OYA Country Manager, Rwanda, Abidan Nambajimana, talks about Mayan Metzler and the impact of OYA in Rwanda with Marco Derhy
As part of our Series about “Inspiring success stories,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Abidan Nambajimana. Abidan’s experience has grown across the Research & Development (R&D) through the active contribution of his understanding of clinical data to influence policy decisions on how to fast-forward the pace of science, to bring life-changing medicines to patients around the world, to achieve the next wave of breakthroughs and do things that have never been done before. Abidan is also the country manager for OYA Rwanda.
Thank you for joining us today, Abidan! Can you briefly outline for our readers your life’s backstory?
I grew up in a family of 7 children, and I was the eldest among them; it was challenging for my parents, who were ordinary people without income-generating activities, to feed us properly and pay school fees. I tried my best to work hard to help my parents provide for us. I started selling chicken and eggs in the evening in the street after school to fund my school fees. This was how I completed school and married Florence, who supported my University studies in India.
When did you become the country manager for OYA in Rwanda?
I became the Country Manager for OYA Rwanda in June 2022.
How exciting has this role been for you?
Honestly, I am short on words. In this role, I met an exceptional man (Mayan) whose leadership is extremely brilliant. I have learned a lot from him, and every guidance and orientation I get from him is always with wisdom and helps me relate with the high-level officials I work with daily. Through this role, I am thrilled to meet the high-profile people in the country who have also been interested in OYA objectives in Rwanda. One more thing is that Mayan saved my daughter’s life through this role. My daughter suffered from a rare heart disease, and her life was in great danger. When Mayan visited my house, he saw our situation, and right after he left the country, he and his team started to work on a solution for a surgery provider for my daughter. They found a hospital with specific capabilities in India where OYA sponsored the treatment of my child’s long-lasting heart disease. Mayan helped us to organize a trip to India, where doctors successfully operated on my daughter’s heart, and as a result, she was completely cured. This has been absolutely life-changing for our family!
What has been your greatest challenge so far since you became the country’s manager for OYA? Do you have a story to share about that?
The most significant challenges I have met so far are few because I receive daily guidance from Mayan. Still, coordinating the human trial study on COVID-19 during the epidemic was challenging because finding trial participants took work. There is no specific story to tell except that we used to work 24 hours to meet the sample collection schedule. I am thrilled that we have closed the recruitment, and the results are pretty interesting.
I know you have a lot to share about OYA. How did you meet Mayan Metzler to get all these started in the first place?
I met Mayan through this trial when we were doing our virtual call to initiate a human trial, proving the efficacy of a lozenge that can block the transmission of COVID-19. This extract was founded by Mycobriah, biomedical research based in Israel, and Mr.Mayan, the CEO of this company. After understanding the man’s humility, I got interested in contacting him. We kept chatting until he visited the country to meet different high-level personalities, and I also got to invite him into my family. Let me be honest and sincerely tell you that everything in the family has changed for good since he visited the family.
This is where I can even tell the exciting story of the impact of his visit on my family. We actually had a bank loan when we were buying a house in which the family is living ( mortgage loan). The salary I was earning before was not enough to pay back the loan and feed my family, but after meeting him and being given this role, he has been a reason for my whole family to smile again. The smile that has never been there for the last ten years. Marco, I am short of words when talking about meeting this man of God. He is the true definition of a Philanthropist, and his legacy and good heart will continue to shape those lucky to be with him.
Overall, how well have people received the ideas of OYA in Rwanda? Are there any challenges faced?
I can tell you that everyone here is interested in OYA; of course, we are still establishing the environment and setting up networks and infrastructure. There have been no significant challenges met so far.
I know you are the country manager for OYA in Rwanda. But this question is not directed to you as the manager now. I am asking you, as Abidan, how has OYA impacted your life?
Mayan & OYA came into our life as a savior. Mayan offered me a job, which helped me pay out our bank loans and continue to provide for my family. OYA’s Transformation Concierge service saved my daughter’s life by arranging and sponsoring her heart surgery. And I got the opportunity to work on a revolutionary study and human trial, finally bringing in a valid solution for COVID-19.
What I can tell you is that I used to live a life of stress, pressure, and pain, but after this role, it has been a reason for my whole family to smile again. The smile that has never been there for the last ten years. I got this job when the bank was ready to sell my house. Let me be honest and say that this man is a savior. He will change the world for sure.
Are there any particular personal projects you’re currently working on? Would you like to share?
There are no particular projects that I am working on; I have many good ideas, but I need more financial means for implementation.
Do you have a favorite “life lesson” or quote that profoundly impacted your life? Please share with us.
Over the last 42 years of my life, I have learned that it’s better to try and fail but never fail to try. Again, never believe in the status quo but dig deep to see what the data tell and try to do things that have never been done before.
Is there anything else you would like to share today? Perhaps something extraordinary about Rwanda?
Just Visit Rwanda and enjoy the stay over the country of thousands of hills. The country with high-level security and the greenest city in the whole world.
How can our readers keep up with you on social media or a website?