By Ebenezer Mensah ‘23
Imagine this: A bright yellow sun emerging from a dark sky with soft, orange rays piercing through the windows of a small house and casting a silhouette of a young boy, sitting upright with his feet crossed, against the walls of a room in a rural town in Africa. That boy is me. I don’t remember when I started, but watching the sun rise has been an important tradition of my life. This tradition has had different meanings for me at different stages in my life. When I was young, no more than five, I never gave much thought to it. It only meant to me an opportunity to rise for my morning meal and go outside to play with my friends. However, as I transitioned into adolescence, my responsibilities in my family increased, and this naturally changed my view of sunrises.
Seeing the sun rise no longer meant an opportunity to go out and play with friends; rather, it now meant taking long walks to the farm and performing several arduous tasks, and I began to resent the dawn of a new day. My appreciation for watching the sun rise was supplanted by an equal, if not higher, appreciation for watching the sun set. Sunset became a symbol of relief. Seeing the sun set was a reminder that darkness was approaching and with it would come the opportunity to go home and rest. This process continued for a long time where I mentally associated each sunrise with burdens and responsibilities—until my first morning in college.
The sun’s rays pierced through the right window of my room, and there I sat on the top of my bunk bed, rubbing my sleepy eyes. After winning the struggle to keep my sleepy eyes open, I was mesmerized by the bright yellow rays illuminating the walls of the room. For the first time in several years, I felt in me that childhood enthusiasm and a yearning to go outside. I knew that, outside my room, my friends were not waiting for me to go and play. I knew that stepping out of my room meant the beginning of my college life, and with it will come other responsibilities, but I embraced this chapter of my life and stepped out of my room ready for whatever was next. Since that day, I have never missed watching another sunrise.