“Hi can I please have R100 unleaded” I ask the petrol attendant.
“Yebo mama” she replies opening the flap on my car and sticking in the petrol pump. Her smile awakens my inner dream catcher.
“Can I ask you a random question? Just pretend that there was a magic genie here and he asked you if you could wish for anything in the world right now – what would it be? If you could make any dream come true, what is it?” I ask, now walking beside her as she cleans the windscreen.
“Yoh! Me? I don’t know. I am shy,” she giggles, “maybe you can go and ask one of the others here what they think. But I am shy to talk about these things…”
“But it’s your smile that is making me think of a magical genie, not the others, so I’m asking YOU!” We are both laughing now. The other people sitting in their cars waiting for petrol watch on in amusement. “You know, anything in life is possible. If you know what your dream is, then there is no reason why it can’t come true… so tell me, what is it?”
“Ok. Well firstly, I wish that the government here would give more jobs to the younger people. You know, where I am living in Mandela Park (squatter camp) the younger people have nothing to do, they can’t find jobs and so they are doing all the wrong things, alcohol and drugs. My dream is for them to get jobs so that they can be happy and not do these things”.
“I can imagine. I agree with you. And is there something that you want for yourself?”
She thinks for some time. It is clear that no one has ever asked her this before. “Well, my dream is to go study”.
“What would you like to study?” A part of my heart is sore. I know so many people who have studied after school and complained the whole way through, not even really wanting to do it or appreciating that they are in a position where they even can study – and here is someone who didn’t have that same opportunity and who truly wants to study but is instead filling up petrol tanks.
“Social work. I wish to be a social worker… so I can help people. This is my dream – to help” she smiles. “If i could study to be a social worker then I can help children whose parents have left them, and I can help the youngsters who are on drugs. I can even try and get jobs for some of the people in Mandela Park! Yes, this is my dream…” she says closing the bonnet. “But now it isn’t possible because I don’t have the money. You see we have no mother in my family and so I have to pay the rent for my sisters and their children, I am helping to pay for the food too so I must work here at the garage”.
“So if I heard you correctly, your wish is to help others?”
“And you are supporting your family and helping to pay rent and to provide food – so, although it may not be exactly how you envisioned helping, you ARE helping others! You actually are living your dream!” I say excitedly.
“Yes that is true!” She smiles.
“Do you know that our thoughts affect the world around us? The possibilities are endless of what could happen! Who knows someone might even see your picture and read your words and feel the urge to help pay towards you becoming a social worker one day! ”
If you would like to donate towards Andi’s studies I have her cell number – just let me know! I’m sure it would make her smile even wider. If not, let’s hold her in our thoughts and focus on her helping others just as she so wishes to do. And don’t forget to take a moment of appreciation for what you have and where you are in life right now 🙂