OurCamarades: Cappuccino Unfiltered - From sleeping on the streets at 17 to moving one step closer to my dreams...

OurCamarades: Cappuccino Unfiltered - From sleeping on the streets at 17 to moving one step closer to my dreams...

At Camarades, we seek to learn from everyone around us. We met Ezekial in December 2018, on our trip to Johannesburg. We sat down at TwilightOutreach, our partner organisation which fights for and rehabilitates street youth and young adults in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Twilight
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I'm Ezekial, they call me “Cappuccino.” I come from a small town and when I was 17, I was living with my parents who were going through a divorce at the time. The environment was tough as they were alcoholics.  I couldn’t cope with it anymore so I ran away to the big city, Johannesburg. I had nowhere to stay so I lived on the street for 3 months.
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Each and every day was hard. I didn’t know when or where my next meal would come from. I didn’t know what was going to happen at night, sometimes there were people firing gunshots around me or there were days where it would rain suddenly. All of these things made life very difficult.  
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Ma Emily saw me and brought me into Twilight Outreach’s shelter. They gave me the opportunity to finish high school in 2012. After completing school, there was no money for me to get to university and I could no longer stay in the shelter after the age of 18. I went back home, hoping to seek opportunities, but I realised there were none.
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camarades
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I finally found a small job in Cape Town, but it around this time I was overcome with depression. I felt lost and thought that I had a hopeless future. Seeing my peers succeeding - finishing their higher education, moving up in their careers, etc made me feel worse. What was holding me back was lack of resources and guidance, my parents could not afford to help me. My mother and father were dealing with their own demons so there was no progress and support from their side. I started to abuse alcohol. I just didn't want the stress and alcohol numbed that.
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I subsequently returned to Twilight and since then I’ve tried to keep my focus,  I’ve learned I must be focused to be better and achieve more. It’s been over one year now since I’ve been sober and now I’m attending the University of Johannesburg in pursuit of an accounting degree. It's been motivating to me, but I am not yet satisfied with what I have achieved thus far, but this is a good start.  
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I see myself in the corporate world once I achieve my goal of obtaining this degree. I have several companies I’ve dreamt of working at. Even when I was sleeping on the streets I had dreams to work at several large companies. While those dreams still exist, I understand only time will tell. I am keeping an open mind, maybe that dream will change and I will want to open my own business. I am 27 years old, but I believe there's still time.
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Camarades
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As I reflect on my path I realise that in order to achieve something, you have to look back at your journey. The struggles I have been through push me to do something each and every day I wake up. My motivation is: To do better than yesterday.  I don't want to put unnecessary pressure on myself anymore, I want to take it step by step. I recognise that there are obstacles in my way but I believe with time, focus and dedication I can overcome them.
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