By Maryam, Tunisia
That day I left him and he wasn’t feeling good. My sister stood by him reading some verses of the Quran and you could barely understand what she was saying, she was in tears. I was shocked and hoped that nothing bad happened and that it would fade away once I came back home.
But everything was over, that day was the last day that I would call someone “Dad”.
I cried, I cried a lot… it wasn’t easy for me as a 14-year-old girl. Mum was in an awful condition and my sister as well. I felt so empty.
I didn’t know what to do. How was I going to live to the next day? The mere thought was driving me crazy. I hoped that I had the chance to talk to him for the last time, but cancer took everything away.
At that moment, I understood the true meaning of life. I was always asking myself, “God! Why me? I am still young. We did not even get the chance to talk about politics, technology, science.” I remember one time when I was bored, he came to me and said “Hey! Let’s invent something that your mother would be proud of.” I swear to God that he’s the one who taught me the true meaning of love, but once that love was gone, I realized that something big was about to happen.
Three years later after a lot of ups and downs, after a lot of sleepless nights and darkness, I was living by myself. Indeed, I took a step back and I questioned my own existence. Why am I living in this world? If I only live once, why don’t I make it so perfect that I feel fully satisfied? I wanted to do a lot of daring things, to explore the world, to be an agent of change. I only wanted to leave this life if I lived it fully. And I did.
I challenged myself to go to business school that required a hard acceptance test but I made it. I was walking on air when they called me, saying “Maryam! Welcome to business school.” Next achievement? I was nominated the best coordinator of a project in Jeune Chambre Internationale, an international organization that helped me with networking. I boosted my self-esteem, and this year I was awarded Best Delegate in a Model United Nations conference. I felt so happy that I could do anything I set my mind to and I knew that the true meaning of success is at the heart of what you love. I was looking at my achievements with a pride that I have never felt in my life! I was experiencing euphoria!
This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region.