From a petty 8th grader to an aspiring journalist :)
June 21, 2006: My British Airways flight lands in Addis Ababa, the bustling capital of Ethiopia. My mother trudges along with our luggage, and I push my sister’s wheelchair through the bleak airport. I’m in a horrible mood; I’m awfully homesick and miss my father dearly. Alas, we reach the area where family members embrace us with love and wet kisses on the cheeks.
When the small town of Assassa- a place enveloped by sandstorms and is about a day’s drive from Addis Ababa- looms into visibility, I am appalled by the way people live, how they dress, what they reside in, and the rocky, sandy landscape of the town. I’m on the verge of tears as we pull up to my great-uncle’s house, and want nothing more than to fly back to Vancouver and curl up into my comfortable bed.
It is at this moment that it hits me like a ton of bricks: At least I HAVE a comfortable home and life to go back to; these people do not. This realization would forever change the way I live life.
For the next 10 months that I would spend in Assassa, I brainstormed. I would try to think of ways that I could help those who were in need of it, for I would constantly see beggars and the disabled either left on the streets or dressed in rags with no equipment. The latter really hit close to home; my sister Datu has Cerebral Palsy- and while she is fortunate to receive medical attention here in Canada, the same can’t be said for the disabled in Assassa, who are left to care and fend for themselves. Thus, any ideas that would come to me would be jot down into the sand with a stick, or whispered into my mother’s ears to store into her mental memory box.
This is the beginning of my story. In the span of my 10 months in Ethiopia, I had gone from a petty 8th grader to a fully aware, responsible, critical, social leader. I had begun to realize that life wasn’t about pop music and shoes; it was about lending a helping hand to those in need of it. I had embarked on the path of becoming a leader in my community, and made a life-long goal to make a difference in the world, big or small.
That life-long goal continues to be fulfilled as I aspire to become a journalist in the future, so that I can raise awareness and address the issues in my community and around the globe. The online community of World Pulse provides the venue to do just that; with this network of amazing individuals and the sharing of ideas, inspirations, and information, I am able to hear about pressing issues from around the world and also present issues as well. Voices of Our Future, a rather fantastic initiative, provides a platform for me to weave journalism and leadership together, two areas that I am feverously passionate about, to make a difference and create a unique dent in the global community.