EL 104, CRN # 34619
Word Count: 579
Moving to Africa for a career opportunity can bring many surprises for a foreigner. Jacqueline Novogratz turned down a job offer at Chase Manhattan Bank, which could have made her become successful in New York, to embark on a challenging job adventure in Africa, but she had no idea of what to expect over there. In her book The Blue Sweater, Novogratz talks about her working experience in Africa. Despite all the difficulties she faced in Africa, there are three characteristics that motivated Novogratz to pursue her goal of working there: curiosity, compassion, and determination.
First, Novagratz’s curiosity had been evident since she was young. When she was a child, her uncle gave her a sweater, which had an African motif across the front that made her ...view middle of the document...
Talking with her friend Marcelina in Kenya, she found out that Marcelina couldn’t open a bank account. She promised to give her the minimum balance of $50 if she agreed to save regularly (17). They went to the bank, and despite the inappropriate behavior of the Kenyan bank manager, they finally opened an account, and Marcelina was grateful. Another milestone occurred when she visited Uganda to meet Cissy, one of the nation’s first women bankers. “The trip to Uganda renewed and strengthened my sense of urgency. I wanted to feel useful,” Novogratz stated (19). It was obvious that she felt empathy for the African women and wanted to help them.
Finally, Novogratz was determined to achieve what she believed in. When she got back to Germany after an uneventful stay in Cote d’Ivoire, she got into a major argument with her mother. “I hear that,” Novogratz told her mother, “but at the same time, you and I both know I won’t be able to face myself if I don’t go back to Africa and do something positive. So far, I’ve done nothing but fail there”(30). Moreover, when Veronique, whom she had previously met at a conference for women and credit, walked into her office, she did not hesitate to accept Veronique’s request to start a credit program for women in Rwanda. Even though she did not fully comprehend exactly what Veronique wanted her to do, Novogratz was excited, and she said, “I felt a surge of gratitude and a chance to prove myself” (35). Novogratz started to read a bit about Rwanda. She mentioned, “I was determined to stay in Rwanda until I had made something happen”(35).
All in all, Jacqueline Novogratz’s curiousity, compassion, and determination, made it possible for her to stay committed to her objective of working with microfinance organizations in Africa. She left New York for Africa to be of service to the poor women in some African countries. Novogratz proved to the world that knowing and using your personal strengths can lead to great achievement.