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Read Yohan's story.

My first two loves were a sketchbook and a guitar.  Ever since I was a kid I loved to draw. I didn’t ask for expensive gifts for my birthday, I just wanted a sketchbook and some coloring pencils. I may not have been a very good artist, but I practiced a lot. I drew horses that looked like dogs and young people that looked too old.

In regards to my guitar, my father taught me the first few chords. The E minor chord was the first one I learned, because you only need two fingers to play it. I was only a kid but I practiced my chords every day.

On Sunday mornings I used to sit close to the guitar player at church. I watched him play some complicated bar chords. He started teaching me some of the church songs, and very soon I started practicing and learning those beautiful songs. When I was older I traded my acoustic guitar for an electric one, and a distortion pedal. I was still playing at church, but I was losing that innocent interest that I had when I was a young boy. 

One day, my whole family including my uncle and cousins went to the beach.  There was a red flag and we made a wrong decision to go in the water anyway. I was not planning to get too deep into the water, but the ocean doesn’t ask your permission to take you in. Suddenly I was struggling in the water, the waves were pulling me down and it was hard to keep my head above the waves. I think I was under water for a moment but it felt like an eternity. My body was giving up and I remember praying to God, and asking him "if you want to take me, please do it quick, but if you want me to live, save me now.” People say your life flashes before your eyes, and it did. My uncle was swimming close to me and I grabbed his shoulder, at the same time I remember the water throwing us toward the shore.

That day I promised to God that I would use my art and music to honor him.  A few days later, I went to church early, I knelt at the altar with my white electric guitar and I repeated my promise to God.

These are some of the reasons of why I decided to live every day.

 

Yohan Daza

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