SI Graduate Spotlight: Moun Mariano – 2 failed exams and a call to my father and mother


With a chuckle here and a grin there, it is evident that failing in some units was a wakeup call for our protagonist. What you chose to do with that failure determines whether the foundering makes or breaks you. This is the story of Moun Mariano, currently a Bachelor of Commerce student who shares that when he was pursuing his Diploma in Business Management at the Strathmore Institute, he never thought he would flunk. 

What really happened?

I have to say it caught me by surprise because the two units I flopped in were those I thought I understood best. For example, when it came to the Principles of Accounting, I had some prior knowledge from high school, while for the Principles of Ethics, I assumed that the lectures alone would suffice as they  related to life experience. Let’s just say that during the final exams, I wished I had revised a little more or inquired one more time from my classmate or lecturer. But it was too late. I had to retake the two exams. Phew! I passed both. It may have been a disappointment then but now I know better and have had to reconsider how I study as I pursue my degree. I purpose to put my best foot forward in my academics, not only to please my parents/family but also to challenge myself to be the best that I can be with the opportunities that come my way.

Tell us more about your family and country?

South Sudan is my home country and Juba is our capital. We are very hospitable people and have 64 tribes. Though a young nation, I believe it has a lot to offer and I desire to be part of those that uplift it. My parents reside there. I definitely miss them and home. When an opportunity to go visit pops up, I take in a heartbeat. WhatsApp has enabled me to keep in touch with my family. For example, I talk to my dad daily. That’s right! We have to talk each day, even if it is just for 5 minutes. He reminds me to not forget why I had to leave home “education is all we can offer you my son, what you do with it is up to you”.  Conversations with my mum are all about concern and comfort. She checks in on my well-being; making sure I’m eating properly,   inquiring about my friends, and how I am coping with my studies. I am fortunate to have one of my sisters in Kenya with me; she is pursuing a degree in the healthcare industry at one of the local universities. We are each other’s accountability partner while here.

What are you looking forward to?

Returning home after my studies is still my greatest desire. For now, I intend to build more networks and hopefully meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime. Not only with my fellow country mates but also with students from the diverse nations represented in the university.

You mentioned “meaningful friendships’. Tell us more

A friend or friends are those that have walked with you the longest in your life’s journey. Like my dad says, such friends encourage you to keep family close, to seek reconciliation, and are never afraid to tell to your face when you are being unrealistic. Certainly, a friend will not be afraid to point out past mistakes, even when you’re choking on the reality of your actions.  

Any final word…

(With a grin of satisfaction) Yes, coming to Kenya for studies was a great sacrifice. I hope to make every bit of that sacrifice worth the while.  With that said, the local food is still something I have not gotten used to; for this reason I miss my mum’s cooking even more.


This Article was written by Annete Karanja.

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