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  • Without Struggle, No Success
    Growing without a Story

    It is 2010. Two long years ago.
    Back then, I hadn't experienced struggle.
    The people of Sierra Leone, they had drowned in it.
    A horrific civil war, the plague of location, and the ignorance of millions, billions of people.
    Oh, our ignorance.

    These wise words,
    scrawled in broken english on the walls of this family's only room,
    leapt out and stole you.

    Outside, the smell of food crept inside the darkened house,
    and we stood awkwardly, reading and realising.

    I've mentioned it before,
    but somehow, through it all,
    their lips were creased by smiles.

    They were enriched by their struggles,
    gifted a happiness that we could never grasp,
    unable to overwhelm our easy-going lives.

    I still try and smile whenever I can.
    I am not an unhappy person.
    I find that sadness does not stay with me long.
    Guilt, on the other hand,
    settles down and reminds me,
    minute by minute,
    day after day.

    But still,
    even though I have done bad things,
    suffered through hardships that I may or may not have deserved,
    I still have not experienced struggle.

    I wonder if I ever will.

    Sometimes I think about what I've done.
    achieved,
    risked,
    felt in my heart,
    and I glimpse a giant of myself,
    the next chapter of my 'story'.

    But.

    In Sierra Leone,
    I met a young man who had nothing; no education, no money, not even the citizenship of his country,
    and still,
    still he aspired to work for the President.

    You cannot ignore that.

    I have a folder on my laptop,
    spoilt by pictures and memories of my short time in such a beautiful country,
    a country rich with inspiring and hopeful people,
    and I realise that whatever crap I'm in,
    whatever bullshit I reckon I'm struggling with,
    my battle is not a battle at all,
    it's always a sure win.

    'Growing Without a Story', the bottom line reads.

    It's nice to know,
    that there are people,
    like this wonderful community at Cowbird,
    that won't ever have to worry about this.

    Your stories are what they are,
    as affective, as emotional,
    and as poignant and touching,
    because of your Struggle.

    'Without Struggle, No Success.'

    You, and the people of Sierra Leone, inspire me to mould my own story,
    to join you in the success of Living.
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