Visitor from outer space

“Reach for the stars” was the message from American astronaut Dr Donald Thomas when he visited the Umzamowethu Community Hall on Heritage Day to share his stories about travelling in space.

Around a thousand pupils, parents and teachers flocked to hear him speak about his own humble beginnings and how hard work and education made his dream come true.

Dr Thomas told pupils about the many obstacles he overcame, including growing up in a poor home without a dad and, often, even without food on the table. He had to work hard to earn scholarships for university to get the education he needed to become an astronaut.

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” he told the star-struck youngsters.

“You should be willing to work hard towards your dreams and not listen to those who tell you it can’t be done.”

Dr Thomas also described what it was like to fly in a space shuttle and answered questions like how he managed to eat, sleep and even use the toilet in outer space. During his 20-year career with NASA, he circled the earth 692 times.

Kouga Wind Farm funded his talk to show youngsters what taking their studies seriously can achieve. Dr Thomas said the local children asked very good questions and were very respectful.