CA PhD scholars latest catch up

Image of all participants

Our second meeting this year on Friday afternoon on the 9th April started with some good news. The scholars were informed by Tabitha that Cambridge-Africa Strategic Advisory Group (CASAG) have approved a fund for scholars on graduation. Those wishing to return to a position in an African institute or University will be able to apply for this grant and receive £10,000 each. All that is required is a good research proposal. This announcement was met with a lot of excitement from the scholars. Tabitha answered most of the questions but some she will revert to the group later. But after a while, it was time to walk down memory lane, this time far back to childhood.

To set the mood, we looked at 3 photos of little girls – all sitting in our midst. With each photo, we had a chance to guess who the little girl was. Here are the photos, can you guess from the capture of the group meeting above who these are?


Photo 1: Just under half got this one right, the higher count being for someone else.

Photo 2: It was apparently completely obvious, ‘You have not changed one bit!’ one person said.

Photo 3: No one got this right. Age has played a trick and completely altered this individual beyond recognition, she is still not sure whether that is a good thing or not.

Each of the persons self-identified then told us a bit of their memories of childhood.

Photo 1: Remembers having the big hair, being hairy.

Photo 2: Liked being indoors all the time, playing with dolls and reading.

Photo 3: Remembered being playful before the age when cook, clean, wash was the expectation.

Then round the ‘table’ we went sharing childhood memories and I present them here as a few images.

Image one: Its evening in rural Ghana, a little girl and her cousins are seated round a fire at night listening to their grandmother tell stories. Then – her words not mine – it was all ‘ruined’ by a parent taking her away to the city where she no longer spent her days playing with her cousins but attended school. She misses that simple rural life.

Image two: Little girl with her siblings and cousins take their lanterns out in the night, at exactly 1 am to collect snails. Now a much bigger girl, she is still not sure whether the adults knew what they did and just ignored it – and if they did why they did not worry that little children were going out in the night on their own.

Image three: A little boy very attached to his mother is anxious each morning as she leaves for work. He clings to her until they get to a trench near their home, she can jump over, he can’t. So crying, he watches her leave. He soon gets on with play but he knows exactly when she will get back and is waiting by the trench, calling out for his mother when she arrives.

Many more images were shared as we all returned for a minute to a time and a place at our core. Most were funny but for one, I held my breath in dread – and I was not alone, but it all turned out OK.

I hope that we shall meet again in person soon.

Written by Tabitha Mwangi