Fellow blogger Noëlla Lumbala contacted me to carry out a short interview so to speak. Being the lovely person that she is, I could not refuse and I was very flattered might I add. I love that she blogs both in English and French; in fact, I am
slightly jealous positively envious lol. That my friends, is a craft I wish I possessed. Do check out her blog Mwana Mboka ( French: Enfant du pays / English: Child of one’s country) English is so lame sometimes, completely kills the juicy meaning of some foreign colloquial terms. Here comes nothing….
5 questions with… Madeleine Laini
Madeleine a london based multitask lady gave us her time to discuss her life, goals and upcoming projects.
In 5 questions with… Madeleine, you will see the personification of accomplishments and boldness. See why…
Good morning. My name is Madeleine Laini, a 28 year old chica born in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) living in London. 6 months ago I worked for the WSP Group; a global design engineering and management consultancy firm that specializes in Property, Transport, Infrastructure, Industry & Environment projects. My role as a Properties & Facilities adviser in short was to deliver a range of customer-focused facilities support and premises services by serving as a point of contact and liaison between staff and contractors.
Why did you decide to leave?
After three years of working there I realised that Facilities Management wasn’t for me. So I was happy to leave to do ME. It was the best decision for me at the time.
I think that it is so easy to get caught up with the mechanics of society that very easily we lose ourselves. There are so many responsibilities and pressures to carry, especially when living in a fast-paced city such as London. From lifestyle choices, to paying rents, mortgages, utility bills; worrying about the economy, life becomes monotonous, stressful and mundane. In essence it becomes a task. So I wanted a little moment to reflect and reassess my life choices and exploit the buried talents and capabilities which were beseeched onto me. Just one minute of my life to inhale and exhale
What drives you? Where do you get the passion?
In addition, strong work ethics, ambition, challenges, dreams, wants, needs, other people’s successes also drive me and inspire me daily. Wanting the unattainable because I firmly believe that in life you get what you put in. The only limitation that you have is yourself. So I keep my eyes on the prize.
My passion comes from God and my faith (Christianity), from my surroundings, my ‘support-system-elite-circle’ also known as ‘my loved ones’ – But generally I like to take the positives in situations and not wallow in self-pity/denial and all those motivation-killers.
How would you describe your relations with the African Continent? (do you visit your relatives often? cook African food? speak one of the languages? wear African attire?)
AFRICA is where my heart is. It is where I will retire when I am old and grey. I have such
RELATIVES: I have recently returned from a 4 weeks vacation in DRC, escaping the stresses of cosmopolitan, mundane London life J. I go every 2-3 years to see family and smell the pollution in the air whilst being trapped in suffocating traffic jams for hours! Lol, It is a love-hate relationship really.
LANGUAGES: What I love most about my people is their unapologetic ways of speaking Lingala (DRC national language) in public places regardless of who is listening or understanding lol. Heck, some even tweet and Facebook-update in Lingala (myself included). I have yet to see my other fellow African nationals doing the same thing in cyberspace. I also speak French and although I fully understand Swahili, I only speak it moderately.
FOOD: A Congolese (and I presume African/ Black) girl is taught to cook from a very young age. From your fufu , pondu (cassava leaves), madesu (red or white kidney beans) to your stews, roasts, chicken-this-&thats etc; I got it covered! *clicks fingers lol
CLOTHES: The ‘Liputa’ (traditional African print wear) is a staple ensemble for a Congolese female.
If your aunty or grandma did no buy it for you while you visited them on holiday in DRC, then you may trust your local Congolese church to organise a convention where the ‘liputa’ is worn as the theme uniform for the members. Or better yet, a friend’s/ relative’s traditional wedding and even funeral; I cannot do without it.
Please tell me about charities or foundations you are sponsoring or would like for us to discover
I have been involved in charitable/ community groups since I was
15 years old. coordinating, implementing and part-taking in numerous government-funded activities whether it be organizing a project, leading a group of young people etc. I have an insatiable
appetite to apply and share my knowledge and experience with others. I love to bring out the best in people, provide opportunities for them to grow and let them realize their true potential. Everybody needs a big sister sometimes right?
There are numerous not-for-profit organizations that I like (listed on my blog), but those close to my heart are currently Save The Congo(STC) and Common Cause. Both organizations are based in London and do an amazing job at lobbying and exposing the root causes of the conflict and rape epidemic in DR Congo. It is led by Congolese people for the Congolese people, with no gimmicks and no fancy billboards and campaigns which do not reach grassroots organizations.
Do check out Save the Congo‘s recent collaboration with DarkFibre on Unwatchable campaign. A short film produced to lobby the EU to introduce a legislation that will force companies to disclose where their raw materials are obtained. The video is gruesome and explicit. Children should not watch it.Please support by signing the petition. SIGN THE PETITION
How can one get involved with these organizations?
www.savethecongo.org also on Facebook and twitter @savethecongo
Please tell me about your current work /projects and future plans?
I have been a busy-bee for the past months. I am working for an organization called IDAP, a media company which organises events, broadcasts news and provides industry opportunities to disadvantaged groups. We have a lot of great projects in the pipeline that we are working on. We aim to provide a platform through our news channel IDAPTVCONGO (ITC), offering a cultural-educational programming format which will highlight issues plaguing the African-Caribbeans and the African Continent.
I have also partnered with two friends to set up Kiyana; Our first product range are the Kiyana Wraps; our own line of African head wraps with a modern-day twist. I love to wrap my hair, not only is it beautiful (which is what kiyana means in Swahili); but it keeps me connected to my roots. I am the creative person and they are the push and kick behind the brand. This is our little baby in the making!
Apart from that I have been partnering with other organisation on projects and embracing life. I find being idleness to be a difficult task; maybe I have a problem lol
Any advice for the younger generation?
- Do not be afraid to take risks, the worst that could happen is you stumbling and falling but there are plenty of bandages (metaphorically speaking) to deal with obstacles and challenges.
- Educate yourselves, whether it be through self-help books, at work, academically, from parents, grand-parents; there is an African proverb which states that “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground’ ask them questions so that they may provide venues through which their wisdom and experiences can be shared. Read.
- Be rational, patient and attentive. Listen to the little voice inside, it is God’s way of speaking to us.
Thank you Madeleine. Make sure you visit her blog and support these valuable organizations.
pictures courtesy of Madeleine Laini