Throughout my life, I have been privileged to have family, colleagues and friends who have stepped in for me. The joys of such may never be experienced by the giver, but definitely a shift takes place in the life of the receiver.
Trying to figure it out
Do you sometimes try to figure it all out by yourself? Thinking through how you can bring to reality a wish or desire guided by your ‘perfect plan’? One wish of mine was to pursue a degree but the cost kept me postponing my start date as I had other responsibilities. But then, mimi nani? I had a ‘master plan’ to make it happen. It included saving up at my bank, joining a Sacco then taking a loan. I then went ahead to make inquiries at other institutions. When my manager heard that, she asked if I would consider Strathmore too. Let’s just say I did my part and eventually got an admission letter, without a clue of where I would get the fees. I was hesitant to join classes. “You have to begin attending classes,” Mariam, my manager, would insist. Through her help, I applied for a scholarship. The Esther Kidambi scholarship has enabled me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Hotel Management. I’m in my 3rd year now as an evening student.
What has the journey been like…?
It’s been full of academic and life lessons. Take for instance, the “Soft Skill” unit taught in the first semester by Dr. Lucy Gikonyo (May her soul rest in peace). She helped us answer questions such as: Who are you? What makes you unique? What fears do you have and how do you overcome them?. The topic of what my fears were felt like a one-on-one session. As a mother of an autistic child, I wasn’t sure how things would turn out at home as I ventured to upskill. But by the end of that semester, this unit cemented my reason to move on as it silenced my fears.
What can you tell us about autism?
Experts state that Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing delays in social interaction and communication. It also comprises limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term “spectrum” in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity.
For the reader that’s wondering, how is Monica doing it – what can you tell them?
For sure, I have not figured it out yet. This is one journey that I embarked on even though I was in denial. God knows I asked questions. Why? More so because our son has a twin that is ‘normal’. Though moments arise, I chose to continually learn as much as possible about autism, provide consistent structure and routine to our son, connect with other parents of children with autism and seek expert help for concerns that arise. With that said, the support of family has been unmerited.
What else would you like to share?
(With a spark in her eyes) Seven years later, the lad is thriving and continues to integrate with other kids. You can barely tell the difference between him and the others. I have also discovered that even within the University I am not the only one raising a child with autism.
Let me close by saying, my life runs like a clock; any form of disruption can truly mess up the ‘grand plan’ but even with the clock, I have come to appreciate that you can never do life alone. Somewhere, somehow, someday, someone comes along and reignites your purpose. As you ponder on your highs and lows today, trust God in the process and remember life is not a marathon to be won, but a journey to be traversed.
This article has been written by Annete Karanja.
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