I got the opportunity to go back to my hometown in Gilgil, Kenya in January and I was walking one afternoon around the area where I attended class 1 and 2 (First and second grade). The name of the school was Gilgil garrison and it is one of the public schools that serves the modest, rural, military town that I grew up in. It was a little hot so I sat under a tree and close by there were 4 children about 7 years old dressed in Gilgil garrison uniform with their tins (lunch boxes) getting ready to eat lunch under the tree. It suddenly hit me, that the little girls and boys were me rewind 20 years! It was a moment for me and I sat there listening to their conversations as they talked about who was going to share with who. The bossy little girl dominating the conversation reminded me of myself soooo much!!! It made me tear up.
Those young children were like blank slates and whatever influences they had in their lives will determine the individuals they become. Would they become people who love others? Would they be driven individuals? Would they be strong enough to battle through life's challenges and come out on top? Did they believe that they could be anything they wanted to be? When they returned to their respective homes, were they surrounded by love and hope? Or did they go home to abuse, fear and intimidation?
I have had so many hands pulling me forward and I know that many of you share my sentiments. It is important to reach back and pull others along with us. I saw so much of myself in those young children. To say that there was nothing different between myself and them would be naive because the truth is the world is a harsh and disproportionate space where some a dealt a seemingly easier hand. At the least, I hope that I can do something that would enable them to have a better chance at winning with whatever card they were dealt. I hoped that one day, hey too can grow up to be anything they wanted to be professionally and in character because a few short years ago, I was that bossy 7-year-old girl walking to school every morning, sitting under a tree for lunch and wearing those green and white checked uniforms (my sister pictured above - went to the same school).
I can definitely say that there were and continue to be key people in my life that I look up to as role models throughout every stage of my life. It makes such a difference to have someone that you model your life after, someone that has successfully accomplished something that you hope to accomplish one day. And even if there is no one out there that is doing what you envision doing, BE THE FIRST so you can pull someone along with you. And sometimes it doesn't feel like it but there is a little person somewhere that could learn something from you or draw from your experiences and encouragement.