My Saturday Scholarship Story – Odam Ebokpo

Thank you Odam for your delightful, inspirational story and for the lovely pictures. Wishing you the very best in Paris. Please do an article for us on how to seek and apply for scholarships.

 

It was different kind of Saturday. Unlike my typical weekends where I wake up with the energy of a Laundromat, this Saturday had me lying in bed thinking of my life. We all have these days; when we feel like we have been stationary for too long. The snoozed alarm rings for the umpteenth time, I bang it down. It did nothing but remind me of the scholarship award exam I had to write by 10am. Lord knew I had written way too many; at this point I was done. The alarm goes off again, this time even more irritably. Again, I banged it down and took of the battery. I went back to my delusional world, wondering why my plans never materialized. Maybe I needed something to push me, maybe  I needed a new connection, maybe I needed something different, maybe I…….. Oh no, wait! It was right before me! The alarm clock kept telling me to stop wailing and get going for my exam and all I did was bang it down!.. This was it! I got up and hurried off to the venue. I kept my fingers crossed and said my prayers. This one was going to be my last.

The phone rings. “Hello, Hello, is this Ebokpo Odam Anne”, a female voice said on the other end of the line. I had just returned from the fruit market soaked in rain and I wasn’t in the mood for any scam call. The number looked very strange so I quickly ran it through the true caller application on my phone. The number was identified; “PTDF Abuja” was on my screen. My world stopped for a second. It had been three months since the examination and like the previous ones, I had given up already. I quickly regained my sanity and spoke to the lady in a scared and shaky voice. She went on to call out my examination number and the course I had applied for; I didn’t hear a thing. “Hello, are you there? You have been selected to go to France for your studies, can you confirm if this is okay by you”. The tears dropped uncontrollably. “Yes! Yes! I will go” was all I could say. Truly, this exam was my last.

The months went by so quickly, and everything worked so smoothly it scared me. At this point, I didn’t worry about the language barrier which I was going to face. I had an open mind and I only saw it as an opportunity to learn something new. My study visa was granted and I also gained admission to do a Master’s Programme in a prestigious school in France. This was a dream come true. I often caught myself saying “Bonjour” to my reflection in the mirror; I giggled like a crazy lady. At a point, I thought I was actually losing it but then it is all beginning to make sense now.  Like every Christian faithful, I had spent the eve of year 2016 in prayers and deep reflection. I remember praying for an overwhelming miracle. Little did I know my miracle would leave me saying “Je ne sais pas , je ne sais pas pourquoi”

It’s been eight months since I arrived in Paris. It has been the most unpredictable and exciting ride of my life. I have grown from the lost girl who could only mutter a word of French to this excited lady who speaks it anyway. I have come to appreciate the little things that make the world go round. I do not see myself as the girl from the developing country but as one who gets her act together no matter the circumstances life whips on her table. Being in a country with welcoming borders, I plunged right into a world of diversity where people of different beliefs and socio-cultural backgrounds converge with the sole purpose of living the Parisian dream, soaking in the rich heritage, unchanged through time. My environment is eclectic; the educational system is well-rounded, the fashion streets have lights that never dim, unending aromas that stream from restaurants/cafes, the business world never stops like the  trains on which the French inter-state trade and commerce owe its allegiance to- I could go on. It has been a massive adventure, one that I never take for granted.

Sometimes, it gets a bit hazy in my head. Sometimes fear creeps in and I wonder what the future holds for a girl like me in the big city. But then I remember my overwhelming miracle. It wasn’t meant to scare me, it was to give me a different perspective of things. It is my constant reminder to never give up. So here I am, walking through this beautiful street called life….

“Je ne sais pas, je ne sais pas pourquoi”« I do not know, I do not know why »….

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