Heaven Gained an Angel

In the last seven months or so I have been battling with so much but I wasn’t expecting to face a loss of a loved one. Life is mysterious and also scary. I remember sitting down and planning a surprise trip after seven and plus years without seeing my biological family. I couldn’t make it to every place I wanted to go too but I had promised each one of my relatives that I will go visit them one at a time; that was summer 2019.

The very last time we hugged

I had a blast summer with a few of my relatives and had promised them to be back soon. Never in million ways have I thought that I was going to be coming back for a funeral. Today marks a month, the pain is unbearable. I have been trying to put my words together, but couldn’t find where to start. While I realize that God has the first and last say upon our lives, and understand that this is a phase that we all have to go through at some point, I felt like it was too soon. I feel like God robbed me!!!

I can’t go back through my entire childhood story but all I can say is that during this new decade I was looking forward to more fun father-daughter time so bad. I was hoping he would be part of my graduation, walk me down the aisle at some point in the future, I was hoping to hear his voice in my ears whispering how proud of me he is. I was looking forward to paying him back for all that he had sacrificed so that I would be where I am today!

When I heard the news about his health conditions and how things were getting complicated, I remember kneeling to God asking Him to not call PAA too soon. The connection between us was starting to get stronger and more fun than it was before. It was a Monday, I was doing a retreat. The night before I had heard that he was very sick. I woke up so early and called my sister. I had promised him that he was going to hear my voice more often than it used to be. I asked my sister to put her phone on his ear, and I spoke to him. It was hurtful to have such a conversation without hearing his gentle voice replying back. He couldn’t speak so he forced himself and mumbled to let me know that he had heard me. That same day at three in the afternoon(9 am EST) I received a lot of messages from my sister, I knew it was over. Surely, the time had stopped and he took his last breath! I didn’t know who to blame at that moment, God or the disease?! My faith dropped real quick!

He loved to go for walks and work out

I then started to feel like I should be strong for my mama and the rest of my relatives. I tried to hold my tears but I felt it coming down slowly as I opened my mouth to sing my dad’s favorite psalm which is Psalm 91 and I couldn’t! Thank God I wasn’t alone at that time; (There are always a few people we can count on every time, it doesn’t matter where we are. They always show up. Those are to be kept closer). I started to panic looking for a way I could travel and be part of the funeral with this pandemic. It was so scary to travel with all the craziness happening globally. Surely God never disappoints, in the midst of the pain and fear I was feeling in me at that moment, He made a way!

My father gave his entire time to God, all his life and God sent so many signs to confirm that he was His chosen groom. Was he perfect? No he wasn’t, but God made him pure and loved him with his imperfections. God called my dad sooner because He had to save him from this world’s pain and suffering. This gave me strength and peace, just to know that my DJ PAA (DJ as some of us called him because he loved to DJ and was so into music during his retirement) wasn’t suffering any longer.

Yes, it took me a while to figure out some of the things that he used to tell me as a little kid but it resonates with me now. We had our own disagreement but the connection as small as it might look like was good enough. He always said to me and my siblings,“ Bane murakunda gusenga, mukunde abantu, mufashanye, mufashe nabandi!” When it came to school season he always said, “mumashure naho nukuba udu koko, mukiga n’umutima wanyu wose niho muzoshika kure!” He said this out of experience because when he was a student, he had a full scholarship to study and become a pilot but it was stolen from him. So throughout our childhood, he wanted us to excel in every area of our lives and put us in good schools so we didn’t have to worry about school money. This never clicked in my head before but now it all makes sense. He was preparing me to become a better version than I was when I was 6 years old!

My Angel

Accepting that he is gone, is still hard. His absence is surely felt day and night. I have to agree that grieving is a day by day thing. Sometimes I’m happy and some other times I feel like I don’t want to talk. It’s all part of the healing process… To hear my mother share with me and my siblings how my dad had been reading the book of John before he transitioned was a waking call. He knew his destination wasn’t earthly but heavenly! It gave me hope for the future. He is just a new seed in the garden of heaven that is going to bear tons of fruits which will be a manifestation of his love and memories through us and our children and their children!

