Poet spreading her wings in Asia
• By Rosalia David
POET and Miss Teen Walvis Bay 2017 Aina Nghipuilepo is putting Namibia on the map through poetry while taking part in charity events in Thailand where she is currently based.
This week, Confidente sat with the 21-year-old who is pursuing her studies in International Business Management (IBM) at Stamford International University in Bangkok to get a glimpse on how she juggles her schooling, modelling, charity and poetry.
RD: You are passionate about poetry, where does your inspiration come from?
AN: If we allow ourselves to be distracted by life less but observe life with all its distractions we will come to realise that life itself inspires. Many times I am inspired by what surrounds me; friends, family, and the breeze when I am walking down the street or even the movement of the leaves on the trees. Other days, I’ll be burdened by the injustice of this world, the judgements of society on the appearance of people and the expectations of life. Some days I’ll find myself on a rollercoaster of emotions about what life has served me, the losses I’ve experienced, the pains and silent grieves yet I manage to rise. This is just a few of the many inspirations in my life. My greatest inspiration is the creator of all things, God.
RD: What are some of the social issues faced by the youth in general that you would like to tackle through poetry?
AN: My poetry is based on my experiences in life. I believe the best way to tell a story and make a difference is to tell your own story. In life we all share pain, loss, love, joy, insecurities, depression, loneliness, abuse and so much more that plays with our emotions. As much as I always write about this I desire to communicate political and social issues, shifting economies and education inequalities through my poetry.
RD: How do you juggle school, community work and poetry?
AN: I would be lying if I said I am always juggling it all perfectly. I have come to learn that I cannot juggle anything else unless I ensure that my body, mind and emotions are balanced.
All this requires planning and prioritising what I feel is essential to my life at the moment. Most importantly I have a strong community that reminds me and encourages when times get tough.
RD: Do you have plans to pursue your modelling career?
I don’t have a fixed plan yet, but I do believe that when the opportunity comes knocking at the door, or when the window of opportunity is there to pursue my God gifted talent I will definitely do so. I don’t know where I would be three to four five years from now with my modelling career but I see myself doing it in my life again.
RD: What would you say are some of the challenges faced by foreign students in other countries?
AN: Being a foreigner in a conservative country is a challenge. It’s difficult to prove where you are from when the people have never heard of or even seen your passport before; having to live with the fear of walking to the shop without your passport can get you to a waiting cell at the police station. Any visa complications can easily get you deported and the stress of not having any official representation within the country, even in times of emergency. On the lighter side of challenges, moving to a new country comes with adapting to new food, culture, language and even weather conditions which can be very uncomfortable in the beginning and for others it can have a longer time span.
RD: Give a brief breakdown on your experience being a student in Thailand away from home and family?
My journey has not been smooth. It has been a bumpy road. Being in an unfamiliar environment has its pros and cons but the way we navigate through it makes a huge difference.
I learned that the best way for me to make a success of this, is to embrace what this new environment has to offer without losing myself. It has been the best decision I’ve made. It’s almost like embracing was the key to greater vision in a country of limitations.
In the past three years I’ve learned more about human trafficking than in my whole life working with A21 through their outreach programmes; teaching children about human rights, consent and how to be vigilant. Partnering with Nightlight through my passion for modelling.
As a means of support they were able to publish their website and showcase the jewellery that I modelled. I had the honour and privilege to be part of brand new fashion wearing designs by Neelam Ashley, an Indian designer. I did not allow myself to be limited and boxed based on my studies but I realised I had a responsibility to add value to my studies. All the activities mentioned are a contribution to combating human trafficking.
RD: Why did you decide to be part of this particular organisation, AsiAfrica Foundation?
AN: As a foreign student from Namibia (Africa) studying in Thailand (Asia), I came to identify numerous gaps between the two continents throughout my journey, spanning from cultural dynamics, business and opportunity creation. AsiAfrica Foundation was exactly what I needed. People that understood the importance of inclusivity with understanding, people with a passion to educate on what has been disregarded and importantly people who understood that the African child has the ability to soar to greater heights and are driven to make it happen.
RD: What is the mandate of the organisation and when was it established?
AN: Asia-Africa Foundation (ASAFO) was registered in Thailand on 11 August 2009, to create an organisational structure dedicated to the promotion and expansion of the cooperation between Africa and Asia.
Based on the Asian experience, there is a consensus of the international community that support and assistance must be given to Africa to deliver on its development challenges.
There was a need to establish a non-profit, non-governmental and neutral organisation that would play a key role in raising funds, spearheading initiatives, promoting activities, facilitating cooperation, editing and publishing, implementing and monitoring Asia-Africa cooperation programme in connection with partners.
Legally ASIAFRICA is juristic a non-profit, non-governmental, independent and neutral organisation.