Guest post by Nawsheen Ahmine, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Mauritius (center)
In about a week, our Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame will come to an end. As I look over this whole experience, I cannot help but feel nostalgic already. Before coming here, I was thinking that six weeks is a long time to be away from home. Now, I am wishing I had more time. Duncan Hall has somehow become my home away from home. During these six weeks here, I have made a lifetime of memories. I have made new friends. I have learned about the other African countries and cultures. I watched ‘the gods are crazy’ for the first time. I visited Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago. I did rafting at the East Race. I went to a baseball game and celebrated the fourth of July. And much more.
Besides all these wonderful things I’ve experienced, Joya, John, Grace and Meg have made me feel like I have a family here. They have taken such good care of all of us and made us feel welcome. From picking us up at the airport when we arrived, which seems only like yesterday, to organising events, making sure we have the best classes and experiences at the University of Notre Dame and most importantly, making us feel like we are all part of the same family. Bill Brennan said that at the University of Notre Dame, “It is about the people.” I couldn’t agree more.
As part of this once in a lifetime opportunity, I have met 24 other fellows, each amazing in their own way and each one of them enriched my experience here. We have shared so many things during these six weeks, our culture, our likes, our dislikes, our food, even our make-up. How can I ever forget Tim from Zim, shopaholic Lungile, sweet Edinha, clicking Phelane, feisty Rania, corporate gangster Costa, Kawoobonga Alex, my twin Reena, little miss chatterbox Adrienne, philosopher George W. and the rest of them? They are all great leaders and I believe they will achieve great things for Africa.
To each one of the 24 fellows, thank you for making this experience an unforgettable one. To all the professors and mentors, thank you for giving us your time and invaluable advice. To my host family, Andy & Brooke Fuller and their four beautiful daughters, thank you for welcoming me into your home. To Joya and John and their families, to Grace, Meg, Jennifer and Jake, no amount of words can be enough to thank you for everything you have done for us. It is with a bittersweet feeling that I will be saying good-bye to the University of Notre Dame next Friday. But, I am and always will be ND. Go Irish!