Red colors the back of my eye lids as warm rays beat down on my skin. The crisp tropical air hugs my body as I stare at the sun and can’t help myself as a smile slowly creeps onto my face. Gowns made of the finest silk, abstract rooms, or enjoying time with the world’s most renowned. These are what most people would be gloating about, but not me. Here in Zimbabwe as I sit on this stage in front of this large group of people, I watch these children glide across the ground and their laughter dances in my ears. I feel and know that I have reached the greatest success of them all. From the energy draining hours of work, the hurdles I have faced, and continuously remembering those who motivated me is what guided me to achieve my goals.
The year before college, anxiety took control of my body and mind as I dreamed and thought about it all the time. Many individuals start panicking over the fact that they are undecided about their future plans but that’s not why I was worried. For as long as I can remember, I always knew I wanted to have a high career in a business firm. So when I came across the career of a public relations manager, I was hooked. I planned to work in the field for the requirement of ten years then become an executive. Friends and family members were so enthralled by how well I planned out everything but for some reason I was suffocating with nervousness. Questions like what if I can’t get hired, or if I’m terrible at this career or what if I end up disliking it clouded my thoughts.
Counselors and fellow college friends assured me that many individuals changed their career choice, and some even three times in college. That’s what I wanted to avoid, coming from a low middle class family I couldn’t afford to change my mind. After talking with my mom, I became more assure of myself. My mom is known for being very conservative and doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but that day my mother poured her heart out to me. For hours we sat as she unlocked the gate that led us on a journey to all her past experiences and dreams. Each one helped me understand her more and also gave me insight. She ended by saying if she believes in me, then I should too.
Throughout college I had my mind set on one thing, and nothing else distracted me. Freshman year I started on my path to achieve my double major in communications and journalism. I did this so I’d be that much closer to attaining my goal. It was as if I was adjoined with my work. I could remember the strong Pine-Sol smell of each page, the braille like words that would appear on the pages from where I put too much force on my hands from note taking. Last but not least the Jack and the Bean stalk notecards and diagrams stack I used for exams. The large amount created a rainbow effect with its multi highlighted colors as it filled up numerous pencil boxes. These strategies are what gave me straight A’s all through the years. I also managed my time so I could fit in my extracurricular; setting goals for each task I needed to complete, such as homework.
Honors club, community service, and working on the newspaper, I created time slots on my calendar for each activity so I would never get overwhelmed. I also added new ideas for my clubs, raising thousands of dollars. This was important because I was building my profile. Throughout my college years I was involved in countless internship’s, mostly nonprofit such as The Make-A-Wish Foundation. If I could go back I wouldn’t change one thing because these internships are what prepared and truly educated me so I could be prosperous. When the day finally came for when I graduated from VCU for my Masters, my feet clung to the stage and my body swayed with confidence. As the diploma kissed my palms and I looked out into the audience I sighed with relief knowing all the hard work paid off and that I deserved it.
After spending three more years in D.C working at the Institute on Political Journalism, I made the immense decision to move to Massachusetts. Boston Consulting Group is ranked the second best business to work for, after Google. I found a small apartment in Boston not too far from the firm. The place wasn’t much and only had two bedrooms but I kept telling myself it’s going to get better. After calling the firm they gave me the date of my interview and I called my family and friends to tell them the great news. Before coming out to Massachusetts my mom gave me her lucky suit for the interview. It was a knee high pencil skirt and a vintage blazer with three buttons on the wrists, and made of pure silk. The day of the interview my stomach was full of butterflies and a nervous shiver ran down my skin.
As I put on that outfit time stopped, all my jitters went away and it was as if my mom was right there with me. I arrived at the firm briefcase in hand and a skip in my step. When I got home I couldn’t sleep, eat, or anything. Finally the phone rang, they said I was just what they were looking for, and they wanted me to start tomorrow. For the next years I moved out of my apartment to a condo, and finally into a large house with two suites. At work, I worked all day and sometimes didn’t go home, but it all paid off because I was given the executive position (becoming the youngest one in the firm’s history). I finally was at the level I always dreamed of, and now it was time to start my real mission. As a child my mother would tell me about the stories of her homeland (Uganda) and I thought it was this magical Utopia.
When I started getting older I would see commercials and articles on Google explaining how so many individuals are suffering in Africa. When I talked to my mother she confirmed this and told me that even though some aren’t suffering a great majority of individuals are. She explained that many children couldn’t afford to go to school, have a good meal, or even clothes on their back. She told me that we even have some relatives who we send money to, just to help out even if it doesn’t do much. On television I would constantly hear about these charities that would send money to these countries. When I searched online and asked other family members I found out that most of the money goes to the celebrities who endorse these commercials. Also these children don’t even receive the money a majority of the time. The day the Oprah special came on television showing her going to South Africa and building a school for those girls, it finally clicked for me. If I want to help out, the only way would be to go there myself.
When I was 31, around Thanksgiving, I rounded up a local construction agency I was working with and set off to Kampala, Uganda. I greeted my family members and quickly got to work in the areas that were on the brink of destruction. I fixed homes, added new schools, and a new system where a better food supply would be provided continuously. We offered classes to men and women to educate them about the best new way to construct buildings, also providing necessary tools as well. Lastly I brought in some doctor friends of mine to work there and put a filtration system in each home. There was also a filtration headquarters added, these new improvements provided new jobs increasing the income of Uganda.
After I felt like the citizens of Uganda were at a good level I set off to Zimbabwe. My mission is to bring Zimbabwe, Congo, Burundi, and many more countries to the same state as Uganda. As I speak with you today telling my story I’m a living example that if you stay on the right tracks anything is possible.