by Thedius Munyalo
I was brought up in a Kenyan village, and this gave me the opportunity to experience life as a real African boy. My father believed in education and did all he could to make sure that all his children got the basic education. Being a farmer, I could tell how hard it was for him to fulfill his obligation. I attended a local primary school which was which was more than eight miles away. Together with my siblings, we used to walk to school for there wasn’t other means of transport. This was really a big challenge especially in the hot seasons for we had no shoes on our feet that could protect us from the heat on the ground.
My mum used to tell me that I was a genius since I was always top in my class for all the eight years of my primary education. My dream was to study up to the highest level and change the situation of my family and society. High school education was a nightmare to me because my parents couldn’t afford it. Thank God for my elder stepsister, who had secured a job in the city and offered to pay half of my school fees. I had to come up with other way of raising the remaining fees. I bought a camera which I used to take pictures of other students in school at a charge, and in this way, I raised my pocket money and the remaining fees balance.
After high school level, I knew I had to pursue my college education in order to get a nice job. I left my family and ended up in a small town at the Kenyan coast where I sought a temporary manual job. I worked and saved money for a year after which I joined a college for a certificate course. When I look around and see young people working hard to achieve their dreams, I am so encouraged because I believe that nothing good comes easily. Effort, determination and hard work always pay positively. My father used to tell me “My son, never give up, Never ever give up”. These words always run through my mind especially when I encounter any challenge.
In my struggle and thirst for education, I came across an advertisement of a scholarship which I gave a try and applied for. Unexpectedly, I won the one year scholarship program to study in the United States. This came at a time when I was spending sleepless nights thinking of how I would achieve my academic goals. The dream is still on and alive and I believe it’s attainable. This will be an encouragement to many youth in Africa who finds themselves in similar situations.
I would like to thank the State Department for the scholarships they offer to youths of different countries which shape their future and improve lives in their respective communities. It’s my hope that my experience will encourage many youths who take their educations for granted.