Be Grateful


My dad comes from very humble beginnings. He is a last born in his family of nine children. His parents were very poor; most of the time they couldn’t afford even to buy him school uniforms and shoes. Even though they were farmers, but they didn’t earn that much, therefore the money was not enough to raise nine kids. There were also living in two small houses made by clay with hay or grass rooftops, the ones if you accidentally light the fire or it rains a lot, they are gone. This is how poor they were.

Each year my father would have only one school uniform to wear every school day, and he would wear it even if it became ripped after wearing it for so long. Things changed after he grew up a little bit, and started working on the farm to earn money for himself. He would use that money to buy school uniforms, may be pay for his tuition frees, and other things. So, my father started working when he was very young, and it was because he didn’t have any other options.

He used to hate living in that lifestyle, and he promised himself he was going to work really hard to get out of the village he grew up here in one of rural areas in Tanzania, but also get out of poverty.

Even the schools he went were far from where he lived; he had to walk two hours on bear foot each school day to go to school, and walk two hours back from school to home. They didn’t have vehicles or other means of transport in those days in his village.

When he went to school his constantly mission was to get out of poverty. He was going to get the education that his parents didn’t get a chance to get, and he was going to use that education to get out of that village, and get a better life.

So, he studied very hard and managed to get all A’s in his school grades.  To make the long story short, he managed to get out of the village and the rest is history. I am one of his fruits.

When we were young, my siblings and I thought our father was very strict, especially when it came to school and making sure we had good manners. We were on patrol 16 hours a day. We were allowed to watch TV maybe two times a week, until school is closed then we would watch maybe once every day. But as we grew older, we really understood that our dad did that because he loves us, and that was his way to protected us and made sure we excelled in school, and raised us well.

And we really have a lot to thank our parents for the way they raised us. Both of my parents come from very humble beginnings, and there was so much to learn from them.

For instance when my father was growing up;  since his parents could not provide for him that he and my mom provided us, during our childhood, he wanted us to know that because we were in better position than he did, he was expecting us to excel more than he did.

You see, I used to love school a lot, maybe except during exams periods. It’s just because we didn’t have other options; our dad would not take any excuse for any failing grade. He wanted us to be first in our classes just like he did in his school time. He didn’t understand why we failed in some classes and subjects, since we had everything that he didn’t have when he was going to school in his days. We had electricity, living in a nice brick house that he provided, we didn’t have to work, our school was very near to our house, everything was provided for us including uniforms, shoes, tuition fees, and so on, including home schooling, and yet we failed in some classes and subjects.

There were times during our exam preparation and studying days he even volunteered to stay home every night so that he could keep us company and made sure we were studying.  We would be in the dining room studying, and he would be in the living room reading newspapers.

Some days we would come home with good news, because we got many A passing grades. And my dad would be very happy, but only for a couple of days. After that he would reminded us to not stay comfortable, we needed to continue with the same efforts, or else next period we wouldn’t be able to get more A passing grades, or be the first ones in our classes.

So, my dad was the first one to taught us to never take things for granted, not everything is guaranteed. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you have got when you can today. He also has taught us to be grateful. When you have a roof over your head, can afford more than one pair of school uniforms, and have plenty of food on your table, and so on; that is something to be grateful and never to be taken for granted.

Some people wished to have what you have, do what you do. If they could only have opportunities and exposures you have for instance, they could have done so many things with them that you may be taking advantage of today.

If you have someone that loves and supports you; do not take that for granted. Some people do not even have one friend that can be trusted. So love that person back before you become friendless like so many of us.

If you are complaining about your job or what you do to make a living, at least you have a paying job, or an income stream. Some people are serving for free and do not know when their efforts are going to start paying off. Some people are unemployed and do not know who is going to hire them very soon so that they can put their skills into use.

Maybe sometimes I forget, but when I remember where my parents came from and how hard they had to fight to get out in their villages so that I could have a better life that they didn’t have, I am reminded to never take things for granted. I am also reminded to always be grateful.

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