I met Sedive on a sunny Sunday afternoon on the University of Ottawa campus, where she’s a second year student studying Public Administration. With a family heavily involved in humanitarian aid activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sedive is very community-minded and feels strongly about participating in and contributing to local initiatives. She volunteers at her local food bank and community centre, and helps with after-school homework programs for youth.
Originally I’m from the Congo. But me and my family, we’ve moved to a lot of places. We lived in Ghana after leaving the Congo. It wasn’t safe with all of the wars, you know? We were in Ghana for a couple of months, and my mom decided it wasn’t the place for us. Then we moved to the Ivory Coast, but that wasn’t right either. We spent a few weeks in the US getting visas, and my mom really hated it there, too! We came to Canada after that, and eventually to Ottawa. Imagine, all that time there were all these different languages we were hearing! At first I thought, “Why did we come here? What are we going to do in this city?” But as the years passed on, we stayed here because we like it. It’s a nice place to be.
About me, I don’t know. I’m just a person that tries to make change, ever since I was little. You know, living in cities, you see things that aren’t right. So you try to change it. But human nature is hard to change. It’s my personal belief that if you try, it’s worth it. Even if you don’t see the change right away, or it doesn’t happen in my lifetime, that’s okay. If you have the knowledge, you’d better act or it’s a waste. I try as much as I can to be friendly to everybody, and to use my own potential as much as I can. If I can be in university and study while other people can’t, I might as well use it to my full potential, but also be mindful that other people deserve this opportunity also. So, I’m sort of an activist, I’m just not quite there. I will be.
Do you like it in Ottawa?
If you want to make a change and have an impact, Ottawa is the place to be. There are over 30 NGOs. There’s no excuse for not being active here. If you want to make a change, Ottawa is the best place with the best opportunities and resources. I like that.
You chose to have your photo taken at Centrepointe Park for this project. Can you tell me why you chose that place, and why it’s meaningful to you?
If I had a visitor, I would take them to my neighbourhood, to Centrepointe. It’s really nice. I’m proud of it, I guess. When my family had just moved to Ottawa, we didn’t really know anybody. I didn’t think we would like it here. But my dad had this great idea: he said, “Let’s just explore our neighbourhood!” So we walked around and we saw this park. We had a soccer ball with us, and we started playing. It was a good family time, just a good memory. We had just gotten here and didn’t know anybody, you know? I wasn’t sure about this place but the park made me feel better about it. We had a lot of fun, and then we had a family picture taken by the fountain. So I thought it would be appropriate to go back there.