To my Ghanaian professor Charles: You are a brilliant doctor of statistics, and thank you for your amazing teaching. I was always impressed that Ghana evidently had the highest proportions of PhDs to population of any place in the world.
To my Egyptian friend Ahmed: Your American medical training was amazing, and thank you for teaching me about your public health work in Egypt. I was always humbled by your decision to forfeit a wealthy life in America in order to care for your people back home. Your death scarred me as you were such a gem to this planet, and I am sure Allah is smiling on you in heaven.
To the Ethiopian and Eritrean Community in Washington, DC: Thank you for what you have brought to Washington. Between the amazing cuisine, insightful discussions in cab rides, and wonderful personalities and stories, my life is certainly much better when I come to town.
Princess Betty of Namibia: Thank you for teaching me about your tribe and about the west. I always marveled how you could walk so gracefully between worlds, being completely true to your culture while sharing your western training and expertise. You looked so stylish whether in your tribal garb or Armani!
John Nzira of Zimbabwe: Thank you for teaching us Westerners about permaculture. Your native country of Zimbabwe is so beautiful, and you are one of the best practitioners in the world.
Walter Nyika of Malawi: Your tireless effort, leadership, and moral compass has brought fabulous change to Africa. I wish you could bring your effectiveness and heart to the leadership in America.
Ayouba Kamara of Liberia: You are one of the few people in the world to merge scientific disciplines aimed at solving large-scale socio-ecological issues. Your creativity and ability to work with all people truly helped many dimensions of your region. Welcome to America! We are so lucky to have you.
To my friends from numerous other African countries, working on alternative farming practices: Thank you for developing methods that are resilient to climate change and can meet our global population explosion. You are needed in America to teach American farmers.
I apologize to you all for the remarks of Donald Trump. His extreme ignorance – born from a silver spoon in his mouth and arrogant corruptness – makes America look like a cruel shithole. From his plutocratic perch, he is calloused to the world, and it is shameful to watch Republican sycophants pander to him for their own selfish gain. Dare I say that our leadership is starting to look like numerous African leaders who perhaps destroyed their countries over many years. It is disgraceful, and I am personally ashamed to see what is transpiring.