08 April 2013

I Have Big Dreams for My Daughter

by Josaya Wasonga, writing for the Daily Nation

I have a dream…

That one day my daughter will live in a country that will not judge her by surname or mother tongue, but by her contribution to the national good.

My daughter’s surname is what I gave her. Which does not define her. Her mother tongue or, specifically, tribe, is what Maya Angelou may call “the accident of birth”.

It is my daughter's input, not her ethnicity, which will say if she is just what the progress doctor ordered… or a doggone pain in Kenya’s neck.

I have a dream…

That I will live to see my daughter endorsing political candidates from other communities and not be slapped with the traitor moniker. And vice versa.

That one day if and when my daughter decides to run for President of the Republic of Kenya, her aspiration will not be thwarted because of creed, tribe, or gender.

I believe that leaders are both born and made. Born and then, like rough diamonds, sharpened around dinner tables, behind classroom desks, and in front of mentors and Goliaths.

Folks, I have a dream…

That my daughter will dream impossible dreams, live the Kenyan Dream, and not feel as if she cannot make it because of her social status.

I will let my child be - whether hers is to be a scholar or seamstress - and not shove my dead dreams down her throat.

All long journeys start with one step: a dream. My byline is a testimony that dreams come true. I refused to listen to negativity, even when friends (and ex-flames) said my writing dream was dead in the water.

I have a dream…

That the safety of my daughter will be guaranteed and I will not worry myself sick the way I sometimes do. Especially when there is a news item on telly that a child has been abused.

If we cannot guarantee the safety of tomorrow’s leaders, can we guarantee the safety of tomorrow’s nation? And how will our children pursue their dreams and build the nation while they are shadowed by demons? Our children’s safety is not just Caesar’s headache, but our collective responsibility. If one child is abused and the pervert is still walking free, then, trust this rape survivor, all our children are mere sitting ducks.

“We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

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