Humans of Ateneo
Humans of Ateneo is a project of the Sanggunian: Commission on Mental Health that aims to share the different stories of resilience among the Ateneo Loyola Schools community in order to inspire the student body.
At first, I had a hard time coping with moving to the Philippines. I had to shift my entire life from the Ivory Coast to here. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I felt alone and had no one to talk to. It was also difficult because I didn’t know how to speak English fluently.
My foster family took care of me, even when I hadn’t known anyone yet. I feel very blessed because this is an opportunity that not a lot of people have, being in a new country and having someone take care of you.
Eventually, I got to meet new friends here and they became my family as well. Every single player of this team day per day, we also got to know each other more. We were teammates, but we became friends, and that’s how we were able to get past struggles and differences we’ve had in the past. It’s because of them that I was able to cope mentally and physically.
The issue that happened last year, between me and Bright, I felt really sad about it because the action came from me. I was a rookie then, and that was the first time something like that happened to me. It was really bad on social media. Some people started talking bad about me, even without knowing me. That really hurt me. I didn’t know how I was going to embrace the situation. The pressure really got into my head because it was the finals and we really wanted to win the championship.
Then a friend told me that I have to be ready for my teammates, and you know, step up for the next game. I had to step up for the school, for my teammates, and win the championship, because this what we wanted, this is why we’re here. I remember the day before, I received a lot of texts, even from people from other schools, telling me to not be affected and to play the game the way I feel it, and so that’s what I did. It was kind of motivating because a lot of people told me to stay focused on the game, stay focused on the goal. I saw a lot of articles, a lot of people talking, people motivating me everyday around in school, telling me it wasn’t my fault. It was really important to me.
The only thing I can say is never give up. Especially when you’re a student athlete, things will become harder and harder. This is what you chose, this is what you like, so you gotta give everything you’ve got to make the dream come true. Work hard, and do the right things!
— Angelo Kouame
You may follow Humans of Ateneo on Twitter and Instagram through @humansofateneo.
Photo by Jairus Paguntalan
Layout and Post-processing by Sean Valencia
Transcript by Nadine Altavás and Russell Ku