Patience is Bitter but its Fruit is Succulent


By Josephine Nsele Tampwo


Since an early age I kept some advice from my parents that I could not forget. They told me: Even if you face any difficulty during your journey on earth, do not forget that your will, determination, perseverance and good attitude are factors you need to cultivate throughout all your life. Also remember that giving up is not an option – try and keep trying. The value of what all of these concepts hold will only come to you in the coming days.

They did not pronounce those words again while I was growing up. Over the course of the years, I understood that those words were indispensable and worth a lot to my future.  I keep those words in my mind and remember them before any circumstance in my life and keep my head up, standing upon them and trying hard to put them into practise. In that way, I try to bring my childhood’s memory back as spring does after summer (T.S. Eliot). I can say that this is the beginning of life because memory highlights life. Now these words come to me as a story, they hold foot in my life with all the difficulties I face and make me a heroine.

I was falsely accused in my country, and was captured at a meeting of a community trying to plan how to improve the life of the children of the street. I was incarcerated in a sort of prison camp for two weeks. I kept a good attitude during this situation. I fled my country and lived in Cameroon for nine years as an urban refugee, before being granted a humanitarian visa by the Australian government to come to Australia in 2009. This gave me the opportunity to travel over the seas and start a new life in a new country. My parents taught me the significance of patience and perseverance. This sense of patience contributes to my evocations of the ‘Australian dream’ and its opportunities, which have similar connotations to the ‘American dream’ and became my Australian dream. The idea that everyone can come from any social class and, with hard work, make life better and richer for him/ herself, really appeals to me. Australia is a country of opportunity and hope, so everyone has to work hard in order to achieve their dream. In Australia, even if people cannot speak or read English, they must work hard and practise, to achieve their goals by speaking English fluently, both reading and understanding it, so they can resume their career. This is an opening into a specific way of life that is directed through my parents’ words, these values form the narrative that I have established here with myself as a narrator.


Fitzgerald, F.S 1925, The Great Gatsby, Vintage Books, London.

Elliot, T.S 1922, The Waste Land: The Burial of The Death, Faber and Faber, London.

About the author

I am currently in my third year at La Trobe University and enjoy being part of the university community and meeting new friends. I will be doing the Diploma of Education next year because I would like to become a Primary school teacher. I chose La Trobe University because of its reputation and its outcomes.