Why I created a magazine to empower my Community?

Why I created a magazine to empower my Community?

Early 2017, I was still thinking about my trip in Congo which happened in October 2016. With a few volunteers, we organised a talk for over 600 students and a workshop for 250 kids, in the form of a drawing competition for www.esimbi.org . It was truly the most amazing experience of my life.

For the first time, I really felt the pressure of weighting every word because I understood the impact they could have on these young people’s lives. Kinshasa taught us lessons we didn’t expect. They say if you want to be a millionaire, spend time with millionaires. Your entourage will determine who you will become. Jay Shetty once said that we live in the perception that others have of ourselves. We can’t be what we have never seen. So how to bring those exceptional role models to these young people in a country that is in constant trouble? So one day, they can inspire to great things and believe that they can be who they want.

We certainly always seek the results but do we want to go through the process of what it takes to have that lifestyle. A life long commitment to being better than what surrounds us. It is hard. It is hard especially when you live in such conditions like these children in Congo. Everything is a luxury to them, a pen, a piece of paper, water.

The idea of the magazine came from all this thinking. I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give them something that they didn’t have and could keep. The fear kicked in about 5 minutes after thinking about making this magazine happen. What would the content be? Who would design it? What title could fit my thoughts? and so on…

It started to feel too complicated already. But a voice was telling me to just do it. It was necessary, not for me but for them. They needed to see people who came from similar backgrounds going places. They needed to look up to them and be inspired.

So I jumped in. I chose to call it ESIMBI ( meaning “it works” in Lingala ) like my social initiative. I then ask a work colleague who was good with graphic design to help me with a logo. My colleague and I started to do research about Congo, the history, the forest, the artists, the charities, etc…. and what we found was amazing. Tons of content.

www.esimbimagazine.com

 

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My biggest fear was not to find things to talk about. No content to captivate whoever would read this free magazine that was supposed to be a one off. We simply wanted to give the final product to the schools and libraries. But our audience was larger than that. In fact, it was global. So the project ended up catering a niche of people hungry for knowledge. They want education over entertaining, so our goal became bigger.

I am thankful to every one who helped us on this journey. Especially the ones who told me not to do it because it would ruin my fashion career. This project helped me grow into a better version of myself without even knowing it and I simply hope that this magazine will keep going strong. The african community has a narrative to rewrite and we want to contribute to that immensely.

Impression

 

Impression

 

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What should you do with a day to spend in Sharm El Sheikh?

What should you do with a day to spend in Sharm El Sheikh?

A day in Egypt…..

My first time staying in Egypt more than a few hours has finally arrived. I landed at 2am on Monday 10th December and the airport was deserted. Fabulous. 🙂 No queue for the passport check, no queue for nothing.

My car was booked and waiting for me outside. A lovely man had my name on a board to take me where I stayed, the Cleopatra luxury resort and it was so beautiful!!!! Much better than the google pictures I saw when trying to do my research. The hotel was only 15 minutes away so a very easy ride.

So a picture is sometime better than a thousand words so here’s my travel diary.

Cleopatra Luxury Hotel

The sea and the God

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Cleopatra Luxury resort in Sharm El Sheikh is a beach front resort located in the Sinai peninsula in the amazing Nabq Bay. The bay is on a promontory overlooking the straits of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba.

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Poolside

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The beach

 

South Sinai desert

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Let’s chase the waterfalls in Zongo, Condo RDC.

Let’s chase the waterfalls in Zongo, Condo RDC.

When I first heard there were waterfalls in Congo, I couldn’t believe it. Then a feeling of shame came because again, I realised that there was still a lot of things I didn’t know about my own country.

It made me sad so I decided that for my next trip, I will surely become a tourist in my country. This October, I visited Congo for a modelling competition we were working on so I finally planned this dream escapade with a friend.

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We left around 10am for a four hours drive. It was so exciting but really I had no idea what to expect. We were lucky as there wasn’t much traffic, and traffic jams in Congo lasts for hours… We went through rural villages, small towns, markets and mountains.

Although I was born in Kinshasa, This was the first time I was in a real village with its school. No roof, but the basics, benches and a board. It was a strange feeling. We are so spoilt in the world I live in. We complain about the water being too hot, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the places we are at. I may never know what it is like to carry water on my head for kilometres, waking up at 4am to make that route, building a house with one room to live with my whole family. Saying that it humbled me feels cliche and wrong because I left the 5 stars hotel I was staying in to go to a private villa in the middle of the jungle. And this is a blessing. A thousand thoughts were running through my head. Presidential elections are coming soon in Congo, I didn’t see a single thing about it through that drive. How do these people hear the news? How do they get electricity?

So many questions gave my friend a headache so I decided to stop so I could at least enjoy the trip I was dreaming about for so long.

We arrived at the property and were surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and the whispers of the river.

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Faune and Flore in Zongo, Congo

Our private villa had 2 ensuite bedrooms and a big living room. Also 2 additional outside showers (literally) and a balcony with a view on the river. It felt amazing. No phone reception at all. We changed to meet the guide who would take us to the waterfalls. Prior to that we ordered our dinner for the evening. I took all my favourite local food and fell like I was in heaven for real.

Our breakfast veranda 

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There was a swimming pool as well and of course I had to put my feet in there. We arrived around 3pm as we stopped a few times and our guide was waiting for us at 4pm.

The swimming pool

 

The forest and the waterfalls

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I highly recommend this peaceful retreat for yourself or with your family. Congo is not only a magic place, but it is a town that Congo should cherish within its cultural heritage.

If You have been, please share your experience with me with your comments. Happy Sunday 🙂