A Tiny Ray Of Hope: Second Place Winner of LittAfrica 2023 Writing Contest

A Tiny Ray Of Hope: A Letter For The Youth Of Africa

By Ombugadu Blessing Sabo, Nigeria

Dear youngie,

I know a lot has happened to you over the years, so much that you thought you were going to pass out without even making it through. Perhaps, you’re still passing through a tough time right now or are even about to. I may not understand the lot you’ve been through neither can I pretend to be in your shoes. But I can rub your feet when it hurts, I can empathize with you.

Travel down memory lane. Do you still recall when you saw adults and wished the hands of the clock could just tick quickly and take you to where they were? As a kid, you thought they had it all together, as well as the freedom to do whatever they desired. Now that you have become like them, you wish you could go back in time to become a child again. The burden of adulthood really sucks, you think! The freedom you thought adults had has now become illusory. In my country, we use the phrase “adulthood na scam” to sum it up. It is clear that for every stage of life, there are inconveniences and the best you can do is to maximize each of these stages and enjoy it while it still lasts.

Lingering thoughts of how your life should have been better easily make your mind their neighborhood. Those that went ahead of you didn’t help to make your path smooth. It is now replete with bumps. Failed promises from politicians haven’t helped either. The blame game then becomes inevitable. Fingers are pointed. The thumb to God, the index to parents and the other three back to the individual. The fact that three fingers point back at you means the solution to your anger is deep within you. Playing the blame game only makes you think you’re smart, but has never made anyone a winner before. Maybe you should ask our ancestors Adam and Eve! I believe they’ll explain this better to you.

“Let no one despise your youth…” says Paul, the famous writer of most epistles in the Bible. Oftentimes I see you despising yourself. Instead of despising your gifts, hone them. Yes, things aren’t as big as you want them to be, your mates are earning bigger than you and touring their dream countries but here you are, still seeking employment. It is your diligence that’ll serve as your pass ticket to the hall of nobles. While comparing yourself with your mates, please remember those who died. You have so much to be grateful for youngie! I know you’re still trusting God for so many miracles, but do not lose the glimpse of what God has given you in the quest of bigger miracles. Being alive is the biggest miracle.

The ‘win’ will definitely come, but do not let the ‘when’ distract you. Consider a young Nigerian, Dorcas Sheffy Bello, the brain behind ‘Unzipped Stories Africa.’ She just got to the limelight this year after two years of consistent writing (an hour every day). Or Malala Yusafzai, a Pakistan activist who despite all odds became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of fifteen. Then there is the little maid in Naaman’s house, who saved him from leprosy and the young Joseph, who saved an entire nation from hunger. There are many more young people just like you and me. While still a tiny sperm, you won the marathon race involving one hundred million sperms just to form you! You began this life’s race as a winner, so it’s too late to give up now.

You are called ‘youth’ not just for fancy, but because you represent energy, vitality, potential and the voice of change. I believe that you are the generation that will change the world. You are more connected than any generation before you, and you are more aware of the challenges we face. You are also more creative and innovative. You have the power to create a better future for everyone.

My youngie, I know I may not solve whatever it is that you’re passing through, but I pray you find hope in these words scribbled from my heart and in the air you still breathe. I am rooting for you!

Ombugadu Blessing Sabo is a professional teacher of chemistry in Nigeria. She is currently studying a Master of Science in analytical chemistry at Bayero University Kano, Nigeria. She is also a writer, a poet and a bag maker (of all kinds). She loves to speak to and with young people about life, purpose and living full to die empty. She hopes for a future where people, especially the young, will truly and personally experience love for themselves; first as a noun (Jesus) before the verb. She hopes to tour the world for God’s glory and meet like-minded people.

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