A lover of African and English literature, a Selena Gomez fan, and feminist, Agatha regularly defies expectations, refusing to conform to roles created for her. She decided early on in her life, “I want to avoid getting caught up in the track of what society expects of me and discover who I actually am.” She grew up in a staunchly religious family, but her independent nature clashed with some of the expectations placed on her by the church, so she doesn’t identify as much with that culture anymore. In her words, “hairstyles or what types of food you eat don’t matter as much as the attitude of your heart and your actions. The important thing is to have a well-balanced life.” Her voice is unapologetically her own.
Taking a job at Elephante seemed like one more step toward her goal of self-fulfillment. “My role is unique; I am a link between upper and lower-level staff and one of the faces of Elephante to the community,” she describes. “I always strive to welcome everyone who comes in; I don’t want customers or NGO partners to think this place is purely run for and by mzungus*.” Other Elephante staff have a quiet, warm respect for Agatha. She exudes confidence and has gradually filled her role with more responsibilities and relative autonomy. She doesn’t want (or need) a lot of oversight and holds herself to high-performance standards. Many of Elephante staff come from different tribal backgrounds and grew up speaking different languages at home, and Agatha shares that she views herself as “responsible for helping to build an inclusive and diverse culture and for encouraging openness toward each other’s differences.”
The culture of open communication between supervisors and subordinates is relieving; she can freely discuss anything that could be beneficial for the organization. “To meet someone with an open mind, who receives new ideas with readiness, is the kind of platform I was looking for,” she says, smiling. Next up: marriage and going back to university for a postgraduate degree, both of which suit her adventurous spirit.
*mzungu is a Swahili word for “aimless wanderer,” usually applied to a white foreign national.