The million-dollar question.
I was telling someone the other day about my upcoming travel to Uganda for work. The early parts of the conversation consisted of standard questions that I’ve answered countless times at this point. When are you leaving? [End of August]. Are you excited? [Absolutely]. Are you scared? [Not really]. How long will you be gone? [Not sure but probably a long time].
The conversation got more interesting when we started discussing the conditions in which I will be living. As I explained that I am traveling to a remote part of the country where I will not have constant access to electricity, running water, and Internet among other things, this person, who I will refer to as Mike, starting laughing really hard.
“Caesar, I gotta say this.” Uh-oh. “You are young [true], you have a great education [‘ray Bucknell], you are intelligent [thanks], you live a decent life [agreed], and you have access to all the opportunities available here in America [questionable]. Why would you give all that up for the kind of place you are going?”
Frankly, I thought this was a very good question. All the statements connected to it were correct. And if I’m being completely honest, I’ve asked myself that same question many times. Here is my response to Mike and anyone else who has this question…
The major driving force in my life right now is the desire to change lives. It’s what I’m passionate about. I am on a hunt for opportunities to create things (products, businesses, institutions, etc.) that transform the way people live. I am returning home to Mama Africa because I believe she will present me with more opportunities to pursue this passion. I am not as concerned about the living conditions that await me as I am about the people who have to endure them on a daily basis. They deserve better and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help them get what they deserve through the work I am doing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that returning to the motherland is not an idea that popped into my head overnight. I spent the first 17 years of my life in Ghana and loved it there – well, most of it. I came to America primarily to get an education that will empower me to return home and contribute to my country’s growth and development. This dream has been modified in two key ways since I arrived in America. First, I decided to expand the scope of my work beyond Ghana to cover as much of Africa as possible – and potentially other parts of the world. Secondly, I decided not to focus solely on healthcare but to work more broadly towards the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. These modifications have not changed the dream itself. Rather, they have clarified the dream and given me a deeper commitment to achieving it.
The morning after I had this conversation with Mike, I came across a Bible verse that reminded me of the source of my desire and motivation to change lives. The verse is found in Philippians 2:3-4 and it reads: “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.” I feel called, and have chosen, to build a career out of obedience to these oh-so-beautiful instructions.
This will have to suffice as an answer to this question for now. I’m excited about this journey and I invite all who are willing, to come along with me!