I had stopped writing for a matter of time trying to rejuvenate my mind, and in this season I chose to accept my feelings, accept that I’m not capable of carrying it alone but to understand that what happened was for my good. For all the seasons of my life on earth, there will be days I will miss your smile and jokes, our chats or gentle understanding ways. Yet, the lessons of love, prayer, kindness, discipleship, etc… will be my weapon.

The strongest woman I know

I know I won’t wait for that call every other week. I wonder what heaven is like? Does time exist there? Now you won’t have to set a time to wake up and pray at three in the morning because you get to worship 24/7. I carry you inside of me, you are never far from me, I see you in my smile and in who I grew to be. I’m sitting stuck and can’t travel back to my other home due to this pandemic. I at least get to go back to all the archives, go through all of our good and bad memories. I will carry on the baton, I might not do it as perfectly as you did but I will do my best. I will take care of mom as much as I can, bring the fun to everyone around me, I will play and call your grand babies as often as I can like you used to.

You fought hard, when cancer thought it was eating you and you won. You didn’t die in vain but you slept like an Angel after your prayer routine. As hard as it might get, as heavy as it might weigh on me, I won’t mourn for so long but I will celebrate your life and always remember the goodness of God through it all. I hope that there in heaven, you are smiling and dancing like no other. Now that we gained an Angel, pray for the rest of us so that we won’t forget the main reason why we are still on this earth; and that one day we can make you proud. Your legacy will live on forever.


Your daughter!


I was going to do an instagram post but this was a long story. So I came back to my favorite place, and maybe this is the best place for it.

I am still trying to put my words together and share what I experienced before, during and after the @transformationconference #v01!

When I was young I used to go to many retreats , where I could spend days or weeks learning the Bible. Well they never helped me truly, because I was most of the times forced to go (by my parents). I never focused on God because all I was doing was following the rules of a religion. Also how my culture really did great in pushing us to believe into religion more than seeking what God wants us to do on this earth? (That’s another story to come back to).

As I grew up and got to live by myself in the middle of nowhere, I started realizing that God never wanted us to be religious; but to be one and get to know him. God meets us everywhere at any time.

One of my New Year’s resolutions, Was to go away and give God my ears, and my time without being forced this time lol. I didn’t know how this was going to be as I had planned for one long vacation, and had many conferences to attend. so I was like well God will make a way. That was in January.

First of all, everyone who knows me knows that I love Hillsong, (like my whole childhood I grew up singing and always saw myself one time meeting Darlene Zschech, and telling her how my dream once was to join Hillsong🤣🤣). Honestly, being real, I am still looking forward to it 😂.

(we will come back to why I don’t sing that often anymore, another time. Because I don’t know! )

Anyway, as I was saying, I had been following and watching sermons from different preachers. This time, I was unexpectedly watching Michael Todd live, preaching and he made an announcement that #v01 was happening in September. For some reason I said yes, this is it! That was I believe early March. I added this to my wish list. (I had a long wish list for my 25th birthday, yes! Those who saw it, can tell you how long this list was 🤣😂)!

I didn’t even think twice y’all, I bought the ticket the second they were available online., without knowing where I will get the money for a plane ticket and a hotel. Talking about crazy Faith.

As we got closer to those dates, I started losing hope. I couldn’t see where the money was going to come from. I was dealing with family emergencies( so that was already the begin of a financial crisis), stress of finding a new apartment and getting ready for school, and many other personal issues.

So I started to make a plan B just in case. My second plan was to drive( if it happens that I don’t get a flight ticket). When I said that, some of my friends where like, you are crazy you will get tired! So I kept telling God, find a way because I need this!

Two days before the conference, I started reading comments on @transformationconference IG, other people’s testimonies. How they got their plane tickets paid for, other trying to connect to get rooms when they land in Tulsa. And I was like well, “If anyone is driving from Maine or Massachusetts hit me up, I wouldn’t mind a partner to drive with for a day and half!” I kept saying that. I immediately connected with two girls on IG who were coming to the conference, Rose And Simoine. We immediately started chatting as if we knew each other! Y’all, I was looking forward to the conference without even having a rental car nor a plane ticket yet!

