It was the summer before my senior year in college, I had spent all of my adolescent years preparing for medical school and the time had finally come for me to apply. My application was filled out and everything was ready to go, but… I just couldn’t press send. There was something holding me back. After much thought I realized that I was not ready.  I was 20 years old and since the age of 12, my years entailed going to school then research in the summer. Year after year it was the same thing. Yes I loved it and yes it was fulfilling, but as I was making my transition from adolescence to adulthood I wanted to try something different so I decided to take a year off of medical school to pursue other passions until I was ready to go.

I was not completely sure about what I wanted to do with my year off so I asked God to guide me in the right direction. Being privileged enough to get an education at Villanova University I knew I wanted to give back some of what I had learned to the community. I did not want to deviate from the healthcare track and I also wanted focus on improving the conditions Sierra Leone. As God would have it, I came across the recent Miss Africa USA pageant site while randomly browsing the web. I had auditioned when I was younger, but did not make it far. I figured it could not hurt to try again. The pageant did highlight my primary interests: humanity, culture, and beauty. After trying out in Washington, DC and going through a voting process, I received a notice that I was invited back as a semi-finalist.

The following day I began preparing for the next step. I chose reducing infant and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone as my platform because it posed as the largest healthcare issue affecting the women at alarming rates. I read articles, watched videos, and searched the web for all I could find on this issue and what I found was extremely heart retching. Through the process of choosing a project for this pageant I realized that this endeavor was much more than I had imagined. Addressing the issue of poor healthcare and reaching the people of Sierra Leone became a passion of mine that grew larger as I gained more knowledge of what Sierra Leoneans were experiencing.

In February 2010, the Miss Africa USA semi-finals were held in Atlanta, GA. I met many amazing young ladies, all with tremendous talent and all with great zeal for their respective countries. We shared our passions, exchanged laughs, and many memorable moments together. The weekend consisted of a ladies night where we learned more about what to expect in the competition, our project presentation, a video shoot, a photo shoot, and the evening ball. It was a fun and exciting weekend. There were definitely times when I was overwhelmed; however, I endured because I knew that this pageant was not just about me and my personal gain, but to reach out to people whom are in very much need of aid.

Two weeks later I received another notice informing me that I would be a finalist for the pageant representing Sierra Leone in DC this July. So here I am today launching my campaign The New Hope Movement. Taking a year off from school was a life altering decision, but I would not take it back for the world. Many doors of opportunities have opened since and the movement has growing interest that is far beyond what I originally conceived. With all that said, I cannot take credit for anything.  All I continue to do is trust in God and allow Him to lead me down the path that He’s prepared for my life. So far, it is better than I could have ever imagined. Being that this is a pivotal moment in my life, I am excited to see where it takes me in the next year. The journey is definitely going to be a memorable one.              

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Junior Prince-Williams ( London )
4/1/2010 00:33:06

I am extremely delighted by your achievement. It goes to show that Sierra leonean's are naturally beautiful. Both your mum & dad have beautiful genes... here's the proof !! Go girl go

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4/1/2010 01:35:18

With people like you around - we collectively can make big differences and create real change. I know it has been said many times before but it is so true that “we should be the change we wish to see in the world”. You have taken some pretty big steps in the right direction already! Keep on doing what you are doing my sister.

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Frenard Ganda
8/16/2010 09:49:58

There is no believing what is happening here and just going about your business. Sierra Leone is in a time warp and we need to up and reconnect ourselves to the new era and improve our whole approach to doing thins as a nation.
Let's start from the bottom and head straight up. Let us join hands and support Miss Kabia and the rest of the pertinent forces to advance this cause.
Ganda

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