When I told one of my best friends about this project, she immediately offered to be there for me should any negative backlash arise. Her words, while necessary and appreciated, made me apprehensive about what I had done. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t one bit nervous about this blog; the internet is a scary place, and here I am putting myself out there attempting to address such a delicate topic. I almost didn’t launch this project or this blog because I have seen and heard what malicious people can do to bring someone down, but have decided to forge ahead encouraged by the vast good that could come of this.
At this point I haven’t widely publicised this site, and actually felt an odd sense of relief when I checked the survey and found only the same two responses that were there from last night; relief because that meant not many people had read it yet, and therefore not many people were judging. But that defeats the point! I want people to read it and I want people to respond, as many as possible. But with volume comes exposure, and with exposure comes risk, and it is that risk which I fear.
A bit of fear is healthy — it’s what restrains us from dangerous overconfidence. When we push through fear, we often astound even ourselves. My very first interpreting case was a family with a young child who had just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The mother was distraught, understandably, and seemed overwhelmed by all the information being thrown at her about her child’s condition. In that first appointment, I wondered how she would fare with understanding nutrition labels, calculating her child’s carbohydrate correction, remembering the differences between the two types of insulin, managing diabetic emergencies. She was so wrapped up in sadness and trapped behind a language barrier that I genuinely worried about how she would cope.
Fast forward to two years later, and this lady is a rockstar who can calculate everything in her sleep. She asks perceptive questions, trying out her English until she gets stuck and turns to me, and is fully engaged in her child’s care. There are still difficulties, but the transformation has been so remarkable that it inspires even me in my daily challenges at school. Such is the resilience of the human spirit in the face of no choice. But I have choices, here: I could have chosen to not bring this project to life, to not launch this blog. I am afraid of it not being well-received or responded to, and I am afraid of making mistakes in the Swahili versions of my posts. It’s so tempting to just write in English and leave it at that, but that would be taking the easy way out and that’s not how growth happens.
So join me in this journey and overcome one fear of your own — and through that, find courage to tackle another one.
Nilipomuambia besti wangu mmoja kuhusu huu mradi, mara moja aliahidi kuniunga mkono iwapo ningeshambuliwa kwa kuzungumzia haya masuala. Nilithamini maneno yake hayo ya muhimu, lakini pia nilianza kusita kuhusu kuanzisha hii blogu. Nitakuwa ninadanganya nikisema eti sina woga hata kidogo; mtandaoni kuna mambo, na sio yote ni mema hasa kwa mjadala kama huu unaohusu masuala nyeti. Kidogo nighairi kabisa kuanzisha huu mradi, kwa kuwa nimesoma na kusikia mengi kuhusu wanayofanya wenye nia mbaya, lakini niliamua kusonga mbele kwa kuwa kuna mema mengi yanayoweza kuibuka.
Bado sijatangaza kwa sana hii blogu, na kusema ukweli nilijisikia ahueni nilipoona bado nina simulizi mbili tu tangu jana; ina maana bado haijaonwa kwa wingi, ambayo pia inamaanisha kuwa wanaohukumu bado sio wengi. Lakini hii ni kinyume na malengo ya kuanzisha hili jukwaa! Ninapenda watu waisome na kuijibu, wengi iwezekanavyo. Lakini kwenye wingi kuna muonekano, na kwenye huo muonekano ndipo woga wangu unapochimbukia.
Kuwa na woga kidogo ni jambo zuri — inatuzuia tusijiamini kupita kiasi. Tunapokazana licha ya woga, mafanikio yajayo huwa yanatushangaza hata sisi wenyewe. Kesi yangu ya kwanza ya kutafsiri ilikuwa familia yenye mtoto mdogo aliyegundulika kuwa na kisukari cha kuzaliwa. Mama alikuwa amefadhaika sana, na kuonekana kuzidiwa na maelezo yote aliyokuwa anapewa kuhusu hali ya mtoto wake. Siku hiyo nilijiuliza ni namna gani huyo mama angeweza kumudu yote — kusoma nembo za lishe, kupiga mahesabu ya wanga kwenye chakula, kukumbuka tofauti kati ya aina mbili za insulini, kukabiliana na dharura. Alikuwa na huzuni sana, basi ukijumlisha pamoja na kutofahamu vizuri Kiingereza nilihofu angeyaweza yote vipi.
Miaka miwili mbeleni, huyu mama ni shujaa anayeyaweza mambo yote kwa wepesi kabisa. Anauliza maswali mazuri, anajaribu kutumia Kiingereza mpaka pale anapokwama na kunigeukia mimi, na amebobea kabisa katika kumudu hali ya mwanae. Bado kuna ugumu wa hapa na pale, lakini kuimarika kwake kumenihamasisha hata mimi katika masomo yangu na shughuli nyingine ngumu. Utashi unaimarika pale ambapo hakuna jinsi. Lakini mimi haya nimejichagulia: ningeweza kuamua kutoanzisha huu mradi wala hii blogu. Ninaogopa kuwa haitapokelewa vizuri na watu hawatachangia simulizi zao, na pia ninaogopa kukosea katika tafsiri zangu Kiswahili. Nintamani kuandika tu kwa Kiingereza niachie hapo, lakini hiyo itakuwa njia ya mkato na hivyo sivyo tukuavyo kiakili.
Kwa hiyo ungana nami katika hii safari, upambane na kitu kimoja unachokiogopa — kupitia hapo utapata nguvu ya kuondokana na woga mwingine.