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Canvas Sky

When I was a little girl, the sky was my canvas. On blue-sky days, I would lie on my back on the bonnet of Daddy’s Peugeot, and paint my Disney-flavored fantasies. You see, I was a dreamer, and there wasn’t room enough for my sort in those days, in the place I come from.

I come from dictatorship. I come from corruption, strikes, high infant mortality rates. From two days, three days… ten, without electricity. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful childhood. Some might even say “privileged,” which simply means I always owned a decent pair of shoes and there was always something to eat—never mind if there weren’t choices. But I knew from an early age that all was not right with the world. So I regularly kept my head in the sky.

I also loved stories. They gave me a peak into other worlds; fed my imagination. But I only wanted happy stories. If a story ended sadly, I would slap it on my sky-canvas and rework it. As I grew up, I began to discover that stories connect fantasy to reality.

I remember the day my mother read to me from Oliver Twist. It was the chapter titled, “Oliver Twist Asks for More.” I decided that day I would see to it no child ever went hungry again. A few years after, in Junior Secondary School, I read the fictional story of a Nigerian woman who invested in the life of one street-urchin, subsequently changing a whole community. Through this book, I made a discovery that would eventually form the impetus for my lifework—namely, that I can create the future by investing in young people.

With the introduction of social media, I have found a new canvas. But I dance in this sky with a purpose. I discovered Brooke on Facebook over a year ago, while studying in the United States. Brooke buys coffee beans at market rates from formerly displaced farmers in post-conflict East African countries, sells them in America, and contributes majority of the proceeds to bringing attention to global concerns like the Red Light District and AIDS in Africa. I had the joy of meeting Brooke in person last year, and she is an inspiration to me.

My sisters and I recently founded Hope Youth Foundation in Nigeria with a view to inspire hope in youth and galvanize them into action for the transformation of our country. As I perused Facebook to see if I could discover other Nigerians who were investing in the lives of youth, I came across a link on someone’s page for World Pulse. And that is how I came to find out about Voices of Our Future. What an opportunity! There is a need for storytellers in the world. Better yet, dreamer-storytellers who can create hopeful worlds for some and dole out a healthy dose of reality for others. It would be a privilege to take my place among them.

Comments

mariposa's picture

Beautiful Canvas

I enjoyed your story ... you painted a wonderful picture. Continue your work towards transformation in Nigeria. Lasting change takes place in small, consistent steps. Thank you for story.

Mariposa

Peace and ... Bliss,
Restorer of Peace

SLaw's picture

Thank You

Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement, Mariposa.

Leelee's picture

Thanks for your story - I am

Thanks for your story - I am also glad you acknowledged that while your life was "better" or more "privileged" than others, it still didn't make it "rewarding" or make it that you were better or satisfied with what you were seeing ...

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

abella's picture

wow!

I enjoyed your writing,

You are an excellent writter, you paint the picture so vividly that i can actually see you as a young girl in the streets of Nigeria. I guess we share one thing in common, I am also a dreamer, i sometimes still lives in my own fantacy world, it is so beutiful in this world and its what i want to paint out here for people to see.

Keep up the good work,

I am glad I am connected to you.

I am because we are :-)

SLaw's picture

Thank you :)

Abella, thank you for your sweet words. I am glad to find you're a "soul sister," fellow-dreamer :) Yes, let's get the word out there . . . there's so much beauty, so much joy to be had if we would all just stop living for self alone and start living for others. So true, your signature phrase: I am because we are!

amymorros's picture

A New Canvas

Your journal is very powerful. Thank you for sharing your love of stories and how they have compelled you to action.

Amy
@amyinstl

SLaw's picture

Thank you, dear friend!

Thank you, dear friend!

AmyM's picture

Your lyrical writing voice is unique

Hello SLaw:

What a beautiful way you have with words. I loved reading your story. I admire your powers of creativity and your determination to improve the lives of young people in Nigeria. Thank you for sharing your personal story. You are a natural leader and I know you will make a positive difference in the world.

All the best,
Amy

jap21's picture

Hi Slaw

I loved your story!

Hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

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