#Article (Archive)

"A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush"

Apr 23, 2009, 11:14 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush!' These are the words my mother always barked at me with. Yet I didn't heed her. But as time was the best teacher, I came to learn of its real meaning. I must admit that I really learnt a great deal of it; one example is enough to last me lifetime and I'm bent on not repeating it again. This is a vivid account of what happened.

As the only and last son of my parents, I was given all that I needed. They answered to my every whim. I must admit that I was from a family that spoke volumes of affluence. I did my primary, junior and secondary school in the country and always passed with flying colors before going to high school. One of my elder sisters gained admission to a university in the United Kingdom. She was later followed by one of our sisters who was with a different purpose, however they from time to time sent us gifts and money, mostly the bigger packages were for me.

Their letters always stirred my spirit to finish school immediately and join them there. As time went by, I did my final exams and passed not without surprise with flying colors again.

Immediately, I wrote to a school in England and I was given entry. All necessary preparations were done to satisfy the conditions given to me by the school and payments were made. The time came for me to apply for a visa and I did but the sad thing was I was denied one. I was taken aback and the realization that I was denied one without reason hit me hard like a stone. Nausea overtook me at first then complete oblivion.

When I gained consciousness, I didn't eat for days nor talked to anyone. All I did was lock myself up in my room. I know exactly what you are thinking, you must be thinking that I let this weighed me down. Yes, that was exactly what I did.

I couldn't help it. As the days went by, my parents and my only sister who was left behind with me, tried to talk to me so that I could see reason, but to no avail. I developed a hard shell around me. I sulked into myself and blamed everyone and especially myself for my failure.

Many a times my sweet mother would try to encourage me saying that I could choose between the many institutions and the only university in the country to continue and pursue my education to higher heights, but I remained adamant.

The old man would come again and talk to me, but I would give him a cold shoulder. I was one day dragged to see a psychiatrist. When we reached his office we were welcomed warmly, and my problem was made bare to him. He looked at me above the rim of his small spectacles with experienced eyes which told me that he had dealt with the likes of me before. He assessed me up and down and spoke with a husky voice which could have awakened the very dead. 'Don't you want to continue your education and have a good future'?'

Yes.' I replied.

'Now what is obstructing that dream?'

I didn't answer to that question, but instead stared at my hands which I was wringing unconsciously. I began sweating profusely and instantly felt trapped in that tiny office The old man must have been talking for a long time before I heard him turn and say 'A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, try to always remember that.'

When we reached home, I started asking myself questions, why was I living a life like that? And the only answer I got from that tiny little voice inside me was, I was being lazy and basking in the glory of that I was being provided for, anytime. It was then that I came to know that I mustn't waste my time. No, not anymore and I must make something fruitful in my life henceforth. My old self came back, the determined and hardworking young woman I used to be immediately surfaced and I knew that it was time I did something with my life. I rushed to the University and enrolled my name and the field I wanted to do.

Now praised be to Allah, I'm working with the Department of State for Education. When I look back on all those years, I say to myself what would happen to me today if I didn't heed the advice of that doctor and realise that at least my country's education could help rather than relying on another country which was not at hand? Would I be perambulating the streets of Serrekunda, useless and half illiterate? Will I become a societal misfit who survives on the fringes of society?

I fervently hope that you wouldn't fall into such a trap, heed my story and don't be a victim!