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All about my life
I've gotten a chance to participate in so many different cultures and realities which have
definitely broadened my outlook on life. Maybe the fact that I'm already a mixture of cultures (my
father is from Senegal, which is in West Africa) have given me the ability to open up to other
My name is Mame. I was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 24th 1991, making me the
fourth oldest of five children. Though I was born in Chicago, I was brought up in a variety of
different places and cultures, which adds to the ingredients of what makes me who I am and what I am
today. I must say that some of my earliest childhood memories were of a group of adults that I
considered like my parents, teaching me, along with a group of children I considered like my
brothers and sisters something we call foundation knowledge. Foundation knowledge is knowledge that
is needed to build a strong foundation. My parent's homeschooled me throughout most of my life,
even when I attended school elsewhere, I always came home to a learning environment. I can clearly
recall reciting major nations of the world, chemical elements, numbers of place values and many
other educational facts; ever since I learned how to talk. My parents, who are both teachers, always
taught me how to study and they raised me to be a leader.
At the age of 7, I started going to Betty Shabazz Charter School located on the South Side of
Chicago. I started off in the first grade, but after a month or so, my teacher placed me in second
grade. I was an A student. It wasn't long before I left that school due to my family relocating.
In the year 1999, I traveled overseas for the first time that I can remember, to Dakar, Senegal
which is in West Africa. There we had a two-story house, which some rooms that it contained were
rented out to others, so it was also a guest house. In the four months that I was there, I quickly
emerged into the culture, grew close to my family on that side and I even picked up some French and
some of their traditional dialect called Wolof. However, four months flew by and it was time to go
back to Chicago, but it was not long before I returned for 10 months this time.
I had wonderful experiences in Dakar, Senegal. There I attended Dar Al Koran, which was a somewhat
strict Arabic school. I learned some Arabic, French and regular second grade schoolwork. I was then
transferred to a school right down the street from where I was staying called Nafisatou Niang. At
that school, I did half a school year in third grade.
In 2002, we relocated to Accra, Ghana, which is also in West Africa. Ghana is an English speaking
country. I and my siblings started going to Ghana Institute of Languages, where I took French and
Arabic. At the end of that course, I received two certificates and proficiency in both languages.
After that accomplishment, I then went back to visit my family in the states and then I returned to
Accra, Ghana in 2004. I started attending Christ the King, a middle school in Accra, Ghana. I
learned French there. I was determined to learn French, and with time, I did. Soon after we packed
up our things in Ghana and drove our van to Bamako, Mali which is also in West Africa. The trip was
long and exhausting, after a week straight on the road, we finally made it to our destination.
Once there, my parents enrolled me in Lycee Soundiata Keita, a French high school. Bamako, Mali
which is also in West Africa is a French speaking country, the main reason why I was able to master
French. The classes were very difficult because I started in 10th grade and all of the classes were
given in French.
My parents founded their own learning Institution at our house, the name of the school is
E.P.I.I.A.D. They hired trained teachers, and not long after, I was a student at my parents'
school, which was not easy. I had so many responsabilities. After the first school year, I, my
sister and a friend of ours volunteered to teach the kindergarten, which was the highest populated
class in the entire school.
English classes were held in the evenings for adults. We always had a full house. Most evenings on
the weekdays, after the children from my kindergarten class went home, I would usually sit at the
front desk as the secretary. I gave information to people who were interested in registering
themselves for the evening English courses or their children for the earlier classes. I collected
money also, and posted up notifications for the students, all while still following a strict
curriculum of home study put together by Global Institute of Leadership.
Eventually, our school opened an English Club, where programs were organized and everything was done
in English. We organized fashion shows, plays, dance performances, movie days and recently, our
English Club came out with its very own newspaper. I must say, I'm very proud of my school and
what it has become.
While I was in Bamako, Mali, an auntie of mine who is very skilled in fashions and designs, helped
my sister and I with fashion designing and taught us how to cut, measure sew and draw out our ideas.
At one point, we even came up with a clothing line called Edentity. Another auntie of mine from
Chicago came to Bamako, Mali and we took a road trip to Timbuktu, some journey that was! I'll
never forget the sandstorms, the rivers we had to walk through, and the flat tires, but when I think
about the fun we had being together, the kindness of the people towards us, the things I saw and
learned and the pictures I took, it was definitely worth it.
June 2008, I received my high school diploma from Global Institute of Leadership and now I'm
looking for bigger things. I want to major in Journalism, learn a few more languages and travel a
few more places.
I've had an interesting and exciting life so far, at just the age of 17. I look forward to future
achievements and I have great expectations for myself.