The journey of a thousand miles

By Christine Maina. Christine, 17, is a student at Daraja Academy in Nanyuki, Kenya. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

“When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you will be successful. Nothing will hinder you from attaining your set goals. Only you can change your own life. Nobody can do it for you.”

Tina believed every single word in these few sentences, and lived her life keeping in mind that she had to succeed and change her own life, no matter what. She came from a humble background and was the last born in a family of four. Her beauty was incomparable to other girls, but the only thing that kept men from approaching her was blindness. Since her childhood, she attended schools for the blind but this did not prevent her from focusing on her life. There are times that she was abused, and worst of all, discriminated against. Some of her family members, her biological father included, considered her to be an outsider.

‘Disability is not inability.’ Every single person who came across Tina could confirm that this is a statement that she repeatedly uttered and proved to be true. She was a star in the education field. Her father considered her education to be a waste of money, since he believed that even though she exceled, she would forever be dependent.

Tina’s mother was a determined lady, a character trait that her lovely daughter also portrayed. Her mother worked tooth and nail to ensure that her daughter received all of the necessities that she required. Tina successfully finished secondary school, although there were many struggles. The time came for Tina to begin university, but the unexpected happened.

Tina’s mother, who paid all of her school fees, passed away. Her death came as a big blow to Tina. Nobody, not even her father, was willing to take her in or help her to attend university. She was kicked out of a place she knew to be home, and was left to roam the streets alone. Her walking stick was her only companion and guide. Fortunately, Tina had been raised Christian and was a strong believer. She believed that God would not forsake her, and true to her belief, she made a friend in a fellow street girl. Together, they found the means to survive.

At first, their idea to start a small shop seemed easy to implement. After several attempts, it turned out to be harder than they had imagined. Thoughts of giving up crossed their minds, but they did not entertain these thoughts for long. Tina’s friend offered to raise funds as a housekeeper, while Tina used her sewing skills to make and sell sweaters. Together, they raised enough capital to start their small shop.

Finally, their shop was opened. Within a period of five years, their store grew into a large supermarket preferred by many. Tina no longer needed support from her father and family members. She became rich, and she and her friend appeared in many television advertisements. Tina’s father couldn’t believe how successful she had become. He dropped his ego and apologized to her. For the first time since Tina’s birth, he referred to her as his beloved daughter. Tina was more than willing to forgive him and her relatives. She not only built her father a prestigious mansion, but also opened businesses for her siblings.

Tina’s wedding was attended by many people from all over the world. She was a sight of admiration. The couple’s wedding party included Tina’s business partner and her husband. Tina, a blind girl, proved that if something is important to you, you will find a way to get it.

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