Bonjour à tous, my name is Nashipai Mepukori. I was born and raised in Nakuru, a medium size agricultural and industrial town in Kenya. I am of the Maasai community. My Maasai culture has been a big part of who I am and how people have perceived me from a young age. The Maasai are famous for their dress, decorum and way of life. Although I did not dress in cultural attire, I was singled out for having a Maasai name and heritage. It was then that I began noticing the difference in people’s cultures and histories. These differences sparked a curiosity and the beginnings of my interest in diversity.
Growing up, I fell deeper and deeper in love with diversity. In January 2007, I joined Alliance Girls’, a high school that admits students from every province in Kenya. This is where I learnt to truly appreciate people, and more so, to love their stories. My four years at Alliance were surrounded with a multitude of cultures, languages, and beliefs which I observed, relished, and remembered. It was nothing like I had experienced in my hometown Nakuru. I was particularly interested in learning how different communities perceived Africa, leadership, corruption, change, success, and happiness.
In September 2010, I was fortunate to get admission into the African Leadership Academy (ALA), a pan-African institution in South Africa. ALA brings together young people from around Africa to live together, grow together and strengthen their passion for the African continent. Diversity had been taken to another level. My peers came from more than thirty different countries in Africa. Their stories brought life to the countries and cultures they represented. And they taught me more than I could ever learn reading books or doing research on the Internet.
On December 15th 2011, I received my admission letter to Duke University. At Duke, diversity is on an international level. The opportunity to live and study with students from around the world is an invaluable asset and the reason why I am humbled to be in the midst of such heritage, history and culture. Being a Baldwin Scholar is especially a blessing for me, and an opportunity to interact even more closely with diversity. Joining this family of passionate women encourages me to have an impact on the people around me and leave a mark in the world. I look forward to four years of personal growth, intellectual stimulation and extensive networking.
“By three ways we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is the noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest"- Confucius.