To write about the unsung heroes I find in my life on a daily basis.
Heroes that devote time, resources and energy to teach and equip the youth of Qwa Qwa. Heroes willing to talk about tough subjects, subjects that parents avoid, subjects thought to be culturally taboo.
Subjects that save lives, empowering youth with the ability to make choices for a better tomorrow.
In a country where 1 out of 4 are infected and dying from AIDS yet accurate information is scarce, these heroes teach and encourage open discussion, encouraging questions.
Questions that drive fear into many young hearts:
“How do I protect myself if I am caring for someone sick.” “Can I take care of my mom and not be afraid of dying myself?”
Additionally these heroes know that talking about how transmission occurs isn’t enough. Telling someone not to do something often causes the opposite reaction.
These heroes invest themselves creating a safe environment to talk about relationships, abuse, drugs, sex, choices.
Empowering and encouraging DISCUSSION as the students discuss misconceptions, perceptions, and begin to formulate personal values and beliefs learning how to walk them out. These discussions would never happen if the kids didn’t feel safe.
If these heroes didn’t expose and share their lives with them, including their mistakes.
Especially, past mistakes.
Opening doors to real talk. real pain. real fear. real freedom.
Everyday these unsung heroes enter schools, talk in taxis, share in neighborhoods never recognizing the impact of their time.
The name of these unsung heroes in my life? Coaches.