“Through every dark night, there’s a bright day after that.”
– Tupac Shakur
Kicking off a new series of editorials featuring history makers with my friend Aruto – the inspiration for this website altogether.
Moment of Bravery
One hot and humid summer night, my mother, baby brother and I were sleeping in the front yard of our hut in a small village in Northeast Africa during the civil war. The serenity and peace of those hours fled like the mosquitos when rebels marched in and started firing their Russian assault machines in the middle of the village. Explosions lit up the night sky, and I went from counting the stars to tallying gun shots.
When my mother started running towards the hut, I instinctively clang to her dress and ran with her – my survival tact as a child. Once inside the hut, I realized we had left my baby brother behind. There was no time for fear and doubt as I sprinted back outside to carry my brother back to safety – or at least the illusion of it. All the while, my mother held her breath in panic and kept screaming at me to “run, run, run!” Although I was overwhelmed with chaos and the deafening sounds of weapons (and my mother’s high-pitched screaming), my mind was unflinching and clear. I had only one goal, which was to run and save my baby brother.
I was eight years young.
My life always involved soccer, and despite of growing up in poverty, the civil war and seeing people die, I always knew the next day would be brighter because I could play soccer with friends or strangers. I did not make it as a professional soccer player, but already started my legacy by influencing, sharing, and guiding children by coaching soccer at youth academies. Personally, I believe that besides music, sports in general – in my case soccer – bring peace, respect, cultural awareness, happiness, and unity to the world. I’m still striving and determined to coach children the beautiful game I love and help them become independent and strong-minded amidst the growing obstacles in life as they mature. The legacy I’m working towards is to build youth soccer academies throughout my country and other poverty regions. Just as I was able to make it through poverty and war, I hope to empower the youth, and enable children so that they can continue to pass on the hope.