May 13, 2022/0 Comments/in Featured StoryImpact Stories /

By Stella Cheboi

‘Life is a tune, dance to it’. In one year, we all encounter different experiences: – For instance, my 2021 was good, but this doesn’t mean it was easy. I had a balanced share of great, horrific, and average experiences.

I passed exams, I fell ill and had to undergo surgery, my friend got married, and I was there to witness it, I celebrated birthdays, made new friends, and created more networks.

On the flip side, I sometimes wondered how bills would get paid. I prayed for a miracle, more than a dozen times, when in situations that only God could intervene.

Sometimes, I snoozed the alarm and struggled to get out of bed. All these experiences were tunes that I danced to in 2021.

Do you ever envision how you want your year to play out? Well, I do. I set goals that I intend to accomplish, and, in the process, I allow myself to dream wild, to think of the impossible. In 2021, as I prepared my vision board, I included a pictorial representation of me receiving an award, and I remember laughing out loud at this thought -it was wild. The other goal that tickled me was “I will be an International Speaker” (Dreams are valid). I laughed at this as well, it was too ambitious!

As I kept dancing to the tune, I received an invitation to be a speaker at the AFCFTA Youth Indaba in South Africa in June (I guess this qualifies me as an International Speaker, yes?). It was an honor. And it went splendidly well. I did lots of research and learned a lot about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) in the process while networking with other speakers from South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda & Botswana.

Another catchy tune happened in October when I got the news that I was one of the ‘Peace Poem Awards’ winners at IGAD. It only became real to me when I attended the Award Ceremony where I met other creatives, networked with the amazing IGAD Community, and guests -Trust me, wild dreams do come true.

I share these two experiences to show you that this particular cliché statement “Whatever You believe in your mind, and you work on, you can become” is true and I am a testimony. I know some of us are still creating 2022 goals, I challenge you to dream wild, think of the impossible, and make it happen. You are great and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to through commitment and staying the course.

Through all my lived experiences in 2021, what I deeply appreciated at the end was: – A call from family and friends to check on me, great conversations over coffee dates and sleepovers, a shared smile, an extended hug, a word of affirmation, and a compliment. As we turn a new page of the 2022 book each day, let us purpose to birth beautiful memories.

Awardees for IGAD for Peace Campaign on Poems and short film

Cheboi is the Program Officer, Leadership Development and Mentorship at Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa