Beating the odds

A local learner reminds the youth that they hold the power to decide their destinies.

26 May 2019 | Education

Anna Uupindi; Learner; “I always carried my own bag despite it becoming extremely demanding . . .”

Walvis Bay - Karl Philander

Anna Uupindi, a top performing grade 11 learner at Duneside High School, suffers from thoracic scoliosis but does not allow her condition to stand in her way.

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. As the curvature leads to disc degeneration and changes in the bones of the spine, a number of symptoms can occur which may include back pain, spinal stiffness and even nerve pain. The abnormal curvature may cause uneven hips or an abnormal gait, and patients may have a leg-length discrepancy.

It can also strain joints, causing them to become worn or inflamed. Scoliosis also affects your posture, which leads to muscles tightening or becoming tired and causing pain.

“I went for an X-ray scan to determine the condition of my lungs and found out that I had this disorder. The results showed that there was something wrong with my spine which needed immediate medical attention.”

At the time, Anna was preparing for her grade 10 examination.

“We carry heavy loads of hard cover books and thick textbooks in our backpacks. I always carried my own bag despite it becoming a extremely demanding and an unbearable task on some days. I consciously opted not to let this disorder define who I am and did not want to be seen as someone who should be treated in a special way.”

Anna says the disorder drains a person physically and mentally.

“I would not have reached the top of the hill without the help of friends who made my journey easier.”

Regardless of the hardships she faced she obtained 41 points in her grade 10 year exams and was ranked as the top performer at Duneside High in 2018.

“Being successful at school requires hard work. I was not among the brightest learners during my lower grade years. I cannot remember making it into the top 10 performers back then despite working very hard. During my grade 7 year I eventually finished in second position. Back then the saying ‘Rome was not built within one day’ did not make sense to me. I’ve come to understand that success is made from building blocks of progress and that the results will eventually show in the long run. All it takes is patience.”

She advises learners never to give up.

“No one is going to do your work for you and no one is going to pass your grades on your behalf. God only made each of us uniquely. Appreciate this aspect and remain true to yourself.”

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