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Dear Papa,

It has been exactly 17 years since you left and there has not been a single day that you have not been on my mind. Our journey began almost 58 years ago when I clutched your finger as I saw the first light of day and breathed my first whiff of air. It is your hand I held as I took my fist step and you I looked up to each time I needed to be reassured or praised. And even though you are gone I still feel your presence. Somehow I never let got of that finger.

You taught me everything but above all Papa, you taught me to look with my heart, something I held on to and never let go. And that made the rest easy and possible.

If not for your my life would have remained barren and empty. You gave me the strength to walk the high road no matter how difficult the journey, you taught me not to give up on dreams how impossible they seemed and the belief that the morning always dawned no matter how long the night.

Yesterday I received an award recognising the work I had done for the last ten years. This one is for you as you are the one that made me worthy enough to get it. Today thanks to what you taught a little girl many little lives have changed and many children smile and believe in tomorrow. And I see you in each and everyone of them.

Today again I look up to you to be reassured. The journey is still long and I need your strength to ensure that my steps do not falter and that I reach the end of the road.

I miss you

Anou

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To the manor born