It was in the year 2013 when my life was as cold as an attic facing north. I was at the peak of my teenage stage when I found myself sitting in the doctor’s room awaiting my results which shook me, for they proved that I was epileptic. I can still recall how I saw my big, bright dreams crumble into bits and pieces. During the same year I watched the movie “In pursuit of Happiness” and was forced to reconsider my thoughts when Will Smith said to his son;
“Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something.
Not even me.
You got a dream. You gotta protect it.
People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it.
You want something, go get it.
Warm greetings to you Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests and visitors.
At the age of 6 I had a dream. A dream to change the world and save people’s lives. When my mother saw the passion in my eyes, she started looking for a school that would help me pursue my dreams. Most of them rejected her on the basis that I was too young. She finally found one school that was willing to take me so there I was the 6 year old girl, entering my grade 1 classroom. Some of you may be glued to your seats right now because of how weird you think I once was. Well, perhaps I should scale your nerves down by explaining the science behind “dreaming”.
Wikipedia defines a dream as a succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Scientists have proven that we start dreaming from when we are a 7 months fetus. At this point the muscles and eye movements give the tell-tale signs of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and the non-REM sleep. So I am normal after all. What was different from me and the other grade 1 learners is that my ambitions which revealed themselves as dreams were not of an average 6 year old minor.
I would listen to my peers speak about how they dream of having long hair and as many garments as their Barbie dolls-if they were girls and if they were boys, they would go on and on about how they would buy a 1000 of the most expensive car. I have never done any of that. I cannot remember myself dreaming of a royal prince charming and how we would live in our glorious castle happily ever after. Perhaps it is because I have always been an enthusiastic reader. I would read the newspaper and any book that I could lay my hands on. Most of which had an age restriction that almost prohibited me from embarking on my learning journey.
I agree with what Raul Tiru wrote in his article: “10 benefits of reading”. Reading increases one’s mental stimulation and knowledge. Through reading I found out that a lot of things are happening in our country and at on a global scale. I quickly understood that as a citizen I have a responsibility to come up with solutions to some of these existing problems. Due to my understanding, I found that I had little time to fantasize over Barbie dolls or imagine my prince charming, so I decided to build my ideal world in my head instead.
I had a dream:
Of living in a successful world.
Where poverty and crime are alleviated.
Where good education is provided to everyone regardless of whether they are in a public/private school.
Where we no longer have to deal with poor health which just adds on to our massive disease burden.
Where corruption is not the core reason why we undermine the state and services are not delivered.
And where people understand the term ‘rainbow nation’ and live up to its code.
At that young age I thought the only way to help people, to save their lives was by becoming their doctor. That is what I worked towards in my primary and the 1st four years of high school. It is therefore understandable that I nearly had a heart attack when the doctor told me I was epileptic. The biggest fear for me was how will I save other people’s lives when my own life needs saving? How was poverty, unemployment, corruption, crime and racism going to come to an end if there is a possibility that I could incur academic, language and memory problems? I thought I was doomed until I was exposed to other careers and realized that I can help people in many ways and I do not have to be a doctor to do that. In matric I then changed subjects and joined the Commerce stream. In 2016 I applied for, studied and completed my first year in Actuarial Sciences. This year I have made yet another career change and plan to move into Accountancy next year.
13 years and a degree change later, I have finally pin pointed how I am going to make the world a better place. Over and above studying, I will be sharing my story in an empowering way with the world. In doing this I will intend to heal others from their pain and at the same time gain further lessons myself. The truth is people do not really care about the details of your story, all they are interested in is how you kept the faith and how you eventually made it in the end.
This is my dream. A dream that is big enough to scare me. A dream that forces me to stay strong, patient and passionate simply because this dream is not just something I have been waking up to since I was 6. This dream is me.