More Than Me - Sona Tadesse Dadi

The day was a day full of inspirations that lead me to question my beliefs, motives and purpose in life.

Our English teacher had asked us to write a list about the ‘Pains and Gains of Immigration.’ It was an interesting class. Every student took a turn and gave long patriotic speeches about how they would work to better their world and their society had they migrated to a ‘better’ world. But then when our teacher said, “The only thing that really matters, other than getting good education, is having a good life and enjoying every minute,’ a thought stirred up in me. Hearing that was upsetting to me; how could someone not care about the rest of the world, mind their own business, and chase only their own selfish ambitions?

As much as that question sounded very heroic, I asked myself that same question. Wasn’t that what I was doing? I was looking for a better education abroad, trying to leave this country and find a better future for myself, by all means possible. Not even wanting to look back. I had denied my responsibility towards my country. I was willing to let Ethiopia wallow in her own mud of problems: corruption, famine wars,…I didn’t care. I thought I deserved a better life. And just as a small relief to my conscience, I promised myself to come back to my country at an old age, open a charity and settle comfortably with the money I earned working abroad. After all, I didn’t really care whether I was doing my dream job or not, just good money. It seemed like the ultimate solution to everything. People who had money were happy, fashionable, accepted and better off than the rest of us. At least that was the impression I had got from countless hours wasted in front of my television. More than that, it seemed like other options weren’t wise.

So I kept thinking. Is it because I’m better than my other fellow Ethiopians that I am where I am today? NO. Is it luck? NO. Did I deserve the good education I got? Not at all. I might as well have been that lonely girl living in a faraway land, I could’ve been an HIV victim, I could’ve been the girl on the street with a sick mother….I could go on and on.

All I know is, right now, I have been given this one chance, an opportunity to be the change. I have the responsibility to stand up for my people, to relieve them of their pains and suffering. Try to put back their shattered hopes and broken dreams. I have been given a chance to matter and better someone else’s life. Be the answer to their prayers. Yes, I wasn’t to be a solution.

 True living for me, now, is not about how much fame I’ve got, money in my name, how many formulas I discover or how well I follow fashion; it’s about being there for my people, nation and continent. All the material things are vain to me now, they’re so shallow and temporary, and focusing on them would make me nothing more. How foolish was I to invest my time and energy in to something that would perish and fade away soon and doesn’t nearly satisfy?

I believe that we’ve been built for something more than ourselves. We have a higher calling to seek and pursue change that will last. I think that such meticulously designed beings, such incredibly intelligent minds were meant to live for something more. I know that the fact that we are alive and breathing has got a purpose. We are all an answer to a set of problems; it’s up to us to find them out and use our skills and personal experience to enrich one another’s life, to be a stepping stone and not a stumbling block for others. To leave own strong opinions and work together for the common good.

To sacrifice oneself for the sake of others, to leave the comfort of your own entourage, to take a step outside and face reality just may be the most selfless thing we could do but is the only way to make a difference.