In My Dreams I Dance by Anne Wafula Strike

Anne Wafula Strike tells the incredibly inspiring story of how she overcame the disability of her lower body to become an influential sports-woman, author, activist, wife and mother. The Kenyan native takes the reader on a tear-jerking ride, conveying important life lessons in the most heartfelt way.

The book begins beautifully, describing the playful life of a healthy child in Mihuu, Kenya but the tale quickly turns tragic when the child looses mobility in her lower body due to Polio. However, the writer proceeds to tell of a close nit loving family who refuse to give up on their daughter & sister despite the ridicule faced from villagers.

As the book progresses, the writer conveys hard life lessons such as the importance of accepting things that cannot be changed, overlooking imperfections, nurturing talent and how difficulties ironically boosts spiritual growth. Important aspects of African living highlighted are the difficulties and prejudices faced by people viewed as ‘different’ such as loosing out on love, job offers, friendships and so on.

By the juxtaposition of the British and African way of life, the reader learns to appreciate his/her culture and equally admire that of another. For example the communal way of life in Africa is absent in Britain while the advanced provisions made for the disabled in Britain are absent in Africa.

The intrinsic message of the book being resilience, faith and determination is more potent towards the end , when the protagonist, Wafula, competes in major sporting events for the disabled, majorly the 2007 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester winning a bronze medal. She becomes the first ever East African to compete in the Paralympics in wheelchair racing. She receives and honors an invitation to Buckingham Palace from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and sets up a Charity called the Disability Empowerment Association.

A highly recommended read that proves life is really what you make of it.

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