“Misfortunes never arrive in a parade with a marching band. I was 6 the first time I broke my arm. I was herding cattle with my brother and fell from the terrace. I had to undergo surgery- open reduction and internal fixation. The expenditure sunk my already impoverished family into debt. I saw my parents borrow money from neighbours which they were able to pay back only several years later. The fall not only left me with a permanent scar, but with a deep sense of guilt. I was still energetic enough to jump and play around. 2 years later, I broke the same arm climbing a tree. Another surgery, another pile of debt for my parents. My left hand was deformed. It atrophied and was left with huge, ugly scars. Since then I’ve never had the courage to wear half-sleeved shirts. I kept my disfigured hand hidden for fear of awful judgment. People would ask ‘What happened to your arm? Does it hurt? Are you able to lift it? Is there metal inside your arm?’ They often doubted my abilities. Some even commented that I must have been very mischievous, when in fact I was a good boy.

I have been working in the medical field for 4 years now and I have seen patients who are paralysed, amputees, hemiplagic, and paraplegics who suffer a fate worse than mine. They don’t have limbs or aren’t able to use them. Looking at their misfortune, I had a simple choice to make- whether to make use of my capabilities or mourn them. Even if it is not pretty to look at, my arm is still intact, a privilege lost to so many. So I no longer look at my arm as a useless part of my body. At least I still have a hand good enough to provide services as a nurse to the best of my ability.

‘Don’t get into a fight or you’ll break your arm again’, is what my mother always advised me, and I never got involved in any sort of conflict. This allowed me to be a good man. Life is not always fair but we get to decide what to make of our misfortunes. Turn your weaknesses into your strengths, take it into your hands, build your own life upon all the things that went wrong.”

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