The Family That Inspires
By Rutendo Madziwo, USAP Zimbabwe
"USAP student describes her exciting first day meeting with the rest of her USAP group."
My heart is throbbing louder than our village drums at a wedding ceremony and drops of sweat are stubbornly oozing out of my sweat glands into the palm of my hands. With mixed feelings, I move up the elevator and escalator to meet my new family; the USAP family. As it is a family of achievers ,I try to think of all my significant achievements for the eighteen years I've been on earth but the thought of meeting thirty-six new 'siblings' lingers back in my mind as I reach the door. I could not help but ask myself, "Are my achievements big enough to count as grand achievements?"
There are about six waiting to enter, all neatly dressed in their different school uniforms and a young man I later learnt was called Kuda is conversing with them. I stand at the back of the line, part of me not wanting to grab everyone's attention. Kuda approaches, "Hi, you're from?" he asks. "Monte Cassino Girls' High School." Wait a minute. Did he mean place I lived or school I learnt? Oops. His next question blows my mind off. "Oh! You're the girl who wants to be a gynecologist?"Suddenly, about twelve pairs of eyes are on us. Heart throbbing, hands sweaty, my lungs screaming for oxygen…I manage to pull a smile and reply in total surprise, "Wow, how did you know that?" "I'm in the USAP class of 2013, and I can pretty much say we know a lot about you guys," he replied, in a matter-of-fact tone.
…and Kuda was right. Though we are borne of different biological mothers, Mrs. Rebecca Zeigler Mano-our surrogate mother, lets us grow into one in her loving wings. For all her kids, that gene of excellence practically dominates everything in our DNA and we each have a story to tell. No, William Shakespeare's not our dad.
It's not only the miles we covered to know and be with each other, for we all come from different parts of the country, but it's also the milestones-the hardships life mercilessly threw at us, that made us who we are and made us one. Some are orphans, and the only hope for a better life lies in Amai. Some have parents, but the country's economic situations slapped them in the face and left the families crying. No, money does not buy happiness, but in a society where education is fundamental and has to be paid for, money has become a leading factor in building or destroying one's dreams.
I was reading a local paper recently and a local university required $455 fees per semester for a Degree Program in the Faculty of Commerce, $545 for a Degree Program in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and $585 fees per semester for a Degree Program in the Faculty of Medicine. So, if I want to become a doctor, I need rich parents. But in a situation where only one parent is the breadwinner, I'd have to settle for a more realistic degree program in the Faculty of Commerce; and if my parent funds for an extended family-as is the case with most Zimbabwean families, then the best option would be to find employment and assist in the upkeep of the family. And what happens to becoming a doctor? It becomes only just a dream.
It is these people who when brought together from many different parts of the country, collaboratively work tirelessly to achieve their individual ambitions. We learn to adjust to different ways of lives-from presenting ZIMSEC results only to local universities to opening up our whole being and letting every talent count as we follow our career paths. It is these people who, from harsh backgrounds are taught to use their different life experiences to transform the community into a livable habitat. These people, from all over the world, form one big family-the USAP family; a family that aspires to inspire, and inspires to aspire.