Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oprah's gift and my tears

I shed bittersweet tears this evening after watching these videos about "Oprah's girls".

Tears of joy for the gifted, determined, wise little girls who have had their lives transformed so dramatically by Oprah's gift. Tears of joy that their dreams have come true, that they have an amazing chance. Tears in hope of their reaching their goals and beyond.

Sad tears for the fact that over 40 years after Nigeria gained independence, we have still not gotten it right. There are still millions of girls who are just like those girls in the videos, even worse off in Nigeria.

I shed tears because we have leaders content to ride their Mercedes Benz on roads riddled with potholes, like the shock absorbers make it okay. I weep silently at our "elite", content to live in mini-fortresses which double as lighthouses, because they are the only ones able to afford generating sets in the neighborhood, instead of fixing electricity. They ship their children abroad en-masse to be educated, at institutions they could never afford by legitimate means or private universities at home, instead of fixing the system. I shiver at people who proudly talk about "our culture"- a decayed neo-culture, a caricature of the old values, where one with neither any sense at all nor of a high moral standing is valued more than millions of higher worth, just because of filthy lucre.

My sad tears are also occasioned by the situation of our young people. For poverty is a curse, but a lack of dreams and burning aspirations apart from baffs, a big car and the latest this or that is an even greater curse.

Ask a cousin what you can get for her and you will ninety times out of 100 hear her say perfume, or timberlands or a top. It is rare nowadays to hear "a book" . Even the privileged youth take their opportunities for granted, lofty aspirations are a waste of time, get rich quick schemes in order to "make it" are the in thing now.

I shed tears at my own cowardice, I feel a yearning to make a difference, yet fear of the unknown and a reluctance to leave my comfort zone is preventing me from trying better than half heartedly to make a change.

I shed tears because I don’t know if I will ever be brave enough.

3 comments:

Omodudu said...

This is a moving piece you have here.

April said...

Marin, I understand how you must be feeling. But I honestly believe that rather than shedding tears and desparing about if/how one can make a change, we should each try to do our own bit - no matter how small. If it isn't practical to start off on your own, get involved in one of the already established local charities/NGO's, volunteer your time or your expertise, if possible, pledge to donate a small but regular amount of money; and ensure that the beneficiary organisation or individual is able to account for the money that you send/give.

We may not all be able to afford to do the things that Oprah does, but that doesn't mean that we cannot make a contribution in our own unique way.

Nilla said...

Those girls in the videos are smart.

I agree with April's comment.

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