What does it feel like to be a first-generation South Sudanese/Ugandan Canadian child of immigrant parents? There are many challenges I must deal with every day including family issues, work, sports and university. To top all the things off, it has been three years since I have joined the world of an adult and it makes the pressure of sustaining excellence for not only my family… but my community as well.
Living in a household of nine, there was never a dull moment. There was always some type of event happening whether it was good or bad. Personally though, I felt different than my other brothers and sister because I was felt like I could do so much greater things… but because there was always trouble with my older siblings, I could never achieve my dreams. It felt like I was trapped in a box with no way to escape. That is until my mother sacrificed and dedicated herself to giving as much as possible for both me and my twin brother. As a young child, I never understood why she would do too much and always be that overbearing parent. I guess it was because she loved us. But the underlying question I consciously thought was, “Does her love impede my success of being a normal child?” There is no answer to this as you can never measure a love for your child.
Now that I fast forward my life to the present, I look at myself and wonder how I’m able to handle volleyball, university, volunteering and helping my family. The thing that drives me is DREAMS. I know to myself I have made countless mistakes with my family and I know some of those mistakes were worse than others… but if we are human, shouldn’t we be allowed to make mistakes and learn. In Rick Warren’s word “We are products of our past [mistakes], but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” So, it's okay for me to be a different race, it's okay for me to be different than my brothers and sister, it's okay for me to make mistakes and it's okay for me to juggle my adult life. Because one thing I know for sure is that I'm a strong, determined South Sudanese/Ugandan Canadian child who is proud of being a Calgarian, who is proud of the achievements that were obtained in the past 20 years and who is ready to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor for not only himself… but for his community and nation!
Local Laundry is a great reminder that people can achieve their dreams once they let go and be free. So, I am thankful for meeting Connor one night at a market and understand Dustin and his vision of creating something greater that’s beyond them and being hardworking selfless individuals who care for the citizens of Calgary.