I started 2020 with a bang. It was obvious that this year was going to be one of the best years of my life. Everything was promising and going accordingly. My family was so excited to know that I had secured myself a space in the navy. I was so excited for the journey ahead and I was looking forward to the adventures that came with it.

I grew up in a rural area and I’ve never been to the Cape so you can imagine how excited I was to move to a new environment for the very first time in my life.

The day of the departure finally arrived. Who would have thought that I’ll finally travel to a faraway land? It was a dream come true and an achievement of a lifetime. It took 28 hours for me to reach my final destination, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the vast ocean for the very first time. The experience was surreal and it felt like a dream to me.

Days passed and it finally sank in that I was out of my mother land. I was getting used to everything and everyone around me. I was sleeping in the mess deck with other girls and we were like one big family. The trainings were scheduled to start on the 20th after the medical assessment.

It was on the 14th when the commander came and called my name, I remember it quite well because I was laying in my bungalow in the mess deck. I was then taken to the sickbay where I was supposed to see a doctor. My heart was racing and it felt strange, I came to the realisation that something was not right.

I was then called to come into the consultation room by the doctor. I was curious, my eyes were wondering all over the place and the doctor told me to relax. She didn’t even take that much time before she got straight to the point without any hesitation or sympathy. “I am sending you home.” I was shocked and didn’t even know how to react. That was my ‘aha’ moment.

It felt like a dream, I was numb, looking at her like I was just going to burst in tears. But the tears couldn’t come out. I just asked her why and she told me I was not fit to continue with the trainings. I cried my lungs out till I was almost out of breath, thinking about where I came from. I was looking forward to the opportunity but my world was shattered in a second.

I was very disappointed and broken, I wanted to walk straight into the ocean and never look back but I realised that my life was worth more than that. Through it all I learnt to be strong and to just trust the process.


Tell us: have you ever travelled out of SA? How was your experience?