A little over two years ago a visionary I really respect, Dr Mensah Otabil, popularly known as ‘Doc’, shared with me his dream to construct ‘The largest eagle edifice in Africa’. Such an ambitious project, I thought. As I drove out of the parking lot of the Central University, I looked back in awe of what Doc had achieved, to establish a prestigious institution with a student body of close to 10,000, with only a handful of students in his garage 34 years ago.
His adopted ways of the eagle as his guiding principle served him well. It’s by all means no coincidence that the logo is proudly the eagle. In taking up the challenge he had thrown at me, I had to see beyond my limitations and believe in my own capabilities. First and most importantly, as I began to work on the bird, was to explore my own understanding of spirituality. Some believe the eagle brings us closer to God because it flies at such high altitudes.
I certainly would not have realized this without vision and faith. Secondly, the eagle is known as a symbol of courage. “You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.” Eleanor Roosevelt said that years ago and her words served to encourage me each time I felt myself stepping up to the plate to deliver, especially as a woman in a male dominated field.
Aside courage, I needed to focus with tunnel vision, an area in which eagles excel. They fly at high attitudes, utilizing their exceptional vision to spot prey from miles away. They fly with purpose, perpetually on a mission to hunt and survive. It was this focus and vision that allowed me to constantly keep the goal in mind. In many cultures eagles are also symbols of freedom. By embracing this, I truly took on the creative freedom to think outside the box.
This was particularly important to the extent, that whilst I worked, I had to immerse myself into the piece and become one with it. On the 26th February 2018, just when the sun was setting over the Mitso Campus, I saw God’s grace manifest in all its glory: The 30ft x 30ft bird had truly landed. And on it’s pedestals were the inscriptions, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like an eagle run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be tired.” Such appropriate words indeed I felt.