“In life, no dream is too small”

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How can one not be addicted to the social scene when living in New York City? One of the most beautiful and challenging cities in the world, from its high life, insane nightlife, opportunities, people and fast life. Well, that is how I felt when I moved to the Big Apple in 2001 from Africa. I was just 18 years old and I was amazed by the empire state of mind. I felt blessed to meet wonderful people who later became friends. I was excited to be part of the “in” crowd and grateful to be in the most expensive and exclusive places and attend the hottest events. I felt as if I was in a dream. People I used to watch on television and dream about, were standing next to me and talking to me. I was living the American dream and I loved it.

As years passed however, I started to feel as if something was missing. I could not put my finger on it but I knew it was there. I started to enjoy the parties less and felt as if I was a bit “out of place.” I was forgetting the real life; the life I left back home in Africa and my body, my mind and my heart did not want me to forget. You see, in New York City, the only thing that matters, is the moment itself. You are sold the “dream” and no matter how hard you try to fight it, at some point you start to believe it. You believe that what matters is here, and now and forget about the rest of the world.

I became unaware of life realities and problems while living New York’s high life; all that mattered in that moment was the moment itself. Yet, deep inside I still craved and needed to speak about the things I had faced and the people I left behind. This feeling became so intense that the “Haute” life became meaningless; I was no longer moved by lavishness. Rather, I found that I became more interested about issues facing poor people and slowly stared taking action to make a change.

These actions at first were not conscious on my part, they just happened. I found that I started talking to friends and helping them with their problems. I started encouraging them to start working on their businesses and guided them in how to go about becoming more independent. I also started sending money back home in order to help people that my mother would talk to me about while we were on the phone.

I slowly started to realize that all it took for me to feel good was to help others. I came a live each time I saw a friend succeed or heard that I had some how played a part in changing someone’s life. The impact I felt from their voice, smile, and letters meant so much to me; they gave me a reason to keep pushing.

Now, I felt as if I had a purpose, a purpose that could only be filled through the actions I took daily to better others and myself. I started talking to my younger sister Aissata and together we stared brainstorming on ways we could help people. Aissata although young has always been through a lot like me. We wanted to help give individuals a safe place where they felt loved, secure and most of all happy. The only problem was that we had limited funds and big dreams. So each day, Aissata and I sat in the kitchen of our small apartment and tried to figure out what, where and most importantly how, we could help.

This is how we started There Is No Limit. Next time, I will tell you how we came up with that name and some of the many challenges we faced to start this organization. Until then, remember to:

“ Reach for the moon because when you fall you can catch the stars”

You have No Limit!

Love, peace and happiness to you,

Mariama

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