Student Spotlight: Bruce Totona; Fighting Moranship Norm- Excelling in Education
Growing up was not all rosy for Bruce Totona, a student at the Faculty of Information and Technology (FIT). Bruce grew up in a community which valued Moranship more than education and therefore most people did not know the importance of education. Being brought up by a single mother who did not have a stable source of income was even more challenging, as he struggled to get school fees.
Despite all odds, Bruce knew too well that he had a responsibility over his siblings and had to set a pace for them. That motivated him to work even harder in school. With most of his classmates dropping out of school to join the adored culture of Moranship, Bruce determination led him to an excellent performance in the national examination K.C.S.E and that was the beginning of a brighter dawn for him.
I am the first born in a family of 4 siblings. My siblings are all studying; two are in form 1 and 2, and the last born is in class 7, all studying in Narok County.
I attended Ololuluma Secondary school in Narok County where I attained an A- in K.C.S.E. I managed to be among the top 10 students in the county, which enabled me to get a life opportunity to join Strathmore University through the KIVA loans. I am currently a 3rd year student undertaking a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications course and expecting to graduate in 2017.
How did you know about Strathmore University?
After completing my secondary school studies, I really wanted to join a private university as it would give me an opportunity to choose a course on my own. The only challenge was school fees since my mother was not able to raise as much money. It was then when our neighbor informed us about KIVA loans, and encouraged me to apply. I came to Strathmore and met the KIVA Staff who briefed us on the terms and conditions for the loans, which I was okay with. I later came for the interviews that involved both oral and written tests which I passed, and notified that I had qualified for the loan. This fulfilled my desire to join a university where I could pursue a course of my choice.
How has Kiva impacted your life?
KIVA loans have completely transformed my life for many reasons. First, getting an opportunity to join Strathmore through KIVA was so humbling, as I have been able to carry on with my studies never worrying about my school fees.
Apart from studying, I also work as a labs’ admin in the evening where I maintain machines ensuring they function properly and also facilitate students. Through this, I have been able to support my brother who is in form 2 by paying his school fees. So the KIVA loan has not only helped me but also my family.
Why did you choose Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications?
I had always wanted to find out how computers and gadgets such as phones worked since I was in primary school. Powered by the zeal to learn what was behind all those innovations, I decided to pursue the telecommunications course.
How is your Experience at Strathmore?
My experience here has been amazing so far. Coming from the village to Strathmore gave me a totally different experience. The perception that people have on education in the village is very different. It is taken as a routine and at the same time viewed as a stage that one has to go through while growing up. Studying at Strathmore made me discover that education is not all about books, but it has much to do with personal development. I have been able to learn that as much as we value education, religious virtues and ethics should as well be embraced.
I have also been able to work with varied talented staff and students, whom we have together been involved in life changing student association programs such as community service. The mentorship program offered in the university has also provided me with good guidance in life matters.
How will the course change your community back in Narok?
At the moment the economy is driven by technology, particularly ICT, and I think with the skills I have acquired here I will be able to help in stabilizing the economy. This is mainly because it is a rural area where the economy is very low and unstable. It will also contribute to the development which is also an issue of concern.
What are your plans after school?
I am looking forward to putting up an IT company after 3-4 years of working. I also want to establish an ICT center in Narok and initiate training programs, which will enable the youth to appreciate the importance of technology in the economy.
I also hope to start my masters after repaying the loan.
Who is your Role model?
My role model is Prof. Izael da Silva the University Deputy Vice Chancellor, who is also my mentor. He has walked with me since I joined the university by assisting me in my transitioning process. He has been of great influence in my spiritual life, as he introduced me to most of the people who took me through some doctrines.
What motivates you to achieve success?
I am self-driven. After doing something I always feel that I can do it better and through this, I have learnt to acknowledge the few things I have and use them in serving others.
What do you do in your free time?
I love doing charity work which explains my being a mentor for Macheo; a community service program at Strathmore whose activities take place on Saturdays from 2-5 pm.
I also love taking nature walks on Sundays after attending church.