Happiness Is A Choice – Salamatu Nanna Adam


I met Nanna during my employment as a tutor at AIMS in Rwanda. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:

Good to have you on board Nanna:
Thank you Winnie

Who is Nanna?
My name is Salamatu Nanna Adam, I come from Ghana. I am currently working with Ghana Revenue Authority as an analysis intern. I analyse revenue figures for policy formulation and implementation.

Take us through your life journey:
I was born and raised in Ghana, Ashanti region. I am the second born in a family of 7. I had my basic education at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Primary and Junior high schools in Kumasi, Ghana. I proceeded to St. Louis Senior High School also in Kumasi where I had my secondary education. In 2011, I transitioned into the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where I pursued a bachelor in Actuarial science. In 2015 after my graduation, I served one year for the mandatory national service where I was posted to Krobo Girls Senior High school. I performed both administrative and academic duties at this post. I was offered a scholarship to study a masters in Mathematical Science at AIMS Rwanda immediately I was done with my service. I took this up and graduated with the first cohort in June 2017. After graduation, I have been in my home country Ghana, working with vulnerable women groups in community based projects up until my recent employment. My major aspiration is to be a self sufficient woman, capable of creating positive lasting change wherever I find myself.

What should we know about you outside work?
On the outside, I look like a gregarious person, but once in a while, I like to stick to myself and observe the people and things around me. I enjoy spending time with my family and loved ones.

Tell us about some inspirations and challenges you have encountered along the way.
If there is one remarkable thing this life has thought me, it is that, one has to make the most of every opportunity that he/she is afforded. If you want something, you need to literally “chase” it with hard work and determination. I have learnt that “intellect” alone, is not enough. If you want to stand out, you need to find that one thing that makes you peculiar ( in a good kind of way). For three years now, I am learning that everyone’s ultimate success story is different and there is no need to compare ones progress in life to that of others. Sometimes you can’t help feeling a little left behind, but you need to constantly remind yourself that your final destination in life is different and therefore you are on the right path if you know you are genuinely putting in your best at what you find your hand on. I am a religious person, therefore I believe in Gods timing complemented with hard work.

My greatest challenge as a young adult has been in finding stability and moving in the direction I want my life to be. I brooded a lot on how a lot of the things I wanted was not going the way I wanted. I was unhappy with myself most times. It took me the dedicated constant encouragement of a friend, a motor accident and an overnight stay in the hospital to develop an attitude of enjoying the little things of life and dwelling more on the essence of life and not the superficial. I must say, it felt like a gamble when I consciously decided to go on this path, but I have never regretted it. I have not found fulfillment yet, but I have enough strength and courage for each day. I feel better about my future, and I see it more brightly from here.

As a woman, society does constrain us with its expectations of us especially in our African setting. After school, you get a job, find a husband and raise a family, picture perfect life. Well, it’s not so bad. I mean almost every woman wants this life. But it doesn’t mean a woman can’t strive for more and have it all. I believe women just like their male counterparts, have the capability to attain whatever it is they desire to do, whether it is in academia, business or you name it. Now hold that thought, before you start rolling your eyes and dismiss what I have to say as “one of those feminism shenanigans”, I do not by this interview say that women are equals to men, I do believe that each gender has its abilities that make it unique. I would like to encourage everyone to pursue whatever it is that brings them fulfillment. Life is worth more when you self actualize. It is pure joy to see and enjoy the fruits of what you toil for. Its exhilarating! Better to try and fail than not try and live a life of never knowing what you could have actually achieved. And while you make up your mind about going after that dream, you should know that giving up midway is never an option. The bigger the obstacles before you, the more determined you should be to win. It’s okay to break down and cry once in a while when you get disappointed, but don’t wallow in self pity. The cliché “what you believe is possible is what happens for you” has never been any less true.

You must have received some awards and achievements in your life. Tell us about that.
I believe my greatest achievement is finding and loving myself truly. My awards include the MasterCard scholarship to study at AIMS Rwanda, and upon graduation, the Thierry Zoumahoun Fellowship. I also have an award from the International Service ( a UK funded NGO) whiles I worked on one of their project.

Please leave us with a quote.
Happiness is a choice.

Thank you Nanna for taking time to speak with me.

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