It is often said that life is not a bed of roses; it never affords you what you wish for, you only create what you want from life with what it gives to you. Your ability to make maximum use of your situation and stand strong is what keeps you going in life. There are always test and obstacles on the way which will try to discourage you but of course, there is always light at the end of every tunnel. All you need is a great amount of determination.
The story I’m about to tell shows the importance of determination in the life of any individual aimed at succeeding in life.
November 7, 2011 is a date I will never forget. It was a lovely day that morning, not as hazy as was to be expected in the peak of the Harmattan season in Nigeria. Being a pupil of a renowned primary school in Nigeria, I was up and ready for school as early as 7:30 AM. This was because lateness was regarded a serious crime in my school and was treated as such, one of the attributes which earned it a place to be recognized as a citadel of discipline within and beyond my state. I was dressed and sat patiently in the sitting room with my school bag slung across my shoulders, waiting for my father, a civil servant at the time, who was to take me to school. I was excited, yes. Who wouldn’t be? The prospect that I would be leaving primary school for secondary in a few months had created a secret excitement within me that was threatening to burst my chest at any time. O, yes! We had just concluded the school common entrance examinations the previous week and I was certain I did well. Results were to be released on this Monday morning, a day I had looked forward to with both anxiety and awe. I had had to control myself whenever in the presence of my father who was a firm disciplinarian and who held civility and modesty in high esteem. Although, with my three sisters, there was no need for such. I would shout and dance while dramatizing about myself in the secondary school while they laughed and clapped.
The d-day was here now and I smiled as I reminiscence on the above while waiting for my father. In five minutes, he was out and we both set out on his shinny TOYOTA car, the latest model in trend at the time. My immediate elder sister had exerted herself that morning in cleaning the machine and this accounted for its remarkable appearance.
Twenty five minutes later, I was sitting in my class as I waited for my name to be called and handed my first school leaving certificate and common entrance result. Mr. Emmah, my teacher, a stern and fearful looking disciplinarian looked surprisingly jovial that day and even excused us to play outside while he compiled our results. I and my classmates, though surprised, quickly took on this rare opportunity and went out to play. The realization that after receiving those documents and leaving, we may never cross paths again had not yet dawned on us and we played with abandon.
It was in the course of playing with my classmates that I began to feel sick. My head pounded with rhythmic intensity, my mouth felt dry and it felt like there was something sucking my energy out of me. I thought it was actually tiredness due to the games I had indulged in and all I needed was rest. My classmates were already carried away with the fun they were deriving to notice me or any other thing besides their games and I had to summon up every ounce of energy and crawl to a wall where I could take myself no further and collapsed, breathing heavily.
I woke up to someone tapping me. It was my classmate, a boy and the prefect of the school. Dayemi was his name. He had been asked by my class teacher to look for me as my results had been compiled and were ready. Most of the pupils had gotten theirs and left and I was the only pupil who had not returned to the class after the bell was rung. It hit me then that I had been asleep for a very long time. I struggled to my feet, dripping of sweat while Dayemi assisted me to the class. Mr. Emmah was alarmed to see me in such a state and he quickly handed me my results asking the prefect to see me safely to the gate which Dayemi did and left after I had boarded a motorcycle home.
I had thought that all I needed was food and a good amount of rest after a cool bath but I was wrong.
My case deteriorated and I was rushed to a teaching hospital about ten kilometers from my home at few minutes to midnight of the same day. I was aware that the doctors carried out examinations on me but I was not in my senses to think on what they were doing. My body burned with unimaginable torture and pain over-clouded my senses of reasoning. I could take no more that night and eventually, I lost lucidity.
The next few months were spent in the confines of the hospital environment as specialist doctors within and outside the state tried to do their best on me. I had become partially blind, totally deaf and was just beginning to regain balance on my feet. The results of the medical diagnosis had come out that I had suffered from sickle cell induced bacterial-meningitis (I being sickle cell).
It was a big blow to my parents who never stopped looking for a solution for me but it was most devastating for me because I relied so much on my hearing ability.
However, I, as the only son of my parents, had big dreams and I was determined to achieve them. There on my sick bed I, though, only eleven years of age, made a resolution not to give up and to be nothing other than the best. I aimed to succeed and I was not going to let a setback like deafness stop me, tragic as it seemed.
I came out of hospital and disregarding my parents entreats that I register in a special education centre where sign language was the major form of communication; I got admitted into a government secondary school not too far from home.
My first result in secondary school came up and I had not done as well as I had expected to do. Failure slammed in my face and I was tempted to give up and blame my predicament on my disability but no, I strived. It was just a little setback which I knew I would discredit in a short time.
During the holidays, I dedicated much time into developing my lip-reading ability and did a lot of study, reading ahead of my class curriculum. I learnt new words too and their correct pronunciation with the help of my sisters who have remained invaluable in my life.
School resumed and I was able to communicate much easier with my new found lip-reading skills. I made friends among my teachers and classmates alike and at the end of the term, I was basically on top of the class. By the time I was ready to write my J.S.C.E (Junior Secondary Certificate Examinations), almost everyone in the school knew me by name and I seemed some sort of celebrity whom most referred to as “DEAF GENIUS”.
I kept up these excellent achievements up to my last days in secondary school. During my time as a senior student, my excellent records endeared me to my school principal who, without further ado, made me the school ambassador. It became my duty to represent the school in religious functions, essays and debate competitions, many of which I won with flying colors, bringing victory to the school.
The question of furthering my studies into the university became another obstacle which I needed to maneuver. A test of my resolve never to give up. My parents thought the university environment too hostile for me and I apparently will be unable to cope with the inherent difficulty but I felt otherwise. I wanted to attain my full potentials in life and I saw the university as a mean to do that hence, I made a statement to them, the same statement I made in a speech which I was called upon to give during my graduation party in secondary school and which has become my motto in life; “I can be anything in life all I need is motivation, desire, dedication and determination.”
Today, I am a 200 level student of civil engineering, a dancer, a motivational speaker, a writer and a pen and pencil realistic portrait artist.
Determination is everything!!
Emmanuel wrote in via email@example.com