There was not much to surprise a soul as we took this journey.
The Spelling Bee exercise was not an uncommon thing. Either you had watched it take place or heard of it . I was lucky to have been a part of this exercise in Uganda this year, 2017. It started out like everything else, normal, exciting on most days. You knew what schools you expected to bring out their very best without fail. You would tell off a child face their readiness. You even without meaning picked out your favorite ones and said a louder prayer for them. It was a competition and so far energies were great.
So we were all hit with Stony silence when to the hot seats little frail hands were led.We wanted to get on but there was this plea…. Let’s just wait for this one school “Soroti school of the blind ”. They have put in much to come and they’re coming from a distance. Now, if you’ve waited for someone or something for hours you’ll know how disinterested you’ll be. They did arrive and we saw them, very polite but usual.By this time no one was paying attention to the boy who had walked in with his stick and organ.
It was until he kept spelling word after word that for the first time all eyes were opened to the word Spelling Bee Competition “. Without discussion you could tell every heart in the room was saying the same prayer….Emmanuel, do win. Without convening a meeting for all to agree, the air told you something had just changed and the other participants were not sitting idly anymore. The crowd followed his fingers which rapidly tapped at his chest right before he spelt each word. He would say it, look into space where only he could see, go over the word in his mind using his lips then tap tap tap and spell it. The crowd felt the punch more than he did when he couldn’t spell that particular word that got him out of the struggle for best three but hey, he made it to the finals!
There is one thing to be said about perseverance and another to be sung about dancing in the smoking fire. It’s another completely different thing to find someone who does both. Emmanuel Opera showed us he was all to give. See, this is a story told through my eyes and vantage point about a boy I barely know but one who I know needs his story of gold wrapped and handed out.His teacher described him as persistent and consistent, one who’s never brought down by life’s wits. Academically enduring, humble, extra disciplined and set to finish whatever he starts. We thought yeah yeah.. Until he proved this himself.He simply took his organ that he called best friend and did the next best awesome thing. He played and sang and it felt like our hearts had never understood to hear the symphony of music and say melody. We were captured. A few tears shed but not in pity, in realisation of how much was out there and not sought after. Eyes closed, pulling at his organ like it were the only thing he knew, he led us into the National Anthem. He was only letting us know his sight was without flaw or blur.
As I write this,I don’t know what might flash across your mind. You might see it as the usual thing, after all aren’t we surrounded with these stories everyday.I am pleading with you on behalf of Emmanuel Opera who at the moment is unaware of such a sanctuary set to help him further his education and music career. He says when he sings he can see what he’s never had chance to see. He can touch faces and hug endless smiles. This is a petition to anyone who might come across this story to reach into and out and support him in his pursuit. School of the blind Soroti and Pepea Africa Initiative Office are the places you can reach to anyone to find out about its operations.
God bless you. Let’s help each other up