Throughout secondary school, I led my life feeling like I didn’t fit in. Well, that was then. I wasn’t aware of the potential within me. I’d usually ask God why he made me who I am. My mother would frequently remind me that He had a unique purpose for me, a reason for having created me this way. I guess she had seen the talent in me earlier than I realised. She believed in me so much.
“Mama, you give me hope when I’m in despair. I love you and I’ll make you proud one day,” I would say while hugging her.
Oh, I haven’t introduced myself? Well, I’m Lukas. Actually, I graduated from secondary school last year. I’m beginning varsity this year; I’m enrolled for a B.A. in Communication at the University of Malawi. It’s a dream come true.
I’ve been living with albinism for the full 20 years that I’ve been on this planet. That’s it about me, for now. Let me take you to the next chapter.
Living with albinism made me feel like I was just a shadow among my friends, that no one bothered to notice my presence. Despite this feeling, my buddies were really good to me. We’d spend the whole break time at school chatting and laughing. In the middle of our hangouts I would just vanish, without telling anyone where I was going. I would find myself in the toilet, questioning why I hadn’t been created like my friends.
The sickness of worrying about why I was different grew to the point that the guys could see the signs written all over me. During one of our hangouts, Lex noticed that I wasn’t enjoying his jokes. He pulled a serious face, and told me something that made me want to cry. It was a conversation that changed me for good.
“Luks, bra…” he began. “We’ve noticed that you’re not the same, bra.” He paused. “What’s eating you up bra?”
I seriously didn’t know how to answer that. Before I could say another word, Themba took his turn. “We know you feel different about yourself,” he said, “but hey bra, we’re family. You’re one of us, man. We’re in this together bra.”
I had nothing to say. Just then, the bell indicating that break was over rang. We rushed to class. In the corridor, Thulani whispered something into my ear: “Bra Luk, you shouldn’t feel neglected. We’re always there for you, dude.”
I felt so much love after that talk. I spent the entire math period digesting those words. It made me realise that I had created a spirit of neglect inside of me. The choice was in my hands: I had to choose the right path if I was to turn my dreams into reality.
From that day onwards, I made a choice to reach out to my fellow albinos. I understand that others are going through worse situations than me: they lack someone to inspire them, someone to help them make the right decisions about their lives. I hear that some parents go to the extent of not letting their albino children attend school. I feel that I was meant to change such parents’ perspectives towards albino children. For God’s sake, we all have the ability! Why stop us? Seriously, I feel sorry for these children.
My words to you out there are: “No matter the situation you find yourself in, don’t limit yourself. Yes, you’re “physically challenged”, but you’re not “disabled”. You have greatness within you, and you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. You’re destined to be a winner.”
Tell us: When things are tough and depressing, where do you draw the strength and inspiration from to carry on?