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The problem with our small dreams

The problem with our small dreams

This is my last send off to you this year, dear brothers, and I am happy US President Barrack Obama has given me something to write about, just like Hurricane Sandy gave him a lucky bounce in the campaigns.

Now he is president; and I am inspired. Brothers, I have spent more than 100 hours since the Republican primaries began followed by the campaigns up to the election, poring over material from international and local newspapers as well as the Internet about the US presidential campaigns. When the debates between Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama came last month, I woke up well before 4am each time to watch the debates. I almost spent a whole night on November 6 in front of the television, watching US presidential election results trickle in. I sat jubilantly as Obama gave his acceptance speech on November 7 and boy, what a speech! But now that the election is over, my mind has refused to settle.

I am happy for Obama, but I think I have spent too much time thinking about the dreams of one man. Why was I so eager to know what Obama said in Ohio, Iowa, Virginia and Chicago, places I have never been to, and about things that do not concern me the least? And I have not been alone. Majority of my colleagues, and we are over a thousand, have been following Obama’s campaign for a second term in office, as if it was a local affair. And now I ask, how many of us have a reason to stay awake to listen to any of our Kenyan presidential aspirants make a speech? But still, that is not what has been bothering me since Obama won a second term. My problem has been with myself. Look at it this way brother; Obama is just a man, not any different from any man I have come across, not any different from you and me as far as our abilities are concerned. But why is it possible that Obama has something that keeps me awake half a night while I have nothing that can keep him awake for an hour? Why is it that Obama’s dream moves the world yet many of our dreams do not even stir a family, leave alone a village? As I thought about this issue brother, I got one idea that could be part of the answer.

Selflessness! Most of the time our dreams are about how to build my house, buy my car, get my degree, own my business, make a lot of money for myself, and so on. It is always about me, myself and I. Obama on the other hand dreams and works for a better and fairer world for all Americans. In fact, he visualises a better world for us all. That is why his campaign stirs all of us. The guy does not do it for his wife and their two daughters only, but for all Americans regardless of their race. In addition, Obama kept me awake waiting for his speech because his dream is so big it petrifies many. How does a black guy from a broken family aspire to lead the world’s greatest super power? Right from 2008 his dream was, to say the least, improbable. It was bigger than the man himself. And in 2012 we all wanted to see whether the man could do it again, to win a race that had all the odds against him. And he did it. The reason anyone, Obama included, will not keep awake to read the story of my dreams is because they are usually too small. To build a house, to buy a second hand Toyota 110, to take my daughter to a private school, really?

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Can’t I dream of building one million houses for the poor or ensuring all girls, not only my daughter, get a decent education? That is our shortcoming fellow men. We dream too small and selfishly. And our dreams… who can’t buy a second hand car for Christ’s sakes? Well, I remember the last time I wrote on this forum it was still about the Obamas. That tells you how little there is to learn from my own life. But I think we can do better brothers. We can dream so big that the world looks at us in awe. We can aim so high that the moment we go aloft everyone follows us up in admiration. We can do it for humanity and for mother earth. When you sit down to make your New Year resolutions, just resolve never to entertain small dreams. Actually, the story of Obama teaches us that if we go for the big dream, the small ones tend to get solved without a sweat too. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

View Comments (2)
  • Thank you for this piece. It is such a good reminder for Kenyans – and may be something most parents can share with their children during the December holidays. Being selfless takes a lot of prayer and effort – and the people who keep their dreams alive finally are able to move people, to show them that it is ok to care a little bit for our neighbours.

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