A dear friend of mine who heard me lamenting was like let’s find a way. In 24hrs before the conference starts, that is when I got a plane ticket and a hotel. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever been to and felt like it should never end. To see the way I connected with many people and gained many sisters… out of the blue, they prayed for me and hugged me like they knew me. But let’s not forget we didn’t know each other at all! 😂 I still laugh because chileee, sh*t was weird and funny! But this was a movement!

I even met my favorite IG big sister, Candace. I don’t know why I’m laughing while typing this. But she is dope!

Bottom line is sometimes miracles happen when we are about to quit. Things shift differently, when we let go off all we intend to always control, especially when we know nothing can be done unless God’s hands are on it first. I have been doing my activism and advocacy, going cool places, meeting cool (celebrities) people, claiming that I pray (which I do a lot), but never sat down and listen to what God wanted to whisper in my ears, this whole time.

I am not perfect, never will be. The stress, anxiety, family emergencies, financial crisis or college struggles.., these can be overwhelming. But it’s a matter of who we run to when we need a move. We tend to get other people’s opinions more than sitting down and listening to what God has to say. Having friends around you is great, having true friends that support you and encourage you to seek more of what God is planning for you (not what religion says) is way better. Friends who accepts you as you are and carry you all the way through (even when your Beliefs aren’t the same), friends who cheer you up even when you feel like you aren’t winning. Those are the friends you need, and for me one of the greatest of all, is Jesus. This picture right here👇🏾, is the definition of my experience. The joy I cannot explain, it keeps me going daily!

Thus, the same God that made it possible for me to be at the conference is the same one that brings stability in every area of our lives. I am still discovering a lot, whatever it takes I will keep seeking. And for that, I am so dang GRATEFUL and EXCITED. Gotta try it, it works if you begin with what you have! CRAZY FAITH!

Ok bye, before I sound too religious now, and before all haters start jumping to conclusions. This is one of my testimony that happened this year. It is SO!

With Love,

Edna-Thecla Akimana


I usually write about so many things but today I’m here to tell you one thing I have learned And practiced in 2018.


As short as it sounds, it is so hard, hard to forgive. I have lived in pain for so long and if I didn’t have the strength and courage to fight for my happiness this year by forgiving the people who have hurt me the most, I wouldn’t be alive, writing and smiling at all. Good things happen when someone forgives the people who have hurt him/her in life; especially in this messy world we are living in. It also takes full bravery to reopen your heart to some of those who have hurt you. Today, I am full of love and peace.

Yes, devil, hear me loud and Clear, I’m at Peace!

I wish all my readers, followers, friends and family, to have the courage to forgive more this coming year. In the meantime, let’s close the book of 2018 with love and peace.

Be the light!


My Voice Matters

I am writing about two women I met recently who opened my eyes to activism: National Co-Chair and the Director of Community Engagement of the Women’s March: Bob Bland and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs. When I first saw these women at the International Congress of Youth Voices in San Francisco this summer, I thought they were attending the conference as mentors who had accompanied students. I didn’t think much from seeing them; yes, I did judge them a little bit, but in a good way, lol.

On the second day of the conference, I read two names on the schedule, and from these names, one of which was Bob, I didn’t know that the guest speakers were female. I sat in the second row of the auditorium, and on the stage before me were two beautiful women who were there to teach me how to strive for justice for every human race.

The Women’s March started in 2017, when a group of women gathered to protest against unfair policies regarding human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, and many other issues. Bob and Tabitha shared their experiences of that time, and then spoke about the power women have when we stand up and fight for what is right. I realized in that moment that the possibilities of change are present.

It is hard to use the skills we have as women or men, especially in today’s world where we see the ugly side of racial issues spreading into human veins like a virus. As I sat there listening to Bob Bland and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, however, I began to understand that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what times we are living in: we have to advocate for unheard voices and unwelcome faces by any means. We all were created equally, and with any means we can find we should respect each other and help each other as one race, the human race.

Bob Bland and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs explained that it can be scary and hard to start a movement or an activity, but it is always worth it at the end. Becoming an activist can be through writing poetry, blogging, or signs you hold at public events—wherever your voice can be read and heard and felt. Sometimes you might face being arrested or being denied access to enter certain places, however, this doesn’t mean you should leave where you are; instead find a place to thrive in, a place to make the world know that this is what’s happening, and it needs to end or to be fixed so that positive change can come.

