I am off to Austria in a few hours’ time for the World Youth Summit Awardsand over the last few weeks, I have been wrestling within myself to understand what meaningful contribution I can make at this forum.
If you read my blog, you will understand what I mean when I say that that ant has been seriously crawling the corners of my mind, casting heavy shadows over all I think and do. And I – powerless, or perhaps allowing myself to be powerless - have done nothing about it. You see, whenever I achieve an accolade, I am always plagued with fears of the responsibility that it entails. I always wonder who didn’t make it because of me and then interrogate myself about why I deserve it.
Perhaps this isn’t the way to approach issues but my name, Fungai, means ‘think’; and it often seems that I cannot escape its self-fulfilling prophecy. And so I must think. I must question. I must understand.
I am still trying to make sense of everything so I won’t give you a nice Oprah-esque passage about how I have had a light bulb moment, because I haven’t yet. I think things will only make sense when I get to meet everyone else and fully grasp what is happening around me and why I have been chosen to participate. It will only become real then.
And so all I am taking with me is an open mind, an overstuffed knapsack and the words from a beautiful email I received this Sunday from a dear friend to me. She said that I shouldn’t reveal her identity and I will not. But here is what she had to say:
I have been greatly encouraged by your life.
We have known each other for a long time. I know the insecurities of our high school years. The things people said about you, the things you said about yourself. Very few expected much of you and you were always surprised when you did well because nobody thought you could. You went to a varsity that you really didn’t want to go to and people looked down upon you but you excelled in spite of yourself and in spite of them. You continued to excel and budded like a summer rose. A more apt description is the ugly duckling that became a swan.
I am constantly in awe at the grace God has over your life and am confident that you really are the next big thing out of Africa. Nobel Peace Prize here we come!!! I was your friend in high school simply because I was your friend. It wasn’t a conscious decision we kind of gravitated towards each other and grew close over the course of the years. However we didn’t stay close to everyone we were friends with at high school. In time I chose to be your friend because you add such value to my life.
I am a better person because of you.
You taught me alcohol…Lol. Published my poem. Brought me nice gifts from overseas and overborders. More than that you have introduced me to a world I do not know. Abortion, homosexuality, gender Issues. I’ve always been staunch in my views but you brought the personal touch that made me wonder and ask why do I hate and judge in the name of Jesus when Jesus Himself never hated nor judged.
I am writing this email mostly because you have greatly influenced my life. You are a strong woman who has overcome great odds. Because of you I believe that I can. I had given up and resigned myself to a mediocre life because I couldn’t see a way out. BUT you have shown me it’s possible. There are tons of people out there who look at you and wonder. I want to be like that. A wonder.
You have been a great influence in my life and I love you dearly. More than words can tell.
Congratulations for excelling in your studies. Congratulations for engaging in a battle with Life and emerging the Conqueror.
Sigh. I go with a letter and a prayer.