Reflections

The African Child’s Dream

By Timothy Bamwita, Uganda:

I recently ran into Tutu; an old friend at the airport terminal in Doha as we both awaited connecting flights to our different final destinations. There has always been something cynical about his facial expression; he simply comes off as a person with a permanent surprised look. I recall we nicknamed him Patagonia in school for his gigantic feet and ground breaking prowess at Kitaguro; an infamous Kigezi folk dance. We blamed him a lot for the earth quakes in Asia on the assumption that he would sneak out of school in the wee hours of the night to cause havoc by just taking a stroll around India. The obvious thing I did was to look at his shoes first before we exchanged compliments and other pleasantries. He laughed; amazed at how long I had stored school inanity.

As the norm usually is, we had a lot of catching-up to do in so little time before parting ways. He reminded me of the time his father almost shattered his dreams of becoming a gynecologist on Careers' day while at Mwiri. He was a great academic giant and so, he had a series of options to choose from unlike me who just had not many but one – Business finance. So as we evaluated my only option with my guardian, I couldn't help but eavesdrop Patagonia's conversation with his semi-literate father. I recall his father asked him what exactly a gynecologist's work was to which Patagonia quickly proffered an explanation knowledgeably. Astonished and with a facial expression similar to Patagonia's, he retorted; “Son, you want to be the fool that finds problems in a place where many find pleasure?” All those around laughed loud enough to infuriate Patagonia. Patagonia was ashamed, dumbfounded despite his composure to hold back tears whilst his father wryly smiled at him.

But as the adage goes: Fortune favors the brave, Patagonia passed quite well that he secured himself a scholarship at a renowned Norwegian medical school to pursue his dreams despite his old-man's mockery. The twist to his story is equally cynical. Patagonia intimated to me that his wife was formerly his patient; thus he found both the problem and pleasure in one package. He dashed for his wallet as the trend is and showed me a picture of her. She surely looked like someone right off the cover of fashion magazine and I could make out why he indeed disregarded the problem for lifelong pleasure. It was evident, he was living his dream.

With Patagonia's story, I am inclined to think that people ought to follow their dreams; of course in contrast with their capability save for the madcap childhood fantasies every person once had. As a child, Emma a bosom friend dreamt of being a Bishop. Looking back now, he is far from it and shattering that dream was deliberately done by him as many have described him as a fisher of women let alone being famous for sowing wild oats. Some people!

Mine however isn't far from what I actually became. As a child, I envied and dreamt of becoming a street shoe shiner. Those chaps often got quick money from people I thought were too lazy and naïve to clean their own shoes. I dreamt of a job that enabled access to money. And that's what I am today. Not a shoe shiner (Jeez) but an accountant. I handle money only that I don't own it (how frustrating). I am living my dream though. You hold the key to your destiny too!

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