Everyone has a dream. Some people dream to become pilots, doctors, teachers, engineers, and lawyers. Everyone in life has ambitions and aspirations but these are not always attainable, as I have come to learn. It takes something more than wishing to do something. You must work on something to see it become a reality. The only thing that takes you from wishing for something to acting on something is determination.
I remember 10 years ago, the moment I first arrived in Uganda from Congo. Everyone communicated in a local language and in English. I could not speak either one. I was just like other Congolese youth in Kampala who could not speak the language. Not knowing English was very challenging to integrate in Ugandan society and only few places was providing English lessons for adults for free or for an affordable price. Most Congolese could not take English classes because of their financial situation. At that time I could not afford to go to a prestigious school to be able to learn English.
I told myself something must be done to help myself and help all these people struggling with language. I first joined a free English center to be able to speak and write. In less than a year I knew enough to teach others. My friend Kefa and I decided to open an English center where we can teach the community, struggling to integrate because of language barriers, English.
Some people thought we were crazy. Those we approached to support us financially said it’s impossible for foreigners to start an English Centre. We did not give up. Despite the discouragement and denials we decided to move on and just do it. Later the Centre became the only English Centre in the slum of Katwe (in Kampala) providing English lessons to those who could not afford it – even including local Ugandans. The first day the center was opened, hundreds of people showed up wanting to learn. I was a refugee in a foreign country, a French speaker with little knowledge of English, and I had no money. Yet, I did not give up because I knew what needed to be done. The only thing that kept me going was determination.
This applies to a variety of life situations. For example:
Starting a business
Committing to a relationship or deciding to get married
Going to school and working while life demands your time with family or other responsibilities
Beating an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or any other vice
Planning to lose weight or gain muscles
Without determination you cannot make it happen.
I see determination as a driving force in everything we act on. My determination to learn, the passion to transform my community, the ability to teach others with little resources in a foreign country, has led to a bigger change in the community. As a big result, the English Centre was transformed into a grassroots urban refugee organization that is serving hundreds of refugees in Kampala today through many different programs. From two people, the organization has more than 15 paid staff, attracted volunteers from all over the world and has gained a lot of international recognition and awards. Without determination we cannot endure the tough challenges we face in life.
Throughout my life experience I have learned that all success in this life is preceded by tough situations and how you react to them, how much determination you have will help you get through them and achieve success.
Colin Powell said, “A dream does not become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Reminding us that everything in life can be attained but only if we are willing to work hard on it. Without that determination our spirit will crumble at the first sign of trouble.
Dreams are made possible through determination.
Without determination you cannot live your dreams.