An inspiring Captain back in the year 2002 once told me:
“You must work as though there is always someone watching everything that you do! You never know who maybe learning from the little things done in your life…”
Wow! I worked on a medical ship in Fiji in 2007 where there were a lot of children on board. On this particular voyage there was a 7 year old Australian girl called Zakaiya. She was such a gorgeous young girl, so full of life and happiness (we didn’t know at the time that she came from an abusive background and was now being raised by a solo parent) Zakaiya took a liking to me. Everywhere I went she would follow, everything I did she would copy, she ate what I ate, wore her hair the same as mine, sat down when I sat down and basically mimicked everything I did. At first I though that this would get a bit annoying until I realised what this Captain once told me. She was learning from me. I would be working on the bridge doing chart corrections and she would ask to come and sit next to me and promised not to talk or distract me, she was so caring and considerate at only 7 years old. Then there was one particular afternoon which I still remember so clearly to the day. I walked into my cabin and found Zakaiya sitting on my bunk and looking at my photos while frowning. I asked her what was wrong? She then said: “Why do you try and change who you were created to be?” I looked surprised. “I mean if you were created with brown curly hair why would you want to try and change yourself, I don’t understand!” I didn’t know what to say in response. Zakaiya then jumped off my bed, placed a hand made card of my pillow and walked out of my cabin.
I was stumped! This young girl had been coping me and learning from me since the day she had met me and now she was confused as to why someone else would want to try to be someone they are not. From that day on Zakaiya and I did things together. She wore her hair the way that she felt comfortable with and we did things that she wanted to do for a change.