John and Eric stop for a photo on their way to Sunday morning service. They both attend the same church and the same secondary school as third-year science students. The next day in the evening, John (left) talks about his friendship with Eric, then shares his own background, goals, and vision for the future.  

John's Story

I spent the day at our family farm to harvest rice with my friend Eric. We work from 8am to 5pm, walking two miles in the morning and evening. Eric is still there right now. He loves the work more than me even though he has no farming experience. I returned earlier to prepare food with my mother for the family. Eric left his mother and father across town to live with me because he admires my seriousness. Later we will wake up at midnight and use my battery-powered light to study for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) together. 

During the school day my father farms for our food and my mother sells meals at school and around town to support our education. We depend on the farm, subsistence farming, so I meet my father there after school. My mother stays at home to take care of the younger ones. Free education helps us greatly. If it was not there, we would find it difficult to attend school. Without free education I would need to leave school for a few years to save money before attending. 

My current dream is to study hard, pass the WASSCE, and fulfill all university requirements. I would like to attend Njala University, Bo campus because it’s close to my family and my farm. In the future I want to find good work and serve my country as an agricultural scientist. I am fighting very hard to achieve my dream so that I can tell my future children about my history and that I struggled to be a successful person in life. My life is a balance between success and struggle. I hate this because I only want success, but deep down I know my struggle is for a good purpose.