In examining the heavens, we see a plethora of stars blanketing the night sky. Have you ever gazed into the sky and wondered how a star is born? If you were to read about them, you would find that turbulence, deep within clouds like the Orion Nebula, forms what we see as magnificent heavenly beings. The birth of a star is a metaphor for the life of Norah Orina. Her name even sounds like a beautiful star. Although her early life was filled with instability, she became a success story that inspires everyone who knows her.
Born and raised in a Kenyan home, like many others who are now in the Diaspora, she had no idea where the road of her life’s journey would take her. Norah also had the challenge of overcoming a disability – she was born missing several fingers on her left hand. While she attended primary school, her mother worked to shelter her from the difficulties she, herself faced on a daily basis. Norah had a single mother who worked hard to give her daughter and her sister a good life. As she grew up, she realized that her childhood was different from many of the kids that she knew. And her life was much harder than most of her friends and schoolmates. Even though she could have been traumatized by her experiences, she chose joy. She became a light in a dark place.
Nothing came easy for Norah, and she had no assurances that life would improve. In order to cope, she began journaling. This was her way of pouring her feelings out on paper. It was her way of healing. She fondly remembers the feeling of a heavy fog lifting after writing about her struggles. Although she took solace in her writing, it would not protect her from the pain that was to come. She lost her mother and shortly after that, she lost her aunt, who was her guardian at the time. Norah plunged into a sea of emotional darkness. It was as if the world had stopped, and she was left with nothing. However, she did have a younger sister who she felt needed her protection. She became a mother to her. And though her future seemed bleak, she was determined to be an anchor for her sister. Many nights Norah would gaze out at the stars and through tears tell her mother how much she missed her. Even now, Norah thinks of what could have been if her mother was still alive.
Consequently, she and her sister were adopted into a relative’s family. Although she was thankful, it was not always easy living with relatives. Sometimes she found it emotionally and mentally exhausting; however, she was determined to use these experiences to become stronger. While living with her relatives, she joined university. In Kenya, being admitted to a university means you are smart. Therefore, Norah took pride in her abilities while she attended college. She balanced her work and play very well. During long holidays and breaks from school, she would make money by doing jobs that others preferred not to do. She also performed volunteer work at a children’s home.
Subsequently, she graduated, with a very good degree and chose to travel abroad-in America. Upon arriving in the United States, she sought to get an additional degree. She worked several small jobs to cover her expenses. It can be expensive to live in America, however, she was blessed by a family who helped her in ways that she could never have imagined. Although she is unsure if she could ever repay them, she never ceases to pray for them. Currently, she has graduated with her master’s degree.
Above all, Norah’s life has been a testimony to those who think their burdens are too much to bear. This young Kenyan woman has shown the world that although you may have many hardships, there is no star out of your reach. She has achieved great feats even with a disability, a deceased mother, and a father that she has never met. The hardships in life can either break you or you can choose, like Norah, to be an overcomer. The African Warrior Magazine views Norah as a beautiful star who has illuminated the paths for other young women in the Diaspora.