Zachary books a ticket to travel the world
Globetrotting once seemed an unlikely reality for Zachary Kawaley-Lathan.
The 18-year-old battled epileptic seizures throughout his childhood and had to be treated overseas.
Long-distance travelling didn’t seem to be among his options then, but he’ll leave Bermuda this summer to tour the world with the performance group, Up With People.
“I was honoured to be selected, because it is a limited number of people they interview around the world,” said Mr Kawaley-Lathan.
He began experiencing seizures at two years-old. The cause was never confirmed. However, he’s now seizure-free.
“When I was 12 they tapered off,” said Mr Kawaley-Lathan. “We don’t really know why, but it could be because the medication I had over the years kicked in.”
The teenager had never heard of UWP until his mother, Kathy Kawaley, found them online.
“Then I found a lot of people in Bermuda had performed with them,” he said. “It sounded like fun.”
UWP is open to people between the ages of 17 and 29 from around the world. Each international tour has nearly 100 participants from more than 15 countries. Actress Candace Furbert is one of a number of Bermudians who have toured with the programme, which is now in its 50th year.
Mr Kawaley-Lathan had to fill out an application and do an interview in order to be accepted.
He heads to Denver, Colorado in June for training after he graduates from Saltus Grammar School. He then leaves on an international tour which will include the Netherlands, America, Italy and Germany. At the end of his six-month stint, he will have the chance to do another.
He’s always loved acting. His first role was a turkey in the school Christmas play at age five.
“I loved it,” he said.
As he grew older he struggled with stage fright, particularly when he sang.
It didn’t prevent him performing at the Miss Teen Bermuda Pageant while in his early teens.
He was also in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Oliver in 2009 and a number of Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society pantomimes including Sleeping Beauty in 2013. In 2014 he joined the Alpha Beautillion — he found the experience both “fun and horrifying”.
“The Ruth Seaton James Auditorium was the biggest theatre I’d ever performed in,” he said. “And when I got up there and performed a poem and sang with only the music for company, it was pretty scary.”
His dream is to become a recreational therapist.
“I have always loved sports,” he said. “I trained with Valencia CF Football Academy in Bermuda. I want to work with people with special needs. Being able to share something I love with others will be wonderful.”
He feels his experiences with epilepsy will make it easier to understand other people with challenges.
Mr Kawaley-Lathan must do community service while he is on tour with UWP, and must fund raise part of his expenses.
He’s to hold a codfish breakfast on Sunday at BMDS at 9am. Donations can be made at https://www.premierticketsglobal.com/EventDetails/1949/Time/11867/
For more information see his Facebook page Zach UWP or check him out on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA0WhsGgW1g