Today I call myself an activist because I believe that as long as I am still alive my voice, my vote, and my life matter. Everyone deserves a chance to live freely without fear of tomorrow.

Will you be an activist and add your voice to the world you are seeing today?


A Woman Stands Firm

On August 4th, 2018, I met one of my biggest role models. I was standing still, holding my emotions. I was not ready, but I had to be. She is the type of woman each feminine youth from Africa aspires to be. The five-minute talk we had reminded me that I matter. She is known as a novelist, the author of Americanah. She is a mother. She immigrated to America like many of us. She struggled as an immigrant student like I or anyone else does nowadays. Her name is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I was not expecting her to be open-minded. I was expecting her to be the type of African who gets famous and thinks of herself as superior to others. But she is the most humble and honest human being I have never met. Besides being famous, I will tell you she is really hilarious and wise. My ICYV teammates and I are allowed to call her Aunty Chi now, lol. I could write so many pages about her, but let me tell you in just a few lines about my experience the day I met her.

When I asked her what she thinks about being a young immigrant living in America today without a biological family around she looked at me and smiled. She said, “Sister, you will see crazy things, people will laugh at you, they will always criticize you, your accent, etc. Instead of feeling grumpy, just look at where you started and where you are today, and make something good out of it. Because that will always be part of your life; people who are nice, and not nice. People who are positive minded and those who just sit and judge others.”

I asked what she thinks about being a student of feminist who immigrated to the United States from Africa, specifically, and how she overcomes criticism. She stated, “In school, people will tell you that you are not smart and will always try to downgrade you, but think of yourself as the new role model for those young people behind you who are afraid to take risks like you did, and make them believe that it is possible to do it. You need to stand firm as feminist.”

Oh, how I learned from Chimamanda about feminism! Well, should I say womanism? Is that even a word?

I am not sure what word is used when it comes to minimizing the abilities of a woman. The word that many think is appropriate to use when referring to us (women) as who we are not. I believe a feminist should be always ready to fight. It is so hard always to find a way of ending the usage of this word. Many people have changed the meaning of this word as a way of discriminating against women in general. Many acts of violence, abuses, and the depression that so many young girls are facing nowadays stems from this, and all girls and women can relate to it.

I learned from Chimamanda these things: A woman should not always explain or justify who she is. When it comes to gender, it should run in people’s mind and blood that we are equal as human being. Cheering a man’s achievement is great. However, don’t underestimate this: a women’s success is not always appreciated. A woman should not have to be ashamed of her gender or personality. Now, hear me right: a woman should not critically generalize the opposite gender as trash or use any other names. Not every man is horrible or trash.

A woman should teach those around her the power of being a woman, not to be ashamed or scared of her body. To be who she is. A woman’s dream should not be being married at a young age by force, or cooking in the kitchen for her husband only. A woman should be educated, and she should have dreams and goals. A woman should defend and protest for her rights, and a woman should speak up when necessary. A woman should always show her capabilities of doing right when negativity is exposed. A woman should turn her fear into her destiny.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is right: “We Should All Be Feminists.”



On the afternoon of Friday, August 3, 2018, our mentors greeted us and showed us the steps to take to check in to the Hilton Hotel. On my way through the lobby I saw many new faces. The excitement in the room was overwhelming. Holding my room keys in my hands, I shared the anticipation. Here I was, a young Burundian living on her own, getting to attend the first International Congress of Youth Voices. I stopped where I was and gave thanks to The Telling Room for helping me write and share and for giving me the chance to be there.

Our journey together started with a walk in the Bay Area. The sun was shining. It was a little windy in San Francisco. I felt nervous and wondered how my experience would go. I felt like we would sit and listen and share ideas, like in a class at school. Little did I know I was going to be meeting so many wonderful and wise authors, leaders, and student delegates!

