The Last Word

By Liam Turner | Posted: Tuesday August 1, 2017

Mum I want this, Dad I want to go there. I hate school. Training was boring. We always get homework. Oh and of course … the hostel lunch was crap. Our family and friends would just about cop this once a day. We are so caught up in our own wee life and always worrying about trying to be better than everyone around us.

Today you got up in the morning, had the option to a nice warm shower. Then to the kitchen, where there is a cupboard full of food for breakfast. Then off to school. Most Year 13's hop into their nice car driving to a beautiful castle overlooking Dunedin. Turning up in our blazers and ties to one of the finniest schools in New Zealand. Then into class surrounded by technology and knowledge while given all these opportunities. We even get to spend a week in one of the greatest back doors of NZ, if not the world at the Mt Aspiring Lodge. We finish school and off to training, doing something we love building friendships and making memories. Back home for a cooked tea sitting in front of the fire watching TV. But yet we are still moaning about everything and expect all this to be put on a plate every day of the week.

Tomorrow you wake up with water dripping on your face and your freezing to death but grateful you see another day. Your name is Joseph and you live in Uganda, East Africa. You’re 15 and any age above six you are known as fortunate to still be alive. You turn over to see if your parents are up and healthy as they are both 43. This is past the average living age in East Africa, which is 41. It's 6.30 in the morning and Mum is off to work, as a maid for a Denmark family. Dad is off into town seeing if he can come up with some extra work and make a few more shillings for the family. You don’t have a kitchen, it’s just a cooking stove outside. There’s no breakfast this morning as you can’t start the fire for the stove as it's too wet. You head off to school leaving your 12 year old sister at home by herself. Women don’t go to school as their job is to tidy the one bedroom house and prepare and cook tea. Your class has 100 people in it and you must pay extra to sit in the front so you can hear and learn. More money if you want your homework marked and corrected. Back home for tea that your sister has cooked, grateful to see something on the table. Every day is a battle. You stay strong though and hope one day things will turn around. You just keep reminding yourself you're extremely lucky to live another day. Nothing is better than seeing your parents at the end of the day, it puts a smile on your face. Because tomorrow you may never see them again.

Boys, we don’t know how lucky we are until it’s all gone. Joseph would do anything to spend a day in our lives. Most likely having worst days than our worst day of our life. Yet he still grateful and even chucks a smile on his face at the end of the day. The sad thing about it is that it takes someone’s life or a terrible disaster to bring us back down to earth and start to appreciate the little things. It shouldn’t take something like that for us to appreciate little things, it should just happen.

So I hope this speech and story about Joseph’s life is reawakening but the problem is that we will realize how lucky we are today but then tomorrow it’s all gone and we're back to our own wee world. Sadly waiting for something serious to happen I challenge you on the odd day to look around, appreciate the little things and have the attitude that it’s the last day of your life cause tomorrow anything could happen.

As Michael Josephson once said, “Enjoy and be grateful for the little things in life, one day you will look back and realize they were the big things".