Resilience it is
“We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the entrance exam and that you have been admitted to the Bachelor of Arts in Communications (BAC) full-time course, which will begin on March 26th, 2018” stated a section of the admission letter. These words have just flashed through my mind as I anticipate my graduation on October 7, 2022. So far, it has not been easy; I have had enough difficulties, particularly with my health. To be completely honest, I had never heard of Strathmore University before enrolling in the Macheo Program in 2016 while I was in form three. My initial plans did not include joining
Strathmore since I had heard stories of how challenging it is for some individuals to finance their tuition. This alarmed me. But I came to understand that my biggest error in judgment had been in listening to others. In 2017, as I was studying for my KCSE examinations, I came to the realization that I needed Strathmore more than Strathmore needed me. As a result, I changed my mind and enrolled in the University to pursue a degree. I went to the Financial Aid Office after receiving my admission letter, as directed by my principal, Mr. Marucha of New Horizons Secondary. In my third week of desperation, I was given a listening ear and I was eventually awarded a 70% scholarship. All this while, I was using my admission letter to access classes. I also received 30% scholarship from Macheo, which completely changed my life. I started to concentrate on my studies without losing sight of my past.
However, school fees was only one problem solved, upkeep was another. Getting lunch was a big deal for me. At times, I would only take dinner; and for lunch, I would drink water from the Student Center Cafeteria, which was free. This situation never held me back; rather, it pushed me forward, and I wanted to make it in life and make myself proud because I felt like I didn’t have any family members whom I wanted to make proud. I felt like they had all turned against me when I lost my parents in 2007. I arrived at school at 8:00 a.m. every day and left right after my last classes, which mostly ended at 4:15 p.m. when I had an afternoon lesson.
I rented a motorcycle for Ksh. 400 per day to operate a bodaboda business in the evenings and in the early mornings before going to school to make ends meet. This yielded good results. I managed to pay my bills, and care for my younger sister whom I lived with. Of course, balancing education and hustle was difficult, but I had to force issues and ensure that I maintained my first-class grade. The best feeling was when I was on the Dean’s List for three years in a row, but when I got sick, my performance suffered.
When Covid-19 hit, things became difficult. I had a health condition, and in April 2020, I was one of the first people to contract the virus, worsening my situation. I was quarantined at Mbagathi Hospital for a while. Although I was about to start my third year of college, I was in a desperate state, but I kept moving. I am a man who keeps a smile even in my saddest situation, remaining positive even after I was diagnosed with Throat Cancer. Many people advised me to change classes, but I refused because I knew I’d make it, and even though my health wasn’t great, I wasn’t on the verge of dying. As if that wasn’t enough, on November 23rd, I had throat surgery at Coptic Hospital. I am grateful that Strathmore University stood with me. My Faculty Manager, Caroline Mbugua, was there for me, and my lecturers were always checking up on me, not to mention my true friends, whom I had acquired in that state as I had lost nearly all my previous friends due to my deteriorating health.
During my recovery from the surgeries, I felt compelled to write my first book, “A Glow in the Dark” to encourage others to persevere even when nothing promising appears. I wrote and published several books after the first, but this is my all-time favorite. Even though I dropped from my first class to the second class upper division , I don't regret it because I know the effort I put in even when I was down on my stomach, fighting for my health and education in general. I know I am a star sent to illuminate my home, Kibera Slums. I’m glad I didn’t listen to my friends who told me otherwise when I needed something or desperately needed money. I am grateful to everyone who helped fund my studies at Strathmore University, and I owe you much more. I am grateful to everyone who helped me stay healthy. Despite the fact that I live with Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux, I am not the same person I was before the surgery. I am looking forward to graduating and continuing my political career.
This article was written by Apuya Reuben Mutua.
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