I was a happy child, growing up with both my parents. They provided everything I need. Having both parents was a blessing to me, I kept praying to God to keep them alive for me until I grow up, finish my studies and graduate, and find a job.

Sadly, my father died when I was 11 years old. During that time my mom was no longer working, only my older brother was hustling. Life became tough and sometimes we were forced to go to bed on an empty stomach. Luckily, my older brother ended up getting an internship and my mother got a job at the school as a cook.

Seeing myself sometimes going to bed with an empty stomach taught me to be humble because I knew what it felt like to suddenly lose it all and having to start over. I’ve watched my mother go from being a house wife with everything and spoiling me with everything I needed, to her becoming a cook at school and not being able to spoil me anymore. I’ve watched learners disrespect and mock my mother, even though that was tough, my mother kept believing in me, she kept telling me to be independent and not become like her.

Growing up without father was not easy. When the other children spoke about their fathers, I feel like they were opening up old wounds. Sometimes children bullied me at school because of the way my life was, that made me think of quitting school, especially when I heard them disrespecting my mother.

At school I started to lose focus. I became depressed, the glow on my face had vanished. Children started to tease me and called me ugly. They told me that it didn’t matter how hard I worked in school, I would never make it in life. They said even if I did pass well my mother still wouldn’t be able to afford university. All those opinions made me lose hope and I thought about committing suicide.

Luckily, my teacher noticed these changes in me. One day he found me sitting alone in the classroom.
“Why don’t you play with the other children?” he asked.
“I would enjoy to play with them if they would allow me to,” I said.
“Evelyn, in life things won’t always go the way we want it to, but that doesn’t mean our lives are over, if you really want something in life you shouldn’t let people’s opinions stop you from getting it,” he said.

Since that day I told myself that I will never ever allow my background to stop me from becoming who I want to become. I might be poor today, but that doesn’t mean I will die poor. As long as I still breathe that means I still have a chance to change the situation at home.


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