We arrived at the ferry dock. As I was looking around I saw a living legend and Civil Right leader, the Honorable Rep. John Lewis, standing with us. My heart began beating like a drum. But I knew what I had to do. I had not come so far to stay silent in a moment like this one. In my mind, I was like, “I have to talk to him! I have to get some wise advice from him. It’s now or never, Thecla, it’s now or never!”

All of the delegates were boarding the ferry. My first instinct told me to make sure I was in the front row so that I would be among the first people to get to talk to the Congressman before the boat’s departure. I saw him standing, hugging each student who walked toward him. We had heard he was sick the weekend before, so having him right there among us was a huge surprise. Then it was my turn. I walked toward him, my hands shaking. He looked me in my face and said, “My daughter, it is a pleasure to see you today.”

I will carry the precious moments of talk we had with me always. After telling “The Legend” my name and where I was from, he immediately sat me down beside him. He asked me how I was feeling about moving from an unstable country only to arrive in the United States to see what is happening here today. I was honest and sincere, saying that the world is changing and the human race is ill-fated. People from the same origins fight each other like mice and cats. He stated that when he was around my age he did not like the way people were being discriminated, he did not like racial segregation. He was so passionate about saving his brothers and sisters! He explained to me that if we want a change in life then we need to understand that it all starts within our hearts.

“What do you want and what do you want people to remember you as? At the end of the day you will see people hating on you, maybe you might be beaten, or placed in jail like it happened to me multiple times. But you need to fight for what is true. You need to be the ambassador of those youth around you. Don’t hate people due to their race, gender, or what they believe in; but help them grow by lighting their ways. Fight the good fight, keep hoping. If you lose hope go back to where you started, be inspired by what you have done and keep going. You have a moral obligation to do something, speak up. Be the light and never underestimate your capability.”

His words gave me even more reason to keep representing other youth voices, the voices of those young people who are afraid to speak up due to language barriers. I loved what John Lewis stated that first day of the International Congress of Youth Voices: “Be in trouble, good trouble and necessary trouble.” It is my obligation to use my voice to speak loudly and fight for anything done in the darkness.

In using my voice in that moment, I was thrilled to give to the Honorable Rep. John Lewis A Season for Building Houses, a book that holds the stories of young writers and leaders from all around the world now living in Maine. I wrote and published my own story in that book, which The Telling Room published, and it was my great honor to bring it with me. It was my duty to represent all youth voices, and putting it in John Lewis’s hands, and sharing the pages of it with him, was a huge accomplishment for me. Because now The Legend is a reader of that book. And then we shared what it was like to be an author. He told me about his own books, and about a graphic novel he had written. I can’t wait to read his books!

I can’t imagine a better way to start off my experience in California, sharing my voice with the world’s great young writers and leaders, than by this encounter with John Lewis. To all my young writer and leader friends and delegates, do not stop working. Hard work never killed anyone, and at the end it is worth it. Use your voice, use your writing. You don’t have to be an expert but you can become one. Strive to succeed and make those around you aware that each voice matters. Be the ambassador, for all youth, for all of our voices, everywhere.


Dear Woman,

The level of your stress is elevated to a point where you have forgotten who you are. Today you are finding refuge in eating a lot, sleeping a lot, drinking a lot etc…

Your body shape is changing. You cry day and night. Depression has knocked at your door. Maybe you are thinking to commit suicide. Rumors all around. Your so called best friends betrayed you and it is

making you feel unwelcomed or unwanted.

Please allow me to remind you few things:

Let me remind how beautiful you are.

You are Created in many shapes and colors, you are unique. You are nothing to play with. Your curly, straight, short, long, or braided hair looks amazing. Your smile shines like the stars in the sky. Even in struggles you still hold it down like no other.

In your eyes I see strength, dedication, and the way you strive to survive.

Being fat or skinny doesn’t make you less of a person.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation of what you are going through. No one should know why you are gaining or losing weight, why you did divorce or break up with your significant other, why you don’t go in parties, clubs anymore, and so on…!

Let people who gossip do their unpaid jobs!

Be thankful each day. Before you leave your house every morning, look in the mirror and remind yourself these four words: I am strong, beautiful, unique and Irresistible!

You are a soldier and you have won many wars.

You should not be walking by what society is telling you.

Give yourself time to heal. Do what your heart tells you to do. Slay in that outfit, put those heels on and walk proudly.

