I had an extraordinary student in the fall of 2011 that has impacted my life greatly, as well as the lives of many others she has met and spoken to. Her name is Selia, she created her name from 5 friends who inspired her. The first letter from each of their names is where she got the name Selia.
Selia comes from a poor village in central China whose parents are farmers. Her uncle went to Shanghai to adopt a baby from an orphanage and brought home one for his brother as well, it was a little girl, Selia. She has a brother and sister and feels like her parents have been so kind to raise her as their own and love and support her.
Selia grew up going to the farm fields with her parents. She especially loved the summer time when they grew grapes and stayed in the fields in a tent. It was fun for her to wake up and eat grapes and run through the vineyard. Later her parents grew peanuts and corn.
When Selia was in grade school she really wanted to speak English. Her teacher who taught English was Chinese so she didn’t really have anyone to speak to. She decided to get good at speaking she would speak her thoughts out loud on the playground in English. Every time she was alone she was speaking her thoughts. Consequently her English is excellent.
When I met her she was a sophomore at Sias University and a first year member of the World Academy for the Future of Women. We connected immediately. Maybe it was because her English was so good and possibly because our hearts were connected, like many others have been with her. She would help me with class projects, go shopping with me, and come visit my room whenever possible.
I taught the concept of vision boards which I also teach at our ‘Access Your Personal Power Workshop’. I taught the women in the academy to dream bigger than they could imagine and allow themselves to see outside the box. They had a page with 9 squares on it and were to fill in 9 dreams or visions they have for their life, written in first person present. After they completed this task I had them stand up and read at least one thing they had written down. Some of the dreams were “I want to buy my father a coat, buy my mother a pair of shoes, or get a comfortable chair for my father to sit it when he comes in from the fields. Selia stood up and said “I want to live in California on the beach.” There were a few giggles and I admit I chuckled inside but said “now you are thinking big, outside of the playing field, of what is possible. “
I returned to Sias University campus in the Spring of 2012 for the Women’s Symposium and graduation. There are a lot of foreign visitors at this time of year and I often told the women “take every chance you get to speak to foreigners and tell them your dreams. “ Selia did some translation for a speaker on campus. He was smitten by her and her dreams as many are. He asked if she needed help. She definitely needed help. It was going to be her senior year and she was considering quitting school because the financial hardship of her education was too great for her parents. When he heard this, he offered to pay her last year of tuition and living expenses as well as an internship for his company.
When Selia heard of this offer she was so excited. She skyped with me when I got home and told me of his offer. Then she said “you taught me to dream big and this is big, guess where he lives?” In California, on the beach. Selia arrived in the States January 2013, she stayed with me for 3 weeks and then went to California for 4 months and came to my home again after that.
Selia got her dream and felt like she needed to create some more dreams since she saw so many of them already realized. She did research and a power point presentation about the difficulty of getting an education in the poor villages. Most of the kids leave home as early as the age of 8 to live far away from home in a boarding school to get an education. She was one of those children.
The dorms were crowded, no running water or bathroom close by, and very cold in the winter. There was a large long trough outside with water spouts where the children were able to wash their hair or body. In the winter it was icy cold and the water was cold too. The bathrooms were across campus from the dorms. The classrooms did not have heat either so they wore heavy winter clothing in class. Sometimes she would stand up and stomp her feet to keep them warm. She said it did not always feel safe as some of her friends said the teacher was abusing them. She was able to go home once a month to see her family for a weekend.
Thus, Selia’s Dream School began to form in her imagination. She wanted to create an environment where the students felt safe, where it was clean, with water available and they could learn. When she returned to China she looked for a location to rent. Selia had to acquire a loan at the bank which her boyfriend helped her get. She purchased cute little desks with seats and set up a classroom.
She has a room she stays in above the classroom where she sleeps and a little hot plate and rice cooker to cook meals on. She has a bathroom but no shower or hot water so boils her water to bathe in a bowl. This is nothing new to her from growing up.
She is teaching an after-school tutoring program that costs the parents extra money. It has not made her rich and she does not currently have many students. She is realizing her dream and following through with something she really wants to do.
I am so inspired by Selia and her spoken word for making happen what she wants and being open to miracles. One miracle after another has taken place in her life and she acknowledges it. I feel grateful to be able to spend the day with her and talk with her student children yesterday. It was a powerful affirmation to me of how vision boards work and manifest. It is certainly another way to say thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself and watch these students soar.