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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kamae Girls Borstal Institution Graduation Speech

7th July 2017 10:30 a.m.

Mistakes….we can survive them….
(L-R) Clean Start Director Teresa Njoroge, Mumbi and Catherine Kiama of Akili Dada & Esther Mwangi.

Ladies, gentlemen and our distinguished graduating class…good morning.
On behalf of Akili Dada, we are truly delighted to be part of the 1st inaugural graduation ceremony and to share in this momentous celebration with you. We applaud the efforts of the 21 young ladies who are the reasons we are here today. We salute you for your hard work, resilience and determination and pray that these are traits that will stay with you and that will serve you well for a long long time to come…

Before we get to the most important part of today’s ceremony; which is the cake cutting- allow me to tell you a story…. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I pushed my big sister into a pond of brown murky water. This pond was actually a rather deep garbage hole by any standard and I pushed my sister in deliberately. At the time, I thought it would be funny and I did not think of the possible harm that may have befallen my own big sister! When I was 8 or 9 years old, I got into a fight with a boy who was one class my senior because he was a bully. When I was 14 of 15 while in High School, I found out one of my classmates was using drugs which were actually stolen and instead of reporting her immediately, I kept the drugs in my locker for a whole term…

Looking back at my childhood escapades, today I realize how many laws I potentially broke and how many mistakes some near fatal I have made. For instance, pushing my sister into that pond could have easily turned to at best- assault occasioning actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm or at worst; God forbid –attempted murder! My first and only fight with Christopher the bully could have resulted in me being charged with battery and storing stolen drugs because I thought I was protecting a classmate , that would have just had me charged with handling stolen goods, aiding and abetting the furtherance of a crime and being in possession of narcotics to name but a few.

The punishment for each of those crimes is a custodial sentence which means I could have easily been here in this institution just like you. You have made mistakes, but so have I….if everyone here would be really honest with themselves and if we are lucky with us too; you will realize they have made mistakes too…Some of them have perhaps driven rather recklessly while on their cell phone or even worse while after a drink too many, others have perhaps taken something that isn’t there’s while the rest may have said something untrue about a person. That could have them charged too with reckless and dangerous driving, theft and defamation…

The thing about being human also means we make mistakes. Lots of them!!!Some of them may crush our worlds while others may go unnoticed but they are all mistakes! Mistakes teach us, mistakes scare some of us but mistakes do not define us. Someone once said that when you make a mistake, there are three things you should do:
1-      Admit it
2-      Learn from it
3-      Do not repeat it!

I don’t know what mistake lead you here and quite frankly it doesn’t matter! But I do want to know if you have admitted it, if you are learning from it and if you solemnly swear never to repeat it!!!!

The mere fact we are gathered here on this beautiful day may be a good indication that some if not all of us are not letting our mistakes prevent us from achieving our goals. I encourage each and every one of to you to keep pursuing that which sets your soul on fire, to keep growing and too keep going. And when you do leave here, which you will….I pray that you will put yourself out there, that you will aspire to continue with your education and that you will remember that you are not your mistake and you are not your struggles, you are not your shortcoming but that you are a beautiful, amazing and all sorts of incredible.

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