known as arid and semi-arid. I have 11 siblings. I'm the oldest so you can imagine the chaos in the house.
For them to have somebody who has definitely broken the cycle of poverty in the family and somebody who has to go outside to study and embrace education, they see that as something beautiful and something they should also aspire to do.
Coming from a place where it's 30 degrees all the time and coming here where it's minus 20, it's definitely a challenge. The culture is very different. From the start – from the food, from the clothes you wear, from the friends you have – it's really challenging to try to adjust. In the beginning it was very tough for me.
I had to deal with a lot of depression and anxiety. I isolated a lot of myself. It's something mostly people from the African nation or people from the Black community don't talk about because we've harboured a lot of things that we want to mask. Being able to actually shed yourself and break yourself apart is something beautiful because from there you heal.
Going back home is very important because I would love to be a part of history that sees an economy of Kenya transformed.
Kenya is such a beautiful country – the rich culture, the young people who have the power and the zeal to see themselves being transformed, the digital revolution that's happening on the continent. It's mostly been spearheaded in Kenya so being able to see that young people are trying to get a dignified and fulfilling employment through every kind of work they can do, it's really powerful. You see that they're very inspired, they're taking part in what they're trying to do see that definitely they're doing what they can. I'm very inspired by people in Kenya and the continent of Africa.
My advice to young people coming to U of T and are starting is: Man, it's going to be a wild ride for you but it's going to be beautiful. It's going to break you apart but it's going to make you appreciate the beautiful university we have and the beautiful culture.