“Don’t wait for a Gandhi, don’t wait for a King, don’t wait for Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi, you are your own King.”
It is only expected that anyone who wins the Nobel Peace Prize would be bold, courageous and inspiring. Leymah Gbowee indeed delivers on this expectation and is a woman seemingly full of confidence, passion and conviction. However, by her own admission, she was not always this way.
Leymah’s story is one that is truly inspiring, and is the embodiment of a person who decided to stop waiting for change, and decided to lead the change she wanted to see.
Leymah was born into a middle class family and lived a sheltered, serene life until her family, like many others, was devastated by the numerous wars in Liberia. During the war, life would see her relocating temporarily to Ghana, living in refugee camps, eating leftovers from sheer hunger, giving birth to a child and living like a beggar on the hospital floor, unable to leave because she had not paid the hospital bill. It would see her struggling to make ends meet to provide for her children, reaching rock bottom and losing her confidence along the way.