My Sunday begins half an hour later than other days.
It’s a few minutes of extra slumber but it means the world to me. I go to sleep hoping that I’ll get to see the face of my prince before dawn… before the sun cuts through the blinds in my room. I hope that I’ll get to taste the crisps I see at the supermarket every Sunday before I am awakened by the realities of day. Every day, my dreams get cut short. Sometimes it’s by the shout of mother waking the household while other times it is the moo-ing of that cow begging to be milked. Every day is the same… a series of cultivated hopes that end in a rude awakening. Every day except Sunday. No wonder this day means the world to me. I haven’t seen the face of my prince yet, nor have I had the pleasure of crunching that one crisp I got into my mouth last Sunday. But I have something to live for. The dreams have been progressing, each on alternate Sunday mornings, and that gives me hope. Hope that they will come true; in my dreamy world, or even better, in the real world.
Today is different.
I get a chance to pick what clothes to wear.
Though I only have two sets of ‘Sunday best’, I rejoice in the fact that they give me choice.
It’s only two choices but I cannot complain
At least its better than the one dress I call uniform on weekdays
Or the rags I wear to the farm on Saturday.
Today, I have a choice… and that choice makes it different.
Today I get to go to the shopping center after Church.
It’s just a few shops along the road that leads to the big city,
But it’s a shopping centre anyway.
I get to glare at the items on display
I may not have the money now, but the visual images are food for my dreams
And fuel for my diligence.
If I make the right choices, those crisps will be food on my plate one day.
I have a choice… to excel or to fail
It’s only two choices but they mean a lot to me.
Today I have a choice… and the choice I make makes it different.
Today is different.
There’ll be a football match in my school’s field in the afternoon.
I’ve been looking forward to it for as long as I can remember.
See, where I come from, organized matches are very, very rare…
We dress up for them… they’re the ‘in- thing’.
I have to choose right.., you know, on what to wear
Lest the colors are too dull for my prince to notice the wearer,
Or too bright that they scare him away.
I have to choose right,
Because I’ll be on the front row cheering
Sweet melodies for the team leading
A little humor for the one lagging
But just singing because it fills my heart with joy.
I have a choice to make… and I have to choose right.
Today is different.
Because we leave our differences in that field.
We celebrate the best players
And encourage those who came in second.
We interact like never before
Because the match gives us common ground.
Friendships are borne while more are strengthened
When we finally leave for home, we do it in unison.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the next weekend,
And a lot more to be done before then.
I see you, trendsetter.
Gaping at us from the window of your car,
Wondering how such a simple town can have so many people.
Not trying one bit to hide your dismay at the color combinations my people display.
Appalled by the fashion items we wear to matches,
And the distasteful decor that characterizes our event.
Today is different. It is better. Trust me.
But how would you understand if you didn’t see the rags I wore yesterday?
You insist that my red velvet blouse doesn’t match my orange skirt. Fine.
But who cares about matching if getting a black skirt to match means skipping a meal?
Would it matter if I got the color combination right for the dirty rags I wear to the farm?
Would you rather we had beautiful fields but no classes to study in?
Judge me not
by the fabric of my clothing
by the stammer in my speech
by the squint in my eyes
Or the cracks on my lips…
By the cleanliness of my apparel
The intelligence in my words
The beauty that my eyes reflect
Or, at the very least,
The melodies that leave my cracked lips.
Judge us not by the dust on our feet but by the enthusiasm with which we interact and the productivity of our interactions.
Because when all is done, the latter will matter more.
When the time is right, I will worry about the former.
For now, get me an education.
Give me a chance to be knowledgeable.
Teach my children how to read and write.
Make it clear what is wrong or right.
Introduce color combinations,
Primary and secondary and teach which ones clash.
While you do that,
I’ll ensure that their uniform is clean
That their grammar use is proficient,
That there’s water to clean the dust out of their eyes
And plenty more to keep them hydrated.
It’s a case of priorities.
When I savor every bite of the crisps on display, then, and only then can fashion items or color pallets be food for my dreams.
I hope… hope against all hope
That the light at the end of the tunnel is not a fireworm’s flicker
That the dreams I hold so dear will come true,
And by so doing, pave way for new ones.
Do not judge me by your standards
Nor by your priorities.
Judge me by the hope that keeps me going
And the diligence with which I work towards my dreams.
( Based on a true story… written for those amongst us that judge without knowing the basics about the subjects of our judgements )