You remember of these dreams we had when we were kids? The childhood dreams that lived with us so much than life itself? I remember one day being asked what I would wanna be in the future. I was in class four and was acing 400+ marks. “When I grow up, I want to be a pilot.” I told Mr. Mose. I even wrote on my exercise books, Pilot Justine Mokua. I was so certain that one day I would smile from the cockpit of a plane, and in my white pilot uniform, everyone will look at me with admiration. My father in the countryside will be respected, and later dubbed as the dad to the only pilot from Nyabiosi village.
Guess dreams and reality are far from each other. The passion that we possess as kids wanes off as we age. There comes a time when you’re performing so dismally in school that the only slot available for you is being an office cleaner or messenger. Life will have beaten you so badly, studies frozen on you and everything gone so dark that the only light keeping you in the hole is the school fees that your dad pumps into the school. At other times, when you’re given that report card and it reads a D minus, you don’t know how to face him. Deep inside, you discover that maybe you were meant to be a dander head.
When Elsie turned six years, I asked her to make a wish about her future dream. She never fumbles with words. She never frets. ”I want to be nothing. I just want to be there and travel the world. Have fun.” Never as a parent have I ever felt so disappointed with her than on that day. Did she just say she wants to be nothing? Not even a house wife? Not even a doctor? Even if she would have said she wants to sell candy or coffee, it would have laced my heart with hope.
I recall getting disturbed for a week. That I was raising a daughter who wanted to be nothing. I really wondered why she had no affinity for anything, even if it is a shoe shiner. I came to a point of reckoning when I discovered that life puts us all where we belong. She was just being honest with herself. Furthermore she was just six. At six, all one wants is to have fun and enjoy her little life.
Bethzilper Odek also has those dreams. She hopes that one day a crown kisses her head. Models and crowns, right? We can call her Zilper. I asked Zilper to describe herself in the best way possible because it is hard to write about someone you’ve never seen or met. It is similar to writing of a dream you haven’t dreamt of.
Zilper is a first year student in University of Nairobi pursuing a bachelors degree in law. She is a part time model, she says. Law and modelling! Quite a match I could say. A young adventurous spirit, loves cooking, reading and socializing.
This post is not about edifying Zilper because she has not done mind-blowing things like Mother Teresa. It is about bringing a new hope for Homabay County. There is this seat called Mr and Miss Teenie Homabay. As you can tell, it is about a teenie ambassador. This teen will represent other teens in the county and see how talent can be nurtured in the county.
Homabay Fashion Industry coined this idea so as to cater for the needs of the teens. Zilper is the current Miss Teenie Homabay County. To claim this post, you must meet the following criteria.
1. Must be a teen
2. Should possess physical qualities of a model
3. Must be fluent is both English and Swahili
4. Should have at least finished their secondary education
The event to crown Mr and Miss Teenie usually takes place on 25th December of every year with a rotating venue. Information on the same is usually spread through posters and other platforms.
I sent over some questions to her so that I can know what she’s been up to now that she is the honjo. I asked her what she’s been able to accomplish as Miss Teenie Homabay County. “Together with the Fashion Industry, we’ve been able to come up with events involving teens every holiday. During these events, they get to compete and awards given to top positions who are also admitted free in to the Fashion Industry. I have also paid a visit to a number of schools preaching the importance of talent, giving them courage to nurture them.”
Apart from visiting schools, she’s also made efforts to visit children’s homes. We all want to have a soft spot for the less fortunate you know. Call it community service.
It is very clear that talent needs to be supported. Discovering it alone is not the honeypot. The honey needs to be extracted from the honey combs. So I ask her what is it that they do to support these talents once they discover them. She confesses that there is limited support. In many occasions, they have to look for sponsors and donors to get these talents buffed. They would also wish there was more support from Homabay county government.
Homabay County is consumed by HIV/AIDS and abject poverty, and the chances of flourishing from such kind of background takes effort. There is a greater need to have role models who can act as the torches that provide light in this mire. These are the people we are looking for in this post. Young men and women to come out and contest, win and represent their fellow teens in ensuring that talent is discovered, watered and supported fully. They will champion for more support, lobby for more opportunities for them and look out for more ways through which the teens in Homabay can face tomorrow with courage.
There is also a peace event on 5th of August at Staridge Hotel courtesy of Homabay Fashion Industry. We all want peaceful elections, and a better Kenya after elections, don’t we? If you are in Homabay, be part of the ambassadors that have stood stout in preaching peace.
“The door is never closed until you knock on it.” Mzangila Snr. So knock that door.
Yours Peace Mzangila Snr.
Edited by Rehema Zuberi
Kabla ya mtu wetu, Kenya kwanza. Tusibleed ndo walead.