For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Jean-Claude Pongault Elongo | Republic of Congo


What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?

In my country I am an LGBTI activist and working to change our society, because LGBTI people have trouble, in my country we identify as sexual and gender minorities. We need an inclusive society where we have our own place in society as a human being and we need to change it to this. There should not be discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

This is a great opportunity as young leaders in our areas to learn about the American experience and to network. Here in Drexel we are 21 different countries in Southern Africa, so the networking is an important opportunity that will change our work back home. Meeting the other fellows and network with them will help a lot and create other new opportunities. We will have a network that we did not have before. Knowing people from different disciplines is an amazing opportunity.

What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?

The food – cooking is a heart. First of all, when you are cooking you must put your heart in your food. Without this, you will just eat to be full, but you should appreciate what you are eating. Also the social aspect of food and eating with your people. Eating connects you with the people that are important to you.

Philadelphia is the first city to welcome me to the USA – Philly is my home of the US, the first place that I have been. I am learning the US through Philadelphia.

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

My favorite hobbies are singing, dancing, and cooking. And I like to hug people.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Cassava Leaves, we call it pondou, because it is a nice healthy food. People eat rice and bananas with it. And cassava as well,  but it is eaten as a bread almost. This is called kwanga or manioc.