EA Dialogue Series
True, Huston. Got any ideas yourself?
My name is Bathseba Moraa Ratemo but I just go by as Sheba. I am 23 years old and just completed my undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Pwani University in Kilifi, Malindi County. I was born with the condition cleft palate and had to undergo surgery at a very young age to correct my disorder. The surgery was not entirely successful since it affected my speech and made me stammer. Encouragement from my mother pushed me to improve my speech and I am now speaking continuously though I still have speech problems to people not aware of my condition. This part of my life is difficult to write because it was my worst experience with having to undergo mockery from my friends and classmates at a young age. Although I had many self-esteem problems, one of my primary school teachers mentored me and counselled me on special plans that God has for all of us. This is when I realised that people in the world are struggling with real problems like drug abuse, alcoholism, lack of school fees among others. Everybody has a past but what matters is the future and decisions that a person makes.
My high school life was probably my stepping stone to knowing my true self. I joined high School in 2007 to 2010 in Mt Laverna Girls Secondary School in Nairobi. I was social and participated in sports activities and clubs. I was a serious member of the Wildlife and Mathematics club. I played football and enjoyed supporting other teams during tournaments, I guess I found my rhythm and made new friends. I was in a secondary school with low student population which helped me in making friends and cured my shy nature. I finished my high School in 2010 and joined the University in January 2012. I was studying in a new environment in coast and had some personal fears on how people would react to my speech problem but to my relief, I made life friends who always treated me equally and never judged me. It is hard to describe my personal history with even many pages but the tough times in my life help explain what mentorship can do to a person. I am a social person and have learnt that during my student leadership role in 2013 at the University. University life for students is where hard choices have to be made. I learnt the importance of budgeting and balancing books with social life. I have now cleared my final year in April 2015 and awaiting graduation later in the year.
I have been able to be part of different types of Organisations and participated in trainings and workshops. During my University years, I joined the Kenya CAT (Climate Action Team) that has several environmental and social activities like community clean ups and making of solar lamps. Through this group I was able to be trained by LED Safari from Switzerland on making solar lamps from waste materials especially plastics that are thrown in the environment. This project was part of the initiative of our group to provide cheap solar lamps to the society and avoid over reliance on electricity that is not in remote areas. The Naivasha group of Kenya CAT have a successful business of mass production of solar lamps that are very affordable. This year I joined the Ujana Initiative that has various activities in Nairobi area. We participate in talent improvement in areas of modelling, singing, poetry and also mentor local high schools like Ruiru Secondary School. I always believe in youth groups and am still a new member of Project Academy that is involved with youth interested in literature writings in terms of short stories, articles and novels.
In summary, I am a diverse person who tries to be involved with different organizations and am a believer in networking. The success of a person is determined by planning one’s life and taking baby steps to achieve these goals. At the moment I am a student at KCA University where I am continuing with my CPA section 3 studies. I am also training with Africa Waste and Management Centre (AWEMAC) to be an expert in Environmental Impact Assessment and Auditing. The organization deals with offering environmental consultancy services and training to different students with an interest in environmental careers.