We only have one life, have fun to the fullest if you can.

Mostly, do not let anyone astray you from your ambitions.

You deserve a second chance like everyone else.

You can love again, you can go back to school, you can get hired to that job you’ve been looking for, you can do all those things people are telling you not to give it try. Take those risks and you will thank the Almighty later.

Please do not ever forget,

You are and always will be the queen of your throne!

What If…

A toxic world they say. An ungrateful generation that lacks respect, loyalty, humility and acceptance. That is the world we are living in. A world where people are so unappreciated for who they are. Where young couples are destroying each because of insecurities. One partner is more private than the other; instead of asking what is going on, or how to help, some choose to assume: Oh (s)he is following an ex on social media? (s)he doesn’t like me anymore, (s)he doesn’t care about us anymore! Doubts, doubts and doubts!

But what if (s)he is struggling with something else?

In this century men choose to trash their significant others publicly by calling them names; yet they wonder why they changed. We are living on a planet where fights are preferred than communication. Where divorce is the first thing that comes in mind after few months of being married than solving the real issues. Easy to forget all the time and energy it took you to save for the wedding. Those vows loudly spoken in front God, families, and the whole church are also forgotten. Why wasting money and people’s time? Why just not waiting since you know well that you are not going to be able to live with that person? (Well that is me thinking..)

People are becoming more ungrateful because they choose not to see the value of those around them. They compare themselves to others. The same people so often create their own storms and get upset. We are forgetting about gratitude! Being thankful for that woman who happens to be the mother of your children, that woman who cooks for you every day so that you won’t starve. That partner who happen to be your number one supporter in a good or bad situation. We prefer to point out the other person’s mistakes before ours. We smile without smiling, we hide our true personalities.

But what if? What if people work to keep their relationship with their friend, family, or significant others going. What if people would work to be better not bitter. What if people would think twice before acting, speak without yelling, use proper language. What if people would listen to their heart before going with the flow. What if people were more kind to each than being cruel. What we ask ourselves, is it worth to fight for? Maybe it would be more select if we could remember why we started a journey in the first place.

It is Happening…

They used to tell me, “When we were your age, we had to walk miles and miles, without fancy shoes, all by ourselves to get to school. We were all smart and couldn’t fail…” Each time my parents would tell I and my siblings those words, I would laugh. It was kind of funny to me, but as I grew up I started to realize they were trying to teach us that nobody can become successful without sweating and working hard.

I was taught to always try my best, to treat everyone equally, to not give up when things get harder. I was taught to always be kind, patient and humble. I was taught to always be the example in everything I do. I was taught to always get good grades in school (… this was very hard to keep up with when I was a teenager LOL). I was taught to always leave footprints wherever I go. I did listen and I am still using everything I was taught.

And because of that, I am sitting in my little space today, honored to participate in the International Congress of Youth Voices in August. https://www.internationalcongressofyouthvoices.com

My heart is filled with excitement and Joy. I will be representing both my Motherland and my second Home Portland, Maine. Something I do not take for granted. It did take a village to get where I am. And now I get to sit with other writers from all around the world thanks to the Telling Room. There, my writing skills improved. I learned to not be afraid of representing others, to always speak from the heart. Words aren’t enough to express how grateful I am for each person who believed in me, supported me and still does.

All I can say is that I am so privileged to participate in this conference. God knows how thrilled I am to see what my future holds, for the first door of my journey has just been opened. It is happening!

I cannot wait to meet all the great guests, one of them is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and all wonderful student delegates.

I Waited…

In the darkness,

Alone and cold,

Eyes full of tears,

Heart beating like a drum,

I Sat down.

Looking at the window,

The moon lighting,

The Sky full of stars,

A little smile on my face,

Thinking it was a sign,

Maybe he will come home.

I waited, waited, and waited..

I closed the door!

I left my phone on,

Hoping he will call.

Emptiness inside my chest

Breaking me down,

Tightening my throat,

I could feel depression

knocking at my door.

I decided to let it go,

I chose peace over disappointment,

I chose strength over my weakness,

I told myself that everything is going to be ok,

I slowly fall asleep!