Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Power of a Dream

By: Patrick Messac

After each exhausting day, many of us like to take some time in the evening to unwind with a conversation by the soccer field or on the porch with the Kenyan secondary students on our campus.

This is an amazing time when all of our hard work suddenly becomes real: it is a time when each abstract fundraising proposal could possibly provide chemistry textbooks for all of the aspiring HIV/AIDS pathologists destined to be at WISER or provide a school uniform for one of the 70% of girls that will be on scholarship. This is also a time when each study tip we introduce may be the strategy that leads these students to retain the 8 subjects they are soon to be tested on which wholly determines whether or not they qualify for University.

Usually during this time the students enjoy talking about their futures. It came to me as no surprise that with HIV/AIDS rates above 30% in the community many students hope to become doctors and nurses. I was also excited to hear that nearly all of the other students still had high aspirations of becoming accountants, lawyers, and teachers. It was not until I heard a small group of students giggle mockingly as one of the students mentioned that she dreamed of becoming a pilot that I blanked on how to follow up with encouraging words. I wanted to ask how she planned on achieving such a bold path, but I became weary as I couldn’t predict any feasible path as I had yet to even hear a plane in the Muhuru skies, the nearest airport is hours away, and many of the students had never seen a real plane up close, much less ever boarded one. When I finally mustered up enough courage to ask why she dreamed of becoming a pilot, she answered by motioning to the sky with her index finger and tracing the path of an imaginary flight. With wide eyes and great excitement she explained to me that when she would fly over head the entire bay would recognize her accomplishment and be proud. When I asked her how she planned to follow her dream she responded simply, “Anything I can do. Everything I can do.”

I quickly excused myself because I knew I had to remember this quote. If this girl faced all the odds and could still believe in her dreams, how could anyone ever justify making excuses as to why they wouldn’t be able achieve theirs? When those students laughed at her dream she was unfazed. It is this spirit of resiliency if she will ever undoubtedly have to maintain if she will triumph over all the adversity she is sure to face in her quest to accomplish her goal. It is for girls like this one that we must build WISER. When built, the school will provide opportunity for the girls with the guidance, opportunity, and skills necessary to achieve their dreams. WISER will be a place where no one will laugh at another’s dreams, because no dream is out of